Technology: ESight

Hello to all of my beautiful nerds traveling the vast universe! I am back with another Assistive Tech Post!

ESight

I bet you’re wondering, “What is ESight?” Well, it is a pair of glasses that has a camera that is attached to them and what it does it tries to give someone who has lost some sight regain some of it back to be able to see in front of them again. This was developed in Canada a few years back and well Momma Gondras saw it on Rachael Ray and saw someone was able to see with these glasses and they were talking about how it worked for them. I have met people that has tried these glasses out and one person it didn’t work out for them while the other it did. Reason why I am writing about it here is because I tried them today.

How I Got Onto the List? Well, like most places there is a waiting list for this thing due to how long of a list to demo these glasses can be a high demand. I want to tell you a little bit about my past before I got onto this list.

When I got diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, I wanted to find ways of seeing again since I was an artist and well you know makeup has been a new creative outlook for me and still wanted to find ways of seeing again and able to draw again. Not only that drive too since my dream car is still a VW Beetle in blue, either the old Herby model or the newer ones since I am not picky. Anyways, I always saw an eye specialist in Miami and he was helping me with research in getting something to help me see again but as time went on my hopes kind of stalled out since I was getting comfortable with my visual impairment even before getting my job as an Adaptive Tech Instructor. That was when Momma Gondras came in last year and it was during Irma hitting. I told her my plans in being a tech instructor since it is a field that they need more people in and volunteering at the middle school I used to go to was helping me get over some hurdles that I have noticed during my work experience and she was asking me about job related stuff and it was hard for me to answer to tell you truth. Heck, I wanted to go back to school even for my Grad Certificate for Adaptive Tech. After that, I learned that I shouldn’t share my dreams with the future-in-law if they don’t share the same ideas or aspirations as you. Apparently, there were things and said and done which was that Gondras put me on the waiting list for ESight. I was surprised by that because I wasn’t expecting it due to how skeptical we felt about it and will get to that.
Why Were We Skeptical? Now! I and Gondras were skeptical about this device because we didn’t get that much information through the website and that is why I don’t feel like posting the link, best to Google search for yourself. Most websites that talk about tech items do talk about the specs of the item, what it is exactly and so on. For example, I will use Apple for this. For a lot of their products they talk about how big their Mac Books or even their IPads, heck the newer IPhones with the height and width, what the camera is like, Siri of course, and the latest I OS that will be coming with the device and what else can be done with that particular product. With the ESight website, on the other hand, the information is repetitive, not too much to talk about even with pricing, and doesn’t give success stories if it has worked for a lot of people.

What even has me more worrisome is that it lists off different eye conditions that it can help but the issue is that people have different types of an eye condition and the degree of sight can change over time, which I will tell my experience with this device next due to my degree of vision. Plus, an eye condition can take place at any time in life, like me with getting my condition in high school for example and going blind at twenty-three. Not only have that, depending on the amount of sighted loss it can be tough to regain which I will tell you my experience now!

My Experience with These Glasses! Trust me, I was really not looking forward to this demo since I did take the day to do it due to how bad traffic can get between Daytona and Orlando, especially the part of town it was taking place. I felt a bit off with the address first, but let me start with the call though. I was working on my Chrome Book when I got the call and the person was very friendly and told me that he was from ESight and explained things that looking back at the website now was not mentioned there. A little red flag right there! Oh yes, the Red Flag Kitties were there waving their little flags! I had a feeling if I turned them down I wouldn’t be left alone without guilt after waiting on the list since 2017 after Irma. Got to talking more and got some pricing, which looking at the website, another Red Flag Kitty pops up because he mentioned the prices and how low it has gotten and I remembered the fundraising option if it did work. This device was originally $10,000 which is more than the Braille Note Touch and the Braille Sense Polaris on their own own. Even though they dropped the price it would have taken most of my pay and have me eating ramen for the next few months and probably skip more conventions and probably makeup re-stocking. And not only that, there was a home trial but it is a risk to take because if these didn’t work you lose $500. For anyone who wants to try these you are getting some warning while reading this and I care. I even almost had a major spit take with the home trial option.

So, fast forward to today. