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In the UK BiOptics are available from, CLICK HERE



Useful links/bookmarks


>>  Disabled Discrimination Act - Definition of a disability [the Act affects partially sighted people] http://www.rnib.org.uk/dda/define.htm 


>>  Survey of past and current BiOptic drivers


>>  Macular Disease Society


>>  Nystagmus Network


>>  If you are currently unable to drive due to low vision, you may be entitled to 1/3 off rail travel.   Click here for an application  form.

UK Government links

UK Driving Standards Agency carries out the sight test at time of driving test

Local Authority Road Safety Officers' Association

Her Majesty's Stationery Office
for on-line copies of UK legislation re driving

UK Road Traffic Act 1988 [c. 52]
Licensing of drivers of vehicles - Requirement to hold licence
Motor Vehicles [Driving Licences] Regulations 1996

The Motor Vehicles [Driving Licences] Regulations 1999

DVLA At A Glance:
Online copy of the DVLA booklet [UK] regarding medical conditions and driving.


UK Dept of Transport: guidelines for ODs.

DVLA Honorary Vision Panel:
Agendas, minutes, and annual reports of the DVLA Medical Panel  


NORTHERN IRELAND Transport Division, Vehicle Licensing Central Office, County Hall, Castlerock Road, Coleraine BT51 3HS


European Transport Directorate website on driving licensure



BBC Parliament


Meetings of the Transport Committee are shown on this digital TV channel, usually at 11 a.m. on Mondays while parliament is sitting.


Transport Questions are tabled for one hour every two weeks [starting Tuesday 6 January 2004] in the House of Commons.  BBC Parliament shows the whole of the Commons proceedings live from 14.30 on Mondays and 11.30 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Questions are the first piece of business to be taken each day.


These times my vary from week to week and digital TV viewers may see the schedule by pressing the red button while tuned to BBC Parliament.  You may also get this information and follow debate live via their website.


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To see a MS PowerPoint presentation given by Dr. Dennis Kelleher on factors concerning driving with a BiOptic Telescopic System, click here. [60 Kb]



The UK has a world-leading automotive research and technology centre in Berkshire.  Thatcham.org



RNIB database of places offering "Low Vision Services"  If you need help contact us. 



Possible sources of funding for a BiOptic Telescope in the UK:

  • If you have private health insurance, approach the provider to find out if you are covered.

  • If a BiOptic is required to find or keep work: Employment Service Access to Work [AtW] Scheme. Contact the Disability Service Team at the nearest local/regional Employment Service office: addresses are on-line: www.employmentservice.gov.uk  AtW will pay the total cost if you are unemployed but starting a job; self-employed; or have been with an employer for less than 6 weeks. If you have been employed for longer than 6 weeks, the employer pays the first £300 and 80% of remainder.

  • Retired workers: Trade Union or occupational benevolent funds

  • Action for Blind People, 14-16 Verney Road, London, SE16 3DZ Tel: 020 7732 8771 email: info@afbp.org  May give a grant up to £150, conditional upon obtaining remaining funding elsewhere.

  • The Cecilia Charity for the Blind, Boundary House, 91-93 Charterhouse Street, London EC1M 6PN  Tel: 020 7253 3757  May give a maximum grant of £300, conditional on obtaining the remaining funding elsewhere. Applications are considered four times each year.

  • Gardners Trust for the Blind. Address and conditions as above. Applicants must be resident in England or Wales.

  • CommunicAbility [James Powell UK Trust], SCOD, Clerwood House, 96 Clermiston Road, Edinburgh, EH12 6UT e-mail: communicability@btinternet.com [Bo Crombet-Beolens]

  • The local Rotary [Tel: 01789-765411]

  • Round Table [Tel: 0121 456 4402]

  • Lions Clubs Multi-District Headquarters [Tel: 0121 4414 544]

  • The local voluntary society for the blind - there are over 200 spread throughout the country: contact RNIB's Local Agencies Unit for details of those in your area:  Local Agencies Unit, RNIB, 224 Great Portland Street, London W1W 5AA  Tel: 020 7388 1266 or 0845 766 9999

  • [Ex-] Armed Service personnel: St Dunstan's www.st-dunstans.org.uk or the Royal British Legion www.britishlegion.org.uk  Tel: 0845 7725725

  • BiOptics are not normally available via the NHS.  However, as a last resort ask your GP for a referral to Julie Broadbent, Senior Optometrist at Moorfields Eye Hospital.  Tel: 0207 253 4311



 In the UK...

Who are we, and what is BiOptic driving? 

...There is no law concerning BiOptics being used for driving here, and there's some ambiguity surrounding any DVLA policy on BiOptic Telescope Systems.  In the past, this subject has received little attention here, often instantly dismissed by some uninformed conservatives.  Moreover, experience from the USA tells us some will always be resistant to progress in this regard, especially where they are uninformed and have not seen the primary research.

