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Xiaolan Tang, P. Matthew Bronstad, Amy L. Doherty, Mojtaba Moharrer, Eli Peli, Gang Luo, Alex R. Bowers; Hazard Detection With Monocular Bioptic Telescopes in a Driving Simulator. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2020;9(4):26. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.9.4.26.
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In most states, people with reduced visual acuity may legally drive with the aid of a bioptic telescope. However, concerns have been raised that the ring scotoma may impair detection of peripheral hazards. Using a driving simulator, we tested the hypothesis that the fellow eye would be able to compensate for the ring scotoma when using a monocular telescope.
Sixteen bioptic users completed three drives with binocular viewing interleaved between three drives with monocular viewing. Forty pedestrians appeared and ran on the road for 1 second, including 26 within the ring scotoma, while participants were reading road signs through their own monocular telescopes. Head movements were analyzed to determine whether the pedestrian appeared before or only while using the telescope.
For pedestrians that appeared only during bioptic use and were likely in the area of the ring scotoma, detection rates were significantly higher in binocular (fellow eye can compensate) than monocular (fellow eye patched) viewing (69% vs. 32%; P < 0.001); this was true for both current and noncurrent drivers. For pedestrians appearing before or after bioptic use, detection rates did not differ in binocular and monocular viewing. However, detection rates were even higher and reaction times shorter when the telescope was not being used.
Both current and noncurrent drivers’ fellow eyes were able to compensate, at least in part, for the ring scotoma.
When using monocular telescopes, the fellow eye reduces the impact of the ring scotoma on hazard detection in binocular viewing.
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