No words will ever be able to fully capture the story of Crystal Davis and Ocutech— it’s a story full of twists and turns, of a woman’s resilience, of her strength of heart and fate.
Crystal was born with Achromatopsia, an inherited retinal disorder that causes both a lack of clear vision as well as a total absence of color vision. As a young girl, growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, her parents were never told about low vision aids that could help Crystal in school to read better and see the chalkboard. And, as a young adult an eye doctor she visited had told her that because of her vision she would never be eligible to drive.
“Then I heard about Belinda O’ Connor an Ocutech bioptic telescope wearer and the founder of ‘Bioptic Drivers Australia.’ Wearing her Ocutech bioptic telescope, she became her country’s first visually impaired motorcyclist” Crystal shared. “And she has Achromatopsia just like I do, and she is driving! I said to myself, if she can do it why can’t I?”
Recently, Crystal relocated to a small farming town outside of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She has taken her passion for farming and found a home where she can raise chickens, turkey quails, rabbits, pigs and goats. More importantly, she was on a mission to find an optometrist that can help her get a bioptic telescope and become eligible to drive.
Having studied the Ocutech website, Crystal was convinced that she was a promising candidate for an Ocutech bioptic and thought that they could make a major difference in her life. She began to search for an optometrist in North Carolina who specializes in low vision care and discovered Academy Eye Associates in Durham, and made an appointment to see Dr. Jennifer Powell.
Little did she know at the time that Ocutech’s Co-founder, Dr. Henry Greene, had also been the founder of Academy Eye Associates, and although now retired he would still consult on low vision patients periodically.
“As soon as I realized that I might be able to meet Dr. Greene, I couldn’t believe it,” Crystal gushed. “I had read about Dr. Greene and Ocutech for years. And then— to my amazement—and with my new optometrist letting Dr. Greene know that I was a fan, Dr. Greene surprised me by coming to the office to personally fit me for my bioptics. I felt like a teenager who has just met her hero.”
Dr. Greene fitted Crystal with the Ocutech VES Explorer bioptic telescope. This manual focus bioptic telescope is small, lightweight and it’s very comfortable to wear. For a personal touch, Crystal chose a pink telescope color attached to a bronze frame. “I’m told by many that the color combination looks great on me,” Crystal stated jokingly, as of course she has no color vision to be able to tell for herself!
She was also provided special filters which snap onto the bioptic, so she could distinguish green and yellow colors, and special red filters that fit over her entire bioptic to aid her ability to recognize red lights easier.
But the best part? Crystal’s dreams of both obtaining a bioptic driver’s license and becoming a successful farmer could finally become reality. North Carolina, like most states in the US now allow visually impaired drivers to receive a special bioptic driver’s license after completing training and testing. This fall, she expects to be able to compete her training and finally get her license.
“It’s amazing how I can be on my farm working and see my animals off in the distance— it’s a whole new world and a whole new experience for me. I just wish I knew long ago when I was a little girl growing up that this could happen for me. Bioptics could have been so helpful for me then,” she said, reminiscing. “These bioptics are just a life-changer!”
While working on the farm, Crystal has also been in school studying business accounting, with the hope of one day obtaining her CPA. Because she is a go-getter, Crystal did not hesitate to ask Dr. Greene if he knew of any companies around her area that may be hiring someone with reduced vision. It didn’t take long for Dr. Greene to immediately answer with a job offer of his own.
“I am now part of the administrative team at Ocutech!” Crystal shared, grinning. “I get to hear so many stories of individuals with low vision and how their lives have been drastically transformed because of bioptics, and I have the pleasure to work for a company and a doctor that I have been a fan of for years. Everything is finally falling into place for me.”
If Crystal’s story teaches us anything, it’s that being resilient and a self-advocate is crucial when it comes to achieving one’s dreams. And if you or a loved one are experiencing a visual impairment, Ocutech is happy to help answer any questions and refer you to an optometrist who also specializes in low vision care. You might even get to chat with Crystal!
Ocutech Bioptics are especially helpful for viewing television, movies and theater, seeing faces, signs, blackboards in school, shopping, and traveling. Ocutech wearers have even used their bioptics to hike, golf, bowl, paint, fish, drive tractors and mow the lawn. Most states in the U.S. and some countries will license eligible visually impaired individuals to drive while using a bioptic telescope.
Ask your low vision specialist if an Ocutech bioptic might be right for you. For more information about Ocutech bioptics or for a referral to a low vision specialist visit www.ocutech.com.
Complete the self-assessment form at https://ocutech.com/self-assessment-form/ to receive a reply from Ocutech’s experts about your special visual situation.