eSight provides life-changing experience for the blind
What was once just a blur is now clear for the first time. It’s called eSight. It won’t work for people who are completely blind, but for those who have low vision it can provide a life- changing experience.
Eleven-year-old Emily Anderson is legally blind, but she can see her best friend Emmy for the first time with the help of eSight, electronic glasses. They use a high speed camera to magnify and clarify images that were just blurs before.
Emily said, “I’ve just always wanted to see normal and I’ve always imagined it, so I just felt really, really, really happy, more happy than I’ve ever felt in my life.”
Registered with the FDA, eSight is a breakthrough for people of all ages who control two screens which can zoom in, freeze, and stabilize images.
Alexandra Dalimonte, outreach coordinator for eSight explained, “As long as they have peripheral vision we’re able to use that to almost overstep the blind spot. We can fill in that gap that their natural sight can’t see anymore.”
ESight restores sight for three out of four people with macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, Stargard’s disease and some forms of glaucoma.
“It made me feel confident and brave, and not feeling like I was going to trip or fall,” said Emily.
Emily’s mother Kami Anderson said, “She’s proved time and time again that she can do whatever she puts her little mind to, but I just think it will be a little bit easier.”
ESight will cost Emily’s family $15,000, but they say it is worth it.
“I’m pretty determined to show the world what I’m going to do,” detailed Emily.
ESight is a Canadian company. The Canadian National Institute for the Blind said the effect this technology can have on people with vision loss is remarkable. More than 600 people across North America are using the technology.
BACKGROUND: About 300 million people in the world are considered visually impaired, or blind. Blindness is defined as lack of vision. It can also refer to a loss of vision that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. It can happen suddenly or over a period of time. Complete blindness is defined as someone not being able to see anything and may include not being able to see light. Partial blindness means someone has very limited vision. In the United States, a person who is legally blind is described as having vision that is worse than 20/200 with glasses or contact lenses.
CAUSES: Eyes are very complex organs and there are many eye conditions that can cause legal blindness or low vision. The leading causes of blindness in the United States include accidents or injuries to the surface of the eye such as chemical burns or sports injuries, diabetes, glaucoma and macular degeneration. Depending on the cause, the type of partial vision loss may differ. Vision may be cloudy or fuzzy, and bright light may cause glare for people with cataracts. For diabetics, vision may be blurred and there may be shadows or missing areas of vision. They may also experience difficulty seeing at night. For people who have glaucoma, there may be tunnel vision and missing areas of vision. For macular degeneration, the side vision is normal but the central vision is slowly lost.
NEW TECHNOLOGY: ESight are electronic glasses that let people with vision loss see again. They are wearable, hands-free headsets that house a small, high-speed camera that captures everything the user is looking at. The captured live video stream is sent to a computer that uses software to process each pixel of video captured by the camera. The video is then sent back to the headset and displayed on two screens in front of the user's eyes in real-time. ESight can work for people who have low vision, which includes those who are legally blind, but won't work for people who are completely blind. The electronic glasses are capable of restoring sight for three out of every four people with low vision who try the glasses out. The user can instantly switch from near vision to midrange vision to long range vision. Users can also adjust color, contrast, brightness and magnification (up to 14X) and even take and store pictures.