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Kerryb

Quadrantanopia

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I've just spoken to the William Merrit Centre and they were very helpful and confirmed that they would be happy to see me for a driving assessment but that they currently have a waiting list of 3 months!!!

 

Given I'm hopeful that the DVLA will have actually made a decision about me in the next month or so (even if they subsequently do take away my licence :() I've decided to hold off from booking an assessment. However, it sounds like they are definitely a very useful contact for anyone out there looking to return to driving with a degree of peripheral vision loss.

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I'd still book in for a test, at least if they think your visual test is borderline you will have the practical evidence that you are able to drive (if you pass). They told me even if I cancelled the day before they would refund me the money. I also asked to be put on a cancellation list, they told me 3 months but it was seen in about 5 weeks because there had been a cancellation. Try and get as much evidence as possible to send to dvla. Hope this helps, good luck I know how you feel it's awful they put you through this for so long. X

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Hello again Kerry,

After my SAH the opthalmologist said I had a full left side out. After getting home and actually realising I had some vision missing I "tested" myself on a regular basis. ( over and over every day :roll:). When I eventually got my next consultation with them I immediately told them I thought this need updated to quadrantanopia. They agreed to that as soon as the field test was over.

 

I hope this is uplifting info for you and that yours will improve in time.

I should say however that now, after having been refused my licence on my last application, I have recently tried the field test Chloe sent on her link.( I admit to trying to fool them in the hospital tests ). While testing online I decided to be true to myself and not try to cheat. Unfortunately it looked like the hemianopia diagnosis may have been right after all. :frown::frown:

 

So great you've got your licence back though. It gives me hope for my next try.

Take care

Sally x

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My vision improved slightly over 6 months but I think it has slowed down now. Some people say the virtual part of your brain can't repair but I know of someone who had slight recover 18 months after his stroke so I'm still holding out hope xx

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Any recovery is specific to each individual. I know of people who are still recovering many years later, albeit extremely slowly but it is there. They will never be back to how they were pre stroke but are improving. Much is down to how much effort the individual puts into trying to recover, mentally as well as physically. That is not saying that it won't come to a halt sometime.

 

On the other hand I know of someone who has made little effort to improve their recovery chances and so has made no progress whatsoever. Their favourite saying is "I can't" which really annoys me as I know they make no effort at all.

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Just to add, I saw a new doctor on Tuesday after being referred to this neuro-ophthalmology team in Oxford by my own ophthalmologist. The main consultant in this team is very into neuro-ophthalmology research, including regaining vision after nerve damage in the brain.

 

Sadly I don't meet the requirements to be involved in any of their research (I was told by the consultant's registrar that my vision is too good and they are only including people with hemianopia). However, he told me that whether nerves can heal or not is still very much anyone's guess. He confirmed that whilst some studies have found evidence to suggest that damaged nerves in the occipital lobe can sometimes re-generate/heal at the moment there has not been anything conclusive.

 

He couldn't give me any advice on what I could do to potentially aid the process, because currently there hasn't been enough evidence to support any particular treatments/approaches. He also confirmed that from his experience most recovery (if it is going to happen) will occur within the first 6 months. This team are at the forefront of stroke research so when he says that everything is still unknown, I think they are as good as anyone to believe!

 

He did however say that in his experience most people with quadrantanopia adapt very well to their vision loss (my experience so far agrees with that!) and that whilst most patients initially have their driving licence taken away, he is aware of many getting them back. He advised that you need to wait until at least 6 months have passed (though I noticed online that the DVLA website says 12 months).

 

Then he advised getting any of your consultants (though he recommended your neurologist in particular), writing a letter to the DVLA saying that s/he was happy to confirm that the cause of your vision loss was not an ongoing concern (i.e., yes you had a haemorrhage, but you're at no greater risk of having another one than anyone else) and that your vision was not going to deteriorate further.

 

Following this evidence being submitted to the DVLA they should invite you for a driving assessment, which in his case most people with only quadrantanopia (sadly not hemianopia) usually pass fine, and then the DVLA usually grant you your licence back. This was pretty much what I had read on the DVLA's website but it was nice to hear first hand how the process works from a medical professional who had successfully helped patients regain their licence.

