Driving with Low Vision and Bioptics:
Gearing Up or Down

One-Day Virtual Workshop

Saturday, September 12th, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM ET

Workshop Fee: $95 per person

 Register by September 5th!

Driving with Low Vision and Bioptics

This workshop is intended for low vision individuals who are considering exploring the driving privilege. Obtaining a driver’s license that requires the use of a bioptic lens system involves the cooperation and services of a multi-disciplinary team of professionals. Parents or spouses who might offer direct or indirect related services or emotional support are also encouraged to attend.

Topics & Presenters:

  • The Clinical Low Vision Examination, Tom Porter, O.D.
  • Bioptic Telescopes: The Evaluation, Prescription and Fitting, Tom Porter, O.D.
  • Pre-Driver Readiness, Chuck Huss, COMS, DRS
  • Behind-The-Wheel Training and Testing, Chad Strowmatt, LOT, CDRS
  • Getting in Charge of Getting Around: Accessing Transportation as a Non-Driver, Cindy Bachofer, PhD, CLVT
  • Finding Wheels (2nd ed.): An Updated Curriculum For Drivers & Non-Drivers with Visual Impairment For Gaining Control of Transportation Needs, L. Penny Rosenblum, Ph.D.
  • How A Bioptic Driving Bill Becomes Law: The Journey of Consumer Advocacy inChanging Bioptic Driving Policy,
    Matt Bailey
  • Panel Discussion / Questions & Answers

This course has been approved for 6 ADED Approved Contact Hour(s). The assignment of ADED Contact Hours does not imply endorsement of specific course content, products, or clinical procedures by ADED.

Thanks to our program corporate sponsor:

Tentative Workshop Agenda:

All times Eastern (ET)

8:00 a.m. – 8:15 a.m.
Welcome and Introductions (Michael McGowan, Executive Director, NOAH; Matt Bailey, Workshop Moderator)

8:15 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
The Clinical Low Vision Examination (Thomas I. Porter, O.D., F.A.A.O.)

9:05 a.m. – 9:50 a.m.
Evaluation, Fitting and Prescription of Bioptic Lens Systems (Thomas I. Porter, O.D., F.A.A.O.)

9:50 a.m. – 10:05 a.m.

10:05 a.m. -10:50 a.m.
Pre-Driver Readiness (Chuck Huss, COMS, DRS)

11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Behind-the-Wheel Training and Testing (Chad Strowmatt, LOT, CDRS)

11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.

12:45 p.m. – 1:40 p.m.
Getting in Charge of Getting Around: Accessing Transportation as a Non-Driver (Cindy Bachofer, PhD, CLVT)

1:40 p.m. – 1:50 p.m.

1:50 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
Finding Wheels (2nd ed):  An Updated Curriculum for Drivers & Non-Drivers with Visual Impairment for Gaining Control of Transportation Needs (L. Penny Rosenblum, Ph.D.)

2:45 p.m. – 2:55 p.m.

2:55 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.
How a Bioptic Bill Becomes Law: The Journey of Consumer advocacy in Changing Bioptic Driving Policy (Matt Bailey)

3:50 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Final Q & A Panel Discussion (Mike McGowan, moderator), Workshop evaluations & final comments 

Session Abstracts:

Title: The Clinical Low Vision Examination – Thomas I. Porter, O.D., F.A.A.O.

Abstract: In this talk, we will compare and contrast the familiar “ocular health” type eye examination that most of us have experienced with a “clinical low vision examination”.  The purpose of a low vision examination is to improve functional visual skills rather than diagnosing and treating a pathology or condition.  Functional skills can often be improved by manipulating such variables as contrast appreciation, glare control specialty low vision aids and rehabilitation training.  Each step in the low vision exam will be discussed and several patient cases will be used for illustration.

Title: Bioptic Telescopes: “The Evaluation, Prescribing and Fitting” – Thomas I. Porter, O.D., F.A.A.O.

Abstract: Bioptic telescopes are the primary low vision aids that allow magnification for distant object in a “hands free” manner. Thus bioptics are the most frequently used devices to help those with limited vision maintain and improve visual skills necessary for driving.  We will cover types of bioptic telescopes as well as various special considerations and challenges in their fitting.   

Title: Pre-Driver Readiness – Chuck Huss, COMS, Driver Rehabilitation Specialist

Abstract: For many low vision individuals, who never expected the opportunity to explore the driving privilege, knowing how to best prepare one’s self for the dynamics of this task is not known. This presentation will highlight both basic (pedestrian related) as well as advanced (passenger-in-car) pre-driver readiness skills that will facilitate the likelihood of success before one enters formalized behind-the-wheel bioptic driver training. This presentation will also highlight ways that parents, low vision therapists and driver rehabilitation specialists alike can help young, novice driver candidates improve their active passenger-in-car (commentary drive) skills.

Title: Behind-The-Wheel Training & Testing – Chad Strowmatt, LOT, CDRS

Abstract: The purpose of this presentation is to provide the importance of behind-the-wheel training to learn proper techniques and strategies in using the bioptic telescope. 

