Bioptics Low Vision Aid Helps Blind Woman Drive Again - Fields of Vision
Hello! and welcome back to Fields of Vision, it's Megan! The last video you saw is probably that totally random unscripted blog. [jazz hands] Today we're going to be talking about those bioptics (that device I was telling you about that's going to allow me to drive again), which is incredible ... I kind of feel like I'm living in a dream ... I didn't think that was even possible. But it is! I'm sure you're all very curious, like, what are bioptics? how are they used? all of that.
So that's what I'm going to be telling you about today. I have them here ... And like I said, they're just a regular pair of glasses [holds them up] So, a regular pair of glasses just like that, with a monocular that's mounted onto the glasses. [holding glasses: position #2] [holding glasses: position #3] [holding glasses: position #4] Okay, a regular pair of glasses with a monocular attached to the top. I'm going to describe how they work, and then we'll talk a little bit more about what they're used for, how you get them, and all that. The monocular has a viewfinder here on the outside of the device that looks out to the world, and then there is a viewfinder on the inside of glasses, which is where I'm looking. Basically, this viewfinder is aligned to my pupil ... I'm using peripheral vision through the prescription lenses, and then if I wanted to look out to see something up close, magnified, then I would dip down and use the monocular.
Like I said, it's aligned to my pupil, so all I have to do [is]: I'm looking straight ahead, I just dip down, and it's instantly on my eye, and I'm seeing what I was looking at magnified four times. There's also a focus wheel on the middle, inside. That's useful if you wanted to focus in on something far away, or closer to you. So you do have that flexibility of being able to look at things at multiple distances. That is the bioptic. Now, I know you're thinking, what are those used for? Well, for me it'll be used for driving. What DO people use bioptics for? It's for a range of tasks. Primarily they're used for distance viewing.
If you've got pretty good peripheral vision, you can see big stuff that's going on around you in the world, but you're missing those details far off. So you would use it for looking off to see a street light, or, I've used them in the movie theater! I didn't even think whenever I first got them that I would use them for that purpose, but ... I'm in the movie, and I had them with me, and I thought, man, I'm missing out on what the facial expressions are, and the little things that are going on in the movie, ... I wonder if I could use the bioptics for that? So I put them on and I focused in on the screen, and there were a couple of things that got out of focus because there's that depth in the movie, but I was seeing so much more than I normally do! That's amazing, so cool ..
I didn't even think I would use them for movie viewing, but hey, there you go. Movies, driving, distance viewing, just getting around ... I think the bioptics are great to wear almost all the time. I think I would want to do that, just be able to put them on and, as I'm going through life, I can just dip down and see something off in the distance ... Pretty cool! Dip down, everybody. Get down in there! Get down in that magnification! I'm sure you're also on the edge your seat: how do I get them? where do I get them? tell me tell me tell me Bioptics are made specifically for the individual. Mine are a prescription lense tailor-made for me, and the monocular itself is aligned to my pupil. You would get a monocular from a low vision specialist.
I suggest, if you are low vision and you're interested in bioptics (either for driving or for just gaining more independence in your life), google "low vision specialist in my area", whatever your city and state is. It will quickly create a list for you of all the people that are certified low vision specialists in your area. Call them up, schedule an appointment, and ask them. ("Hey, I'm interested in bioptics!") The last topic I want to hit on is the driving, because that is ..
For me, the driving and independence has been one of the biggest struggles in my journey through vision loss. The ability to go where I want to go, safely and reliably, has been a struggle. It's been ... Unreliable, and sometimes not safe. [laughs] So, the exact opposite of what I wanted. The fact that I now have this opportunity to be able to choose when I go to the store--when I do ANYTHING--is completely life-changing, and I know that anyone out there who is visually impaired and has that obstacle of transportation: you totally understand what I'm talking about. I wanted to address on the sighted side of the issue, because I completely understand where safety is a huge question, because you have someone who is visually impaired that's now behind the wheel, and I'm sure you're asking--and I asked this question--is it safe to use bioptics to drive? I think that if we take a step back and look at that at the situation: there are people who are completely sighted that are very unsafe drivers, and so it's not a question of ... Well, it is a question of the device itself ..
But it's also a question of the individual. I know for me personally, I voluntarily gave up driving because, at the time, I did not feel that I was seeing enough to confidently say: yes, I am safe; I will not hurt someone around me; I will not hurt myself. And so personally I would never choose something that I did not feel confident ... That I would not be putting someone's life, and my life, in danger. Even if it represents something like the struggle for independence, I would rather give that up, that ability to go when I want to go, knowing that I would be safe. I think if we look at the individual, that's where the difference is. Bioptics are not for everyone. Bioptics will work for people who are extremely proactive, and take it seriously, because it is very serious.
You put yourself behind the wheel, and you are taking on the responsibility to be a safe driver. I'm committed to learning whatever I need to learn--taking whatever steps I need to take--be be safe, and to ensure that I'm not risking anyone else's life or health. It's an interesting topic, and I completely understand that question of safety, and so I just wanted to share with you that I feel confident that I'm seeing what I need to see. I used to drive when I was sighted, so I have that perspective of knowing what should I be looking out for.
I feel that I'm good, as long as I stay within the restrictions, which is 45 mph and daytime driving ... You won't see me out at night, because I don't feel that that's safe! I get why there's that restriction: you're not going to be able to see. If you have any questions about the safety, there are a lot of resources out there, and I'm going to include some links to websites and places that you can learn more about bioptics: how they work, why they work for people with specific visual problems. If you want to know more about that, safety and also just in general, do some research, and I'm open to the conversation. I want to be able to bridge that gap between people who are visually impaired ... Having that experience, and then having a device that allows you to live the kind of life that you want ... And then the sighted world, having the ability to understand, how is that safe for everyone? as well.
The next video I'm going to be doing is actually a ride-along, so I hope you tune in! We're going to be cruising together: blind folks ... Sighted folks ... [laughs] Like the video! Subscribe to the channel If you'd like! Leave a comment! Send me a message! Ask a question! Whatever you'd like! :) I'm here, and I can't wait to hear from you. Until then! [waves] Bye!.
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