LUMBERTON, NC (WBTW) – Five blind and visually-impaired people can now see with the help of their new glasses from eSight.
eSight is a breakthrough technology that restores vision to people who are legally blind or visually-impaired. The Lumberton Lions Club, an organization that seeks to help blind and visually-impaired people, raised $50,000 to give away a pair of glasses to Miracle, Kyland, Lizzy, Cole and Artie.
The eSight candidates’ ages range from 7 to 57. The two youngest, Miracle and Kyland, have ocular albinism. Fourteen-year-old Cole has Heřmanský–Pudlák syndrome. Twelve-year-old Lizzy lost 85 percent of her eyesight when she was 8 years old after being shot in the head when a gun was accidentally discharged at home. Artie Stewart lost his vision 16 years ago at the age of 41 due to Diabetic Retinopathy.
After losing his vision to diabetes, Stewart is encouraging everyone to eat healthier, saying “somewhere down the road, you pay a price for it.” He says he remembers going to the barber shop one weekend and realized his vision was blurry. He says he went to the eye doctor that Monday and was told he was completely blind in one of his eyes and was rapidly losing sight in his other.
“You go to bed with very good vision and you wake up the next morning and you’re just about blind completely,” he said. Now that he can see again, with the assistance of eSight, Stewart says he is looking forward to seeing the Christmas lights this year, seeing his newborn grandsons for the first time, and finishing his degree at University of North Carolina at Pembroke. He also says he is excited about watching sporting events on television without complications.
“Enjoying football games, basketball games without having to ask ‘Who has the ball?’ ‘Was that a catch or a touchdown?’” he said.
Other eSight candidates told News13 what they’re most looking forward to now that they have regained or new vision. Lizzy is excited about reading her favorite books, such as ‘Goosebumps’ and ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid.’ Miracle’s mother, Suzanna Emanuel, says Miracle can’t wait to focus on her schoolwork and read her Bible. Emanuel says Miracle first tried on eSight glasses in August and that was the first time Miracle saw her.
“I cried. For me, the biggest thing is knowing she’s always been like this so she don’t realize what she was missing. For me, if I was to lose my vision right now, it would be hard. But that’s because I’ve always been able to see. For her, she didn’t realize what she was missing until that day when she was able to finally see,” Emanuel said. “I can tell when she looked at me, she had this big smile on her face. And when we left, she said ‘I’m ready to get my glasses so I can wear them to school and see my work and so I can read my Bible at home.”
David Cox of the Lumberton Lions Club says eSight glasses were named the top invention of the year. He says each pair comes with a remote control that can be used to zoom in and out, and help users adjust to their surroundings.
“So most visual-impaired people cannot see unless it’s really really close to their face and in big letters. So by them allowing them to zoom in, they don’t have to have it in front of them,” he said. “So now they can watch tv at a normal distance. They can go to the movies and zoom into that screen and they’ll be able to see it and not be right in front of it.”
Cox says the Lions Club is hoping to raise money to purchase more eSight glasses. He says fundraisers include state dinner sales, calendar sales, raffles, and donations. For more information, click here.