Neither Here NOR There: Today’s Vision Tests

Today, I went to the Retina Foundation of the Southwest as a patient, not an employee. I needed to get an updated vision evaluation for DARS. I haven’t been able to reach my counselor for more information about why this was necessary. She was with someone else so briefly told me a few things, including that I needed to get evaluated again.

So I went in today. When I went in, I told myself I want to be 30 degrees or below, but above 20. I mean, ideally, I would be 180 degrees but since we know that’s not happening.. that was my goal. Why, you ask? 30 degrees is the cut off for receiving services from DARS. Their services have helped me so much with my adjustment to RP and “moving on” with my life, that I really wanted to still qualify. I wanted to score ABOVE 20 degrees because that is defined as legal blindness. I’m not quite ready to become legally blind just yet. Of course, whatever I scored I scored. I was going to do the best that I could and whatever happens, happens. The testers also couldn’t manipulate the test, because well, they don’t do much other than make sure I stay still and look at this certain dot the entire time. The machine does the rest.

These tests took a lot less time than the field tests I did during the study. I did the legal field test today and I don’t recall ever doing it before. After about 10 minutes, the tester told me that I was “close.” I asked.. “close to..?” He replied, “20 degrees.” I can’t really describe how I felt at that moment. I was happy that I still qualified but a little nervous that I was so close to 20 degrees, and therefore legal blindness. I’m JUST above 20 degrees.. I’m calling it “borderline legally blind,” although I don’t know if anybody actually says that or not. But that’s basically what I am. I’m right at that mark between being legally blind and not.

My central vision, though? GREAT. I believe it’s 20/25 in one eye and 20/32 in the other. (that’s with glasses). I’m really grateful that my central vision is so great as it does help make so many things a lot easier.

I’m not ready to become legally blind yet. My main reason? I’m okay with the cane.. but that took a lot of time and talking to people, and looking up other people’s experiences, and falling, etc. What I haven’t quite come to terms with is the driving. And while I have been told by somebody at DARS that you can still drive while legally blind, I’m not so sure I want to deal with all that. I’m not legally blind just yet and therefore don’t want to have that label. That would help DARS out because instead of it coming out of their budget, it would come out of the state’s.. but I can’t worry about that. I worry about too much already. 🙂

I’ll go into driving more in another post. Hope to hear from you!


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Jessica N and Makiko

Jessica is a proud Texan. She graduated in 2014 with her Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling and is now employed. She is visually impaired and has a retinal disease, Retinitis Pigmentosa. Originally Jessica started blogging about everything from being diagnosed with the disease to where she is now, almost 9 years later. Then, Jessica went to Guide Dogs for the Blind and was blessed with Makiko, her new guide dog. Now, her blog "The Way Eye See The World" is about everything related to visual impairments, including guide dogs.

2 thoughts on “Neither Here NOR There: Today’s Vision Tests”

  1. I had some testing done at the Retinal Foundation of the Southwest. Nice people and nice labyrinth of connecting testing rooms. I am a daytime driver only by choice. I wanted to stay safe and keep others safe as well. Thanks for sharing your journey so candidly. It is very encouraging.

    1. I absolutely love your “labyrinth” description. That is a great way to describe it. They are moving into a great new building so hopefully it won’t be quite as chaotic. I hope you will continue to read my posts. Thanks for commenting!


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