 

In the meantime I'm still waiting for the DVLA's decision, but my 6month mark will be in May, so after that I will certainly see if I can get the DVLA to refer me direct for a driving assessment.

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Thank you for letting me know what they said. That's the thing with Vision it's a guessing game and there are no exercises etc that you can do to help you recover!! Well I hope dvla say a big fat yes to driving for you!! I have my fingers crossed for you, I know how important it is for your freedom xx

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I have a left inferior quadrantanopia after a SAH caused by anAVM in July 2013. I was told it was likely I would never drive again but having full adapted to my vision working in a busy job and looking after my toddler I looked into in more detail. I have now re applied with the support of my neuro opthamologist and am waiting to hear back from the DVLA to see if I can sit a test. Reading your posts in regards to people with my condition getting their icience back fills me with hope so thank you and I'll let you know how I go x

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Hi everyone got my licience back a couple of months ago it took about 2 years all in and I needed to write to the DVLA a few times as there was confusion over the exceptional case procedure but it was all worth it in the end x don't give up if you feel you can do it !!!x

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Brilliant Lynn. Well done. We know how much getting travel independence means. 

 

My advice after getting the license back is to build up distances and time in car gradually if you can and after drives make sure you take some time in the early days to just sit a while in arrival and let yourself settle before launching into anything else. Think of it as a little rest interlude To help the day along. ?

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Reading this with interest. My husband had a clot in the left part of his brain resulting in loss of vision in January this year. Thankfully he has remained well but of course is unable to drive.

 

By a quirk of fate my daughter knew of a centre in Durham that practices ' syntonics '. My husband signed up for the treatment and it has improved his vision very significantly. He is a bit like you hoofbeat with some central parts missing. Its not been a year yet but he is interested in getting back to driving again . He did all the long distance stuff and if he does get back to it I'm going to insist we share it.

 

Did you get your licence back hoofbeat ?

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Any update from Hoofbeat on this. I am a newbie here and had my licence revoked (due to right peripheral vision lost, quadrantanopia) in November 2016. It's like having my life blood cut off. I take an annual holiday each year with pals driving in the mountains of Europe. No more it seems! Well, perhaps until the year is up and I can be retested.

 

I have found no great improvement since the stroke on 26th Sept 2016 so presume any improvement will happen very slowly, if at all. I had no signs of having a stroke; just a headache and loss of periphery vision. No movement or coordination issues so anyone looking at me would not have known at all!

 

It would be good to hear whether  Hoofbeat ever got her licence back as her situation seems closest to mine.

 

Johnnie M

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Welcome to BTG Johnnie, unfortunately Hoofbeat hasn't been back on the site since 2014 but other members may be able to help with your query.

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Thanks Super! It's a shame that they didn't keep people informed of their own progress. Perhaps she got her licence back and life is not revolving around when she might get her licence back any more?  Whatever, it would be great to have a conclusion.

 

JM

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Well we know Lynmac got hers/his  back xx

 

So it took a while but they got it back xx

 

Be Well

 

Win xxxx

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I am wondering whether Kerryb is still around on this forum? You seemed to have got your licence back in just over one year. May I ask whether this was the result of getting back to pretty clear vision or was it via a driving test after DVLA cleared you on all the other criteria for an exceptional circumstance? I realise that you did have a test early on but maybe you had a test later that ended up you getting your licence back?

 

Anyone else with quadrantanopia that got their licence back on the 'exceptional circumstances' remit from DVLA? I am over six months from my occipital stroke I can't recognise any great improvement but would easily pass the criteria set by the DVLA to be allowed to take a driving test. The loss of sight, in my case, feels pretty minimal and is having barely any effect on my existence. I would be a more confident driver than my wife I think!

 

Anyone here been cleared to take a DVLA test as an exceptional circumstance?

 

Hoping for good news as I can't bear not being able to drive!

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Kerryb has not been on the site for 3 years now.

Someone else may come along who can help you with your question.

