Electronic glasses might sound like something out of a science fiction movie, but they’re very real – and they are helping legally blind individuals to see. In the case of Canadian Kathy Bleitz, the glasses allowed her to see her newborn baby. Bleitz has been legally blind since the age of 11.
The amazing new technology, called eSight, works like a headset. The lens frames are complete with a high-definition camera that projects video footage onto diode screens that emit light. The user can play with a variety of adjustable settings through the remote-like processing unit, like a 14-times zoom, contrast enhancement and reverse color display to enhance the image in real time.
For those like Bleitz who are legally blind, eSight is an amazing development. Bleitz suffers from Stargardt disease, which causes highly limited vision in the central part of the retina. In the brain of the legally blind, the eye does not receive adequate signals to be able to recognize what he or she is looking at. Vision is usually blurry, with blind spots and low contrast. eSight works to improve and sometimes eliminate the barriers to perfect sight through triggering increased reaction from cells in the eye.
The technology is versatile, too. Users can keep the electronic glasses on while they play sports, go on walks or take flights. While eSight isn’t approved for operating automobiles yet, the company indicates that it should be in the near future.
While the technology is new to many ophthalmologists, clinicians who have explored eSight have embraced it as a wonderful tool for the legally blind. At the moment, the eSight team is putting together the results of a clinical study which was carried out with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. The results of that study should provide more insight into how legally blind individuals can achieve significant improvements using the electronic glasses.
With a price tag of $15,000, it’s not exactly accessible just yet. As eSight further develops its product, it will be seeking ways to bring the cost down and potentially change the lives of millions of people.
Photo Credit: eSight