BiOptic Driving Network is stimulating discussion on this subject and intellectually engaging with the antis.  Progress is steady, and we already have the support of the worlds leading experts and several British and European Politicians.

Recognising the public interest, the DVLA referred the matter to the European Driving License Committee and the Vision Expert subGroup, based in Brussels. The British representatives there are: Fred Hackman, Guy Slaney, and Dr Heather Major [respectively] of the UK Department of Transport and DVLA [respectively].  Updated information about that is available at our webboard, especially in our Members only forums.  Meanwhile other EU member nations are progressing well with trials, and of course each member nation recognises each others driving licenses. [Source: Driving Licenses in the EU and EEA, ISBN: 92-828-9537-8]. 

So the situation in the UK is some biOptic users are licensed to drive, and some (even though ideally suited) are not!

Eventually, we hope to positively influence policy formation on BiOptic Driving, taking account of the balance of scientific evidence - all of which is in the possession of BDN and in the public domain.  Indeed many agree clarification and enlightenment is needed on many matters concerned with vision and driving in the UK, notably the "curb-side vision test".  It's therefore very encouraging that the DVLA commissioned new research, though not regarding BiOptics.  Currently we look forward to developments regarding BiOptic driving in several EU nations.

However, it's important to accept that not all individuals with low vision conditions could benefit from our efforts, but with appropriate distance optical low vision aids, and specialised driver education training, some low vision drivers are factually safer than many others currently permitted to drive.  [Source: Dr. Otto Lippmann, MD, "The Effect of the Texas Medical Advisory Board for Driver Licensing on Driver Performance", American Association for Automotive Medicine Proceedings, October 3-6, 1979, Louisville, KY, et al].

Where in the UK are BiOptics available?  BiOptic Driving Network does not endorse any products or services.  Please use our public Webboard to ask for recommendations.

Current vision requirement

The UK vision requirement is to be able to read a standard number plate in good daylight from 20.5m [67 feet], "using glasses if necessary". If you need "glasses or contact lenses" to do this, you must wear them every time you drive. There are additional rules if you want to drive vehicles over 3.5 tonnes and minibus/buses.

FOR NEW DRIVERS - Your eyesight must be at least:

  • 6/9 [20/30] on the Snellen scale in the better eye and 6/12 [20/40] on the Snellen scale in the other eye ["wearing glasses or contact lenses" if you need them]
  • 3/60 [10/200] in each eye without glasses or contact lenses

Number plates

In line with the rest of Europe, the font used on number plates was reduced in width from 57mm to 50mm, on new vehicles from 2001. Consequently the eyesight test will be reduced to 20 metres when a new style number plate is used on test. The distance was set on advice from the Secretary of State's Honorary Medical Advisory Panel specialising in vision. The standard of eyesight [indicated above] required remains equivalent.

More details about the change in vehicle number plates and new character typeface can be found in the DVLA leaflet INF104 or on the DVLA website: www.dvla.gov.uk

Visual acuity and legal visual requirement to drive a passenger vehicle in the UK...

Survey of past and current BiOptic drivers.  Additionally, if you have any relevant pictures, please upload them, here.

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Click here to order your copy

New Release


See video clip (1.30 Mb) 128 k download.


56 k download (490 k)


Requires Real Audio Player






Driving With Confidence - A practical guide to driving with low vision, by Dr Eli Peli (Harvard Medical School, USA) & Doron Peli (Dr Eli Peli is also a member of our informal academic group)


ISBN 981-02-4704-4 US$28 / £19

ISBN 981-02-4705-2 (pbk) US$18 / £12


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Seen our Press Release? Click here [74.5 Kb PDF file] 29 Apr, 2002

Copy letter from Henry Green OD, to DVLA Click here [41 Kb PDF file] 8 Apr, 2002

Copy letter from Richard Feinbloom, President, Designs For Vision, to DVLA Click here [23.5 Kb PDF file] 22 Apr 2002 

You will need to get the free Acrobat Reader in order to view it. After you download Adobe Acrobat Reader [or if you already have it], when you click on the PDF file, it will open directly into a new browser window or frame.

 BiOptic Driving Network is supported by Vidahost


All 2000+ pages on this website were BOBBY level 1 compliant  We'd be grateful for expert assistance to develop this to modern standards. Please contact the Webmasters via facebook link above. Contact Webmasters Accessibility   This page last edited: 13 April 2012
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© 2001-2012 BiOptic Driving Network


Disclaimer statement: BiOptic Driving Network does not sell, endorse, or offer opinions on products, manufacturers, or professionals whose services/products may be secured following posting on this website.  Products and individuals pictures on this site have been specifically authorized by the relevant manufacturer or individual.  We are a registered not for profit organization, and provide information to help make informed choices.  We do not give individuals optometric or ophthalmologic advice, but may refer one to an eminent expert.  A BiOptic Telescopic System does not itself make someone a safe driver; specialized training is prerequisite.