- Title: Headset helps the legally blind see nearly 20/20
- Date: 22nd May 2017
- Summary: TORONTO, CANADA (RECENT - MAY 16, 2017) (REUTERS VIA SKYPE) (SOUNDBITE) (English) â€ŽDIRECTOR OF MARKETING AT ESIGHT EYEWEAR, JEFFREY FENTON, SAYING: "eSight houses a camera in the front of the device. It captures what is in front of a legally blind user. The device will then instantly enhance that footage. It will enhance it into a format that is, what I would say, palatable for the visually impaired or legally blind eyes. The device is almost bombarding the eyes with so much information to send to the brain through the eye that it can present them with a picture that is pretty much what you would see or I would see. It is a true wearable breakthrough for those who are living with vision loss."
- Embargoed: 5th June 2017 23:07
- Keywords: sight-aid headset Marquez blinded in stabbing 20/20 vision eSight glasses Julissa Marquez
- Location: NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES / TORONTO, CANADA / INTERNET / UNIDENTIFIED LOCATION
- City: NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES / TORONTO, CANADA / INTERNET / UNIDENTIFIED LOCATION
- Country: USA
- Topics: Science
- Reuters ID: LVA0056HX9PWB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: FOR SKYPE INTERVIEW, VIDEO AND AUDIO AS INCOMING
More than three years ago, Julissa Marquez was rendered blind from a near fatal stabbing. Doctors said she would never see again. Today, with help from a team of doctors at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai and electronic glasses, Marquez's vision is nearly 20/20.
Marquez began using the eSight electronic glasses in October, which made her eyesight go from legally blind to in focus.
"I get to see everything a lot more clearer. It's not so blurry and I see more of the colors, they're a little more brighter," Marquez said.
When asked how it felt when she put the eSight glasses on for the first time?
"Oh my gosh it was amazing. Like it really was amazing. I got to see my sister's face nice and clear from when this first happened," she said.
Marquez said the eSight glasses still take getting used to because the magnification can at times be overwhelming for her eyes.
"I had to get used to it," she said. "And from there I started doing the watching of the TV, looking out the window. And like, just going outside, sitting on the bench, you know like just looking around, trying to get used to the camera to focus, and then you know, little by little starting to walk like just short distance, because that I haven't mastered yet."
Dr. Ronald Gentile, retina surgeon at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai, and his team of doctors were able to restore the retina in her right eye after the stabbing in December, 2013. Her optic nerve in her left eye was severed so it gave her little potential to see.
Marquez's retina was detached and crumpled in the back of her right eye. Gentile and his team were able to put the retina back into place and restore her vision, although she's still legally blind.
"Her ocular trauma score only gave her about a 3 percent chance of having useful vision," Gentile said. "We've definitely surpassed that in terms of her prognosis, not only from the surgery that we did but also using technology to actually get her to see better. So it's the surgical techniques, the advancements in the surgical techniques that we have today, in addition to technology that she's using with these electronic glasses to give her better functioning. And I just see her future even brighter and brighter."
Wearing regular glasses now, Marquez's vision is 20/200, which basically means she can see at 20 feet what a person with perfect vision can see at 200 feet.
"With the eSight glasses, with her magnification, she's able to get to the 20/20 line," Gentile said. "But we don't like to use that as 20/20 because that's without magnification. I sort of look at vision in terms of how it improves her functioning. So we have people with very good vision that aren't functioning very well. We have people with poor vision that function very well. What she does is she takes the information that she has and she makes the most of it."
In December, 2013, Marquez's boyfriend Miguel Cordero showed up at her home completely naked and said he wanted to kill her then 12-year-old son. She called her pastor to get Cordero but he forced his way in. Marquez threw herself in front of Cordero and told her son to lock himself inside his room.
"He grabbed one of my 12-inch knives and basically just started hacking away and my first stab wound was literally to my left eye," she said. "He ruptured my eye and basically just kept going from there. Altogether it was counted that I had 30 stab wounds. I lost the left vision right away once it was stabbed. And in the middle of the attack, I lost vision from my right eye. He was strangling me, asking me you know like, why didn't I die yet. And it wasn't my time. I always tell people it wasn't my time."
Instead of feeling her 16-year-old son's face, she can now see him clearly with the help of the eSight glasses.
"He actually has so much facial hair now, he has to go to the barber shop, you know, to get cleaned up," Marquez said. "But no, he's changing, he's gotten so tall, a lot taller than me now. I get to see my son, you know like, I'm going to see him graduate. I'm going to you know, get to see my grandchildren. That's something huge for me because I love my child. He's my life, he's my world, he's everything. Which was one of the reasons why I was actually crushed when this first happened because I figured, am I going to be a half a mom? In the beginning. And now even without the eSight glasses it was like you know what? No. I keep living you know? I keep going. But with my corrective glasses I'm still doing awesome, with the eSight glasses, you know, even more awesome, like, what more can I ask for? You know? I can't ask for anything better. Life is just as good let's just say even if I did have my vision and you make the best of it."
Engineer and founder of eSight Eyewear, Conrad Lewis, has two sisters who are legally blind. Lewis founded the company in 2006 to help them and other legally blind people see clearly.
"eSight houses a camera in the front of the device. It captures what is in front of a legally blind user. The device will then instantly enhance that footage. It will enhance it into a format that is, what I would say, palatable for the visually impaired or legally blind eyes. The device is almost bombarding the eyes with so much information to send to the brain through the eye that it can present them with a picture that is pretty much what you would see or I would see. It is a true wearable breakthrough for those who are living with vision loss," said Jeffrey Fenton, director of marketing at eSight Eyewear.
The latest generation of the eSight glasses go for $9,995 (USD).
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