Student Artist Drue Collins Wants to Use Art Therapy to Help Others

May 21, 2020

A Student Living with Vision Loss

Drue Valley Collins is a recent graduate from Western Kentucky University. She is warm and beaming as she recounts her journey with eSight and how the medical device helped her achieve her personal and professional goals. Drue majored in psychological science with a minor in studio art, with the intention of going to graduate school soon to get her master’s degree in art therapy. 

“Art has helped me my whole life with my anxiety and I just want to show others the benefit of doing art and how it can help them.” – Drue Collins

News Feature: ABC news affiliates shared Drue Collins’ story of how she uses eSight to create visual art, and her aspirations of becoming an art therapist. Learn more about Drue’s inspiring story as covered on TV.

Drue was born with optic nerve hypoplasia since birth. Without eSight, she describes how she has poor lower and side peripheral vision, and how the majority of her vision comes from her right eye. She remarks that, “Since I grew up this way, I didn’t know any different.” She grew up accustomed that everyone else her age would be able to do things that she would not have access to, such as driving or seeing what was on the board without having to ask.

Drue is wearing her graduation gown and hat while wearing her eSight 3. She is holding briefcase with the words, "eSight" on it. Drue grinning proudly at the camera with her eSight 3 on.

Discovering eSight

Although she still may not be able to drive now, she explains how finding out about eSight permanently changed her life for the better. Before eSight, she was using a binocular and a magnifier but she found these tools slow and frustrating, especially when trying to take notes in class. She began perusing online for a tool that would help her see better, and although she came across eSight, she found that it was out of her price range. She continued to browse the website over the next few months until she noticed someone featured on the page who also had optic nerve hypoplasia.

Trying eSight

Seeing that the product could possibly work for her as well, she took that opportunity to tell her family about eSight, and flew to Dallas, Texas with her aunt to try it out for herself. “I loved them,” she exclaims, “I was excited and emotional because I never really thought it was possible to see that well. I didn’t know what I was missing.” With eSight, Drue was able to see every detail of her aunt’s face clearly from across the room. An eye chart demonstration showed that her vision improved to an astounding 20/20. 

Fundraising for eSight

When they returned from Texas, an eSight representative helped Drue set up a GoFundMe and her community all pitched in to help her get the glasses. Drue recounts how she was touched when her mom put out a little donation jar at the restaurant she worked at, and even people who did not personally know Drue decided to donate.

Using eSight Today

Drue has now experienced eSight in two different iterations and considers herself a veteran user, having used eSight since 2014. Drue describes how eSight has helped her see the board in university, the textbooks when she’s studying, her friends from across the street, and even models in her drawing classes. 

Helping Others Through Art Therapy

In fact, Drue’s favourite type of art is drawing, although she has also been creating beautiful ceramic pieces recently.

Drue's charcoal drawing of herself and her guide dog.

Drue’s charcoal drawing of herself and her guide dog.

She wants to do art therapy for her career because she explains that, “art has helped me my whole life with my anxiety and I just want to show others the benefit of doing art and how it can help them.” Smiling, she describes how, “I just really want to help people, it’s always something I’ve really loved to do – just helping others the best I can.”

Did you enjoy reading about Drue’s story? Read more about another student who created emergency masks and ventilators for his local hospital during this crisis.