Title: Getting in Charge of Getting Around: Accessing transportation as a non-driver – Cindy Bachofer, PhD, CLVT

Abstract: Obtaining a driver’s license is a recognized symbol of independence for young adults in this nation.  When a visual impairment is present, this symbol of independence may be a city bus pass or a contract with a hired driver. Instruction is essential in building skills needed to access transportation effectively and to manage adult responsibilities. Developing positive self-esteem as a non-driver and recognizing the inner satisfaction of gaining personal independence are larger goals within instruction.  This presentation draws from the curriculum Finding Wheels (Corn & Rosenblum, 2000) and personal experience in accessing transportation as a non-driver. 

Finding Wheels: Strategies to Build Independent Travel Skills for Those with Visual Impairments – L. Penny Rosenblum, Ph.D. 

Abstract: There is a lot to navigating life as a nondriver or potential low vision driver in 2020. During this session you’ll get ideas for how travelers in their teens and early 20s can build their skills in using various forms of transportation, budgeting for travel, sharing information with others, and handling situations when travel doesn’t work out the way you planned. We’ll also explore considerations for those who want to learn more about the potential for driving with low vision. This session introduces attendees to a soon to be published book called Finding Wheels that contains a wealth of information and activities for travelers to develop as they fill their travel toolbox. 

Title: How a Bioptic Bill Becomes Law: The Journey Of Consumer Advocacy in Changing Bioptic Driving Policy – Matt Bailey

Abstract: What do you do when you want to drive, but your state doesn’t allow you to use bioptics? Many states in the U.S. now allow bioptic lens users the opportunity to earn a driver’s license. Most of those states changed their policies within the last 20 years and most did so because ordinary citizens like you advocated for those new policies. In this session, you learn of one consumer advocacy group’s recent journey to change state law and what you need to know to successfully advocate for policy change in your state.

Meet the Presenters:

Cindy Bachofer, PhD, CLVT
Dr. Bachofer is the low vision consultant at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Austin, TX. She completed her doctorate at Vanderbilt University in 2013. The title of her dissertation is Long-Term Use of Optical Devices by Young Adults with Low Vision. Dr. Bachofer is also a Certified Low Vision Therapist.  Her teaching interests include use of optical devices, print reading strategies, and psychosocial issues for students with low vision. She previously served as a teacher of students with visual impairments and as a consultant with Project Providing Access to the Visual Environment (PAVE), from 2001-2008, at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN. Dr. Bachofer has also served as a literacy project leader with VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) in Nashville and as an English instructor at both the secondary and post-secondary level in Kansas.  

Matt Bailey
Mr. Bailey is a marketing research analyst and President of Integr8 research, a marketing research firm serving the media and music industries. He is a person with albinism and has been a licensed driver using bioptics for over 24 years. Back in 2013, Mr. Bailey worked with a group of fellow bioptic users to successfully advocate for new legislation to increase bioptic users’ opportunities to obtain driving privileges in North Carolina. He served on NOAH’s Board of Directors from 2000 to 2006. Mr. Bailey and his wife, Melike (“Mel-ih-kay”), who also has albinism live in Chapel Hill, NC with their daughter.

Chuck Huss, COMS, DRS
Mr. Huss, a certified orientation and mobility specialist and driver rehabilitation specialist, is known nationally for his work and expertise in the area of formalized bioptic driver training and assessment over the past thirty-seven (37) years. He served as one of the principal researchers for the West Virginia Pilot Low Vision Driving Study from 1985 through 1988, and its continuum of related services through 2008; and currently shares full-time teaching responsibilities with four (4) other professional staff within the new WV Bioptic Driving Program, that was started back in July, 2009.For his years of service, knowledge sharing and professional advocacy efforts revolving around “bioptic driving”, Mr. Huss was awarded the AER Ambrose Shotwell Award in 2012, a NOAH Distinguished Service Award in 2014, and an ADED Scholar’s Award in 2018. He is a 1976 M.A. graduate of Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI.

Dr. Thomas Porter, O. D., F.A.A.O
Dr. Porter is an Associate Professor and Director of Low Vision Services in Saint Louis University’s Department of Ophthalmology. He also serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri College of Optometry. For his entire forty (40) year career, Dr. Porter has limited his practice to patients with low vision issues. His clinic sees in excess of 1,000 low vision patients each year. Dr. Porter has also served as a clinical consultant to several manufacturers of low vision aids as well as a medical advisor to the Vision Council of America.

L. Penny Rosenblum, Ph.D.
Dr. Rosenblum is the Director of Research at the American Foundation for the Blind. Penny is the co-author of Finding Wheels, which should be out in the coming months. This book is designed for travelers who are teens or in their early 20’s and are non-drivers or interested in exploring driving with low vision. Penny enjoys bicycling, riding about 2,500 miles a year. She lives in Tucson, Arizona with her husband Dennis.

Chad Strowmatt, LOT, CDRS
Mr. Strowmatt obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Occupational Therapy from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in 1987.  He is currently working on his OTD at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions. He earned the certificate of professional recognition from ADED in all 3 categories (neurosensory, adapted car, and adapted van) in 1993.  He became a certified driver rehabilitation specialist (CDRS) in 1996 by passing the certification exam set by the Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (ADED). Chad is certified by the state of Texas as a teaching assistant and is one of the most experienced CDRS’s to teach not only Texas low vision residents but also the first low vision resident from Louisiana using bioptic telescopes. In addition, he has work experience in: rehabilitation at the Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR) before starting a private practice in 1993.  He has served in numerous national ADED office positions including President in 2004.  He was awarded the Scholar Award by ADED in 2011.