Collin B.
Northern Indiana


My name is Colin and I am a bioptic driver.  I have a genetic disorder, incomplete achromatopsia, which severely limits my ability to perceive colors, especially the color red.  It also limits my overall visual acuity.   I have been going to eye specialists, Dr. Richard Windsor in particular, most of my life.  As a child my condition meant I needed large print books and other special assistance in school, but for the most part it did not hamper me.   Even when I was younger I knew that driving would pose a much more daunting challenge.  In fact, for the most part I just assumed I would never be able to drive because of my eyesight.  However, Dr. Windsor started getting me ready for the possibility of driving early on . 

In addition to my lowered visual acuity (20/70 corrected) I had the added difficulty of not being able to see the color red.  The color red, as everyone knows, plays a large role in the rules of the road.  During the day it is very hard for me to see break lights, turn signals, some traffic signals, and anything else that is red.  Dr. Windsor had me try contacts that were died a dark red in the middle.  This actually allowed me to see red for the first time.  It was quite a shock at first because for all of my life everything that was red had looked black to me.  Strawberries, spaghetti sauce, traffic lights, some of my clothes now looked very strange and different.  It was exhilarating!  For the first time I had a glimmering hope that I might actually be able to drive.  The next step in the process was the bioptic device itself.  The apparatus definitely took some getting used to.  I didn’t start driving right away of course.  I took the device home and practiced slightly tilting my head so as to be able to spot various things in the back yard through the four power telescope mounted on top of the plastic frames.   In addition to the red contacts, we also experimented with many different kinds of filters that fit into the bioptic itself.   In fact I no longer have to use the red contacts but rely on the different filters.  They are much easier to change which makes it easier to adjust to different lighting conditions.   I also rode in the passenger seat with my parents, telling them when I saw signs, other cars, people etc. through the bioptic.   In the spring of my senior year in high school I started the behind the wheel training.

My trainer was wonderful.  She was very patient with me, but also made sure I was safe and that I was ready for the BMV evaluation.  I received my driver’s license before the end of my senior year and was able to drive to school a few times before graduation, something I thought I would never be able to do.  I have been driving now for about 7 years.  I work full time for the Social Security Administration and commute everyday to and from work.  A yearly reevaluation is required by the state of Indiana to ensure that I still meet the requirements to be a bioptic driver.  I have a yearly checkup for my eyes anyway so it is no trouble at all.  Dr. Windsor always makes sure everything is still going smoothly.  I am extremely grateful to Dr. Windsor and everyone at the Low Vision Centers of Indiana  for providing me with the opportunity to drive!