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Hi Johnnie, sorry to hear you're a fellow sufferer of peripheral vision loss and apologies for not replying sooner! As one of the previous posters said, I haven't actually been back on this site for a long time and didn't see this until I got a nudge from one of the admins :)

 

The good news is that after a very long battle I did manage to get my driving licence back and for me life has returned to pretty much normal, so Johnnie don't lose hope just yet.

 

I still have a blind spot on my RHS in my peripheral vision (no improvement since about 6months post the bleed) and officially I do not meet the minimum visual field standards for driving. As a result, the DVLA officially revoked my driving licence in April 2014 (after the bleed in Nov 2013).

 

My neurologist was supportive of me trying to get my licence back - he believed that as it was a haemorrhagic stroke likely to have been caused by a blood vessel malformation (though this has can never be proved) that it was a one-off occurrence and he felt I was at no risk of having a bleed again and he was happy to confirm this to the DVLA.

 

My ophthalmologist was also supportive as she felt that my visual field was 'stable' and would not deteriorate further and in fact was likely to improve; she therefore wrote a letter of support for me driving again. I also under went neuro-psychology testing which confirmed that everything was working from a functional point of view and that my observational skills and general mental capacity were fine.

 

In Sept 2014 (about 8 weeks before my one year anniversary as they will not consider giving you the licence back until after at least 12 months but there website says you can reapply a few weeks before the 1 year) I wrote to the DVLA explaining that I felt that despite my vision loss I would like to apply for re-evaluation based on the fact that I had adapted to my vision loss

 

(I forget the exact reference now in the legal wording, but there is some EU legislation mentioned in all the DVLA medical documents which says you can do this) and sent off letters of support from all of my consultants. The DVLA wrote back saying that they would consider my case, but I could not drive during that time still.

 

In March/April 2015 the DVLA invited me to sit a practical driving test via a disabled driving centre. This was not the same as a learner's test and involved me driving a car around with two examiners in the vehicle and being assessed for how 'safe' I was and how observant. I had to do things like tell them how many roadsigns I saw along a stretch of road and was asked to keep driving down a road until I saw a specific street sign and then turn down that street etc.

 

I didn't have to show that I could park/emergency stop etc, but it was a general driving assessment. I could choose whether to drive a manual or automatic and was warned that based on what I drove, the DVLA might only grant me a specific licence.

 

I originally learnt in a manual but had only driven an automatic for a number of years so I chose to do the assessment in an automatic as I didn't want to not get my licence back because I'd stalled or something (and I'd have rather been given an automatic only driving licence than none at all!).

 

The assessment went fine and the two examiners told me that they felt that I was safe to drive and their recommendation to the DVLA would be that I should be given my licence back. They did however warn me that even though that was their findings this did NOT guarantee I would get my licence back (they said they had still had people denied by the DVLA).

 

After what felt like an eternity, sometime in May after speaking to the DVLA on the phone while at work (they are so slow to post stuff out, so do hassle them on the phone) they told me that I had been given my full manual driving licence back with no special conditions attached, i.e., my licence was fully valid until I was 70 (standard practice in the UK) and I would not need reassessing at any point. 

 

They confirmed my licence was immediately valid and I could drive straight away, even before the licence arrived in the post.

 

I didn't quite believe them, but the DVLA website had an online facility and using that I could see that I was legally allowed to drive! Rang my insurers straight away and they were happy to reinsure me (no questions asked and no increase in the premium) and that very evening I went out for a drive with my husband! The very next morning I drove myself to work as if it had never happened and a few days later my licence arrived in the post.

 

I've been happily driving ever since May 2015 (which is great as I now have a baby too and it would have been so difficult not being able to drive).

 

To anyone reading this with peripheral vision loss, my advice is not to give up hope. It may be a very long battle to get it back (it took me 18 months) and there is a chance the DVLA may still decide you can't have your licence, but do your very best to keep fighting. While you can't drive, keep your eye in by always thinking like a driver when you're a passenger in the car - I used to think 'did I see that car?', 'Would I have seen that cyclist when I pulled out?' and get used to your vision loss as much as you can and try to adapt.

