Nystagmus and Driving – Part 2

Today I got my drivers license. 

I know I haven’t posted on this blog in a long time, but I wanted you all to be the first to know.

I am 28 years old now. This has been 12 years in the making. There were no tricks, no hoops to jump through. I had to pass the eye exam to get my permit, which I did (with glasses). I then had to pass the driving test, which for me was the hardest part. I don’t know if it was just the importance I had put on this particular milestone, general fear of actually operating a vehicle, or some sort of test-taking anxiety, but when it came to taking the actual behind-the-wheel test, I completely lost my cool. Which is very unlike me in other aspects of my life. It was an issue.

But after several failed attempts (I honestly don’t know how many over the years; I lost count), today I passed. Not perfectly, but I passed.  

So to my shifty-eyed friends out there who were told you would never be able to drive, don’t let that stop you from trying. And failing. And trying again. Because I swear to god I thought I would never be able to do it, and I DID.




14 thoughts on “Nystagmus and Driving – Part 2

  1. Congratulations and thanks for sharing! It’s another “can’t” I can cross off the list for my 3 year old son.

  2. Congratulations!!! I am proud of you for not giving up.
    I’m so glad you posted it. I have enjoyed reading your blog. My daughter is 22 and has Nystugmus. I found your blog back in 2012 and wanted to hear more about how you were doing. This is great news!

  3. I’m so happy for you, now I know that my son at least has a chance to drive, with u as an inspiration, thank you

  4. Congratulations! Do you plan on driving much or do you think you will still get rides? I am 40, but got my license when I was 16; now my vision is getting worse and I fear I may not be able to drive forever. Do you plan on getting a car?

  5. That’s awesome congratulations, I really wish I could get mine but my vision is horrid and I was in an accident almost two years ago and injured my neck. I love this blog people think I am just being lazy, but i don’t want to endanger my kids or anyone else. And people just dont understand that.

  6. Thanks for the support everyone! To answer some of your questions:

    – I do plan on getting a car.

    – Likely I will only drive to work and back at first. I’ll continue to practice other driving situations and will add them on when I am comfortable. In general, I only like to drive in places that I know extremely well.

    – I will drive as long as I feel comfortable doing so. I don’t really know what the future brings, but I’ll take it one day at a time and will be grateful for the ability to do it while I can.

    Driving still makes me nervous, but I’m hoping that after a while it won’t feel like such a big deal and will be a normal part of my life.

    • Glad to read that you’ve obtained your drivers licence. I see you’re from California, have you heard/seen Dr Robert Lingua at the Gavin Herbert eye institute? He performs the Sinskey procedure for horizontal nystagmus. Some very promising results on kids. I have vertical nystagmus so I’m not eligibly, I would love to chat via email if you’re up for it? I’m 31 years old, I don’t have a drivers licence, would love to talk to you about what type of glasses/ lens you use, I’m so close to being eligible, but like you I don’t feel comfortable behind the wheel.

  7. Congrats! I stumbled on your blog today because I was researching advice on how to raise school aged children with Nystagmus. My daughter is in 4th grade and was diagnosed with optic nerve hypoplasia (under developed optic nerves) and nystagmus at 3 months old.

    I’m a parent that’s trying to raise a confident young women in this crazy world that we live in. Thank you for your blog and I hope you continue to share your experiences with parents of shift eyed kids.

  8. Hello there,
    I just came across your blog looking for people with nystagmus who drive and I’d like to thank you for sharing your experience. My husband has nystagmus and has been driving since he was a a teenager (he’s 32 now) and has had his license for over 10 years now. I have always been scared and was always told I wouldn’t be able to. In the past few years husband has been encouraging me more and more to drive and I finally got my permit 2 months ago. Now he’s teaching me to drive and it is so scary! Lol but slowly I’m learning. Thanks again for sharing ,even though husband is an experienced driver with nystagmus, it’s great to hear of others.

    • Congrats on getting your permit! If you can pass the eye exam, you can definitely drive. I was also terrified of driving. My husband was very patient with me. Some things that helped me:

      1) Practice around the DMV where you will be taking the test. The more you get used to driving around there, the more at ease you will be when you take your test. No surprises!

      2) Some days are good driving days and some are bad. Don’t let the bad ones discourage you. Chalk it up to a “bad driving day” and move on knowing that next time could be perfectly fine.

      3) Don’t worry if you don’t pass the first time. I think I failed at least 3 or 4 times (I lost count over the years), for a variety of reasons, some of which were not my fault. It was frustrating, yes, but I just forced myself to keep trying. Eventually I got there!

      4) Once you get your license, you can determine the parameters around which you drive. Right now, I am not comfortable on freeways, so I don’t take them. I also try to avoid driving at night. Maybe one day I will be more comfortable with both of those activities, but for now no one can force me to do them. It eases my anxiety to know that I don’t have to do anything I don’t feel comfortable doing.

      Good luck to you, and keep me posted!

  9. I have just been diagnosed with Nystagmus and would like to carry on driving.It does not affect my vision when driving, only when I am in places such as supermarkets and libraries constantly moving my head around. I would happily take my driving test again if necessary.

  10. Pingback: Nystagmus and Driving | The Shifty Eyes Blog

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