Barbara J.
South Bend Indiana

Loss of central vision due to macular degeneration

I was driving home from work on US 31 South of South Bend when I became aware that oncoming cars were disappearing and reappearing. I stopped driving at that point. I was working at the time and often had to travel to Fort Wayne, Indy and Warsaw, as well as visit schools in St. Joe and Elkhart county. My husband was also working but his schedule often allowed him to drive. My secretary sometimes drove, and colleagues attending the same meetings were generous in taking me along.

Working through Voc Rehab, I was able to continue working until eligible for retirement under terms of the pension plan, although not Social Security. We debated that, and since by that time my husband had retired, I retired.

Years of additional work time were possible because of assistance from a Jordy CCTV to read documents, etc. Apple Universal Access utilities enabled me to use the computer at work and at home.

I did not begin driver's training for bioptics until a year and a half after I stopped driving. I received my first bioptic license in 2004. This allowed me to carry out daytime school visits locally for work as well as returning a sense of independence in daily life.

Dr. Richard Windsor was the doctor I worked with at Low Vision Center, FW. Training with Sue Henderson from the South Bend Memorial Hospital Driving Sector was excellent. She was thorough and patient for the behind-the wheel portion of the training. Vonda, Dr. Windsor’s technician, provided the "classroom" instruction, also competent, patient and demanding. I was confident of my ability to drive using the bioptic by the time I took my road test in BMV in Mishawaka.

I have been fully satisfied with all my contacts with the practice and with the personnel. Questions are taken seriously and answered fully, assistance given when I have called for replacement parts, such as the nose piece and head bend on the bioptic. Info to Motor Vehicles has been prompt, so that when I had to renew my license last year, all paper work was completed in a timely manner.

I am very grateful that there is such a program and that it was reasonably accessible. However, I can't help but wish it were closer. I am reluctant to drive on high speed roads such as 31 and 30, or actually on roads that are new and unfamiliar. My husband has so far been able to drive me to FW for the annual required certification. But he is 75, so I have some concerns about the future. I do wish you had a center locally.

For about the past two years, I have been receiving Avastan treatments from Dr. R. Lee and these seem to have kept things stable.

Some of the equipment, such as stand and pocket magnifiers, a lighted magnifier on a lamp stand base and the Jordy system have also allowed me to continue quilting, which I would really miss. The bioptic allows me to shop, get to the library for audio books, visit with friends and in general feel like a 'whole' human being.