Sharon D
Kokomo, Indiana

Ocular Histoplasmosis

I began losing my vision in 1991 due to ocular histoplasmosis.  I went through several procedures, including experimental drug treatments and sub-retinal surgery. 

The night before the sub-retinal surgery was the last night I drove before receiving my Beecher about eighteen months later, in August 2003.  My doctor came in and told me there was nothing else that could be done to improve my vision.  I asked, “Where do I go from here?”  He told me that there was a Low Vision Specialist down the street who had patients who were having some success with bioptic driving.  I made an appointment with Dr. Windsor but was concerned that my insurance may not pay for anything. 

A friend whom I had not had contact with in over a year called during the time I was waiting for my appointment.  I told her that I was going to see Dr. Windsor and she told me that her husband had gone through Vocational Rehabilitation and they provided the equipment he needed to continue working.  I cancelled my original appointment with Dr. Windsor and contacted Vocational Rehabilitation.  Vocational Rehabilitation interviewed me and determined that I should be seen for an evaluation.  They gave me options of who I could see.  I chose to see Dr. Windsor. 

Dr. Windsor determined that I was a candidate for bioptic driving.  That was an exciting day!  The hardest part was being put on a waiting list for my driver’s training.  It was a very long six months! 

When I was unable to drive, my family, friends, and church surrounded me.  They made sure I got to work, to the store, and everywhere else I needed to go.  I was humbled by the way I was surrounded and taken care of.  I appreciated and felt very blessed by the help I received but I missed the independence that driving gives.  Bioptic driving gives me the ability to take myself to work.  It gives me the ability to go grocery shopping when I want to go, not just when someone else is going. 

My instructor was great.  The first day I drove was on SR 31 from Indianapolis to Kokomo.  I had to identify every sign that I saw.  Then I drove on city streets and on country roads.  It was really a surprise when my Bioptic instructor took me on the the interstate around Indianapolis.  I did not think I would drive on roads where traffic was in multiple lanes and moving so fast.  It was even more of a surprise that I could do it and feel comfortable.

I have several tools that I depend on to make my life pretty normal.  I use my Jordy and my Beecher every single day.  My Beecher hangs around my neck.  I use it to see menu boards, the stage at concerts, the screen at church, and of course, for driving! 

My life verse is Philippians 4:13, “For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need”.  I never thought I would drive again.  With the tools and training Dr. Windsor provided and the strength God gives, it is possible to do far more than we could ever imagine.  I encourage you to explore the possibility and adventure of bioptic driving.