 

Get good at scanning your eyes around constantly so you never miss something which was in your blind spot when you just looked ahead. Even now I'm cautious when I'm driving and I'm always scanning the road to see if I missed a vehicle, cyclist etc and I'm sure that skill is what helped me get my licence back.

 

Good luck and keep fighting.

 

ETS: While you can't drive, you can apply for a free local bus pass through your council using the DVLA letter that says you've had your licence revoked due to medical conditions. This allows for free bus travel after 9/9:30am and I found this invaluable. I used to take really slow local buses everywhere and would plan my entire day around one of only a couple of local buses that ran each day! I also used to cycle/walk everywhere and beg friends/family for free lifts!

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Hey Hoofbeat

 

Thanks for looking in and replying - this will no doubt have helped Johnnie immensely.

 

Whilst I'm hear congratulations on 1. getting your licence back and 2. having a baby.

 

Lovely to hear from you and again, thank you so much for popping on and giving some advice and guidance xx

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Hi Hoofbeat! Many congrats, firstly on getting your licence back and secondly on your firstborn! Parenthood is a joy! And thank you so much for your fulsome response. I feel so certain that I could drive as well as anyone (better than some!) that I just couldn't even countenance the possibility of not driving again. I may not be confident to blat around the mountains and passes of Europe like I have for so many years but getting out and enjoying some 'me' time with my car seems now to be a possibility!

 

I have so many questions about the actual test but that can wait as I have a few hoops to jump though yet. My 'episode' was on 26th Sept 2016 so I guess I could start the process in middle of August 2017? I am seeing a Neuro Opthalmologist from NHS on 25th this month (first visit) so I shall see what their view is on my vision and get an update from my Esterman test taken last October (after which DVLA revoked my licence).

 

If they are not sufficiently helpful I shall bring out the big guns and go private if necessary. I always felt that the NHS was as good as one can get but this may be a different scenario! It's all about the licence now!
 

Many thanks again for your help and I shall be sure to update you as time goes by. Some time to go yet though; hope was all I needed. x

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Hi Johnnie

 

Yes, I think you could reapply in August this year. I think it's still an 8 week rule that applies:

https://www.gov.uk/reapply-driving-licence-medical-condition

 

When contacting the DVLA I refenced the 'Exceptional Circumstances' given on the following page:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/visual-disorders-assessing-fitness-to-drive

 

I'd recommend getting your neurologist to confirm that whatever caused your visual field loss was an isolated event (I'm afraid I haven't read any of your previous posts so am not sure what the cause was of your stroke). My understanding is the DVLA need confirmation that the event is not going to happen again.

 

For me all my brain MRIs were clear so they could see that I had no other malformations and as no clot was ever found they knew it wasn't an ischemic stroke so there were no concerns about me having an increased risk of having a stroke in future. I suspect my age (in my late 20s at the time also helped). Unless you can provide evidence to the DVLA that you are not at an increased risk of it happening again I think they will be reluctant to consider you for a licence.

 

I did my test through:

 

http://www.rdac.co.uk/

 

But it was all organised by the DVLA. Feel free to contact them about information about the assessment - I can't remember many details other than what I already said in my pp. I just had to drive a dual carriageway, around various A & B roads, through a small town and then do the exercises they gave above. I was not allowed to practice in any vehicle before hand (I was sent a driving licence valid for one day only for the test and I had to hand it in at the end of my assessment).

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Thank you so much for the encouraging reply Hoofbeat my husband is going to look further into this

I've just had a 5 hour drive from Worcester today and I'm knickered. 

Its been 15 months for him!

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Thanks for so much information Hoofbeat. You are a marvel! I shall fixate on the test and have plans to start the process at the end of July, in accordance with the DVLA rules. First hurdle is the meeting I have with the Neuro Opthalmologist later this month. I hope that they are used to people asking them what it is we have to do to get the right tests to be seen as an exceptional circumstance by the DVLA!

 

For background information, I had a left occipital ischemic stroke with haemorraghic transformation in Sept 2016 and was left only with right inferior quadrantanopia. Long words eh!
 

All the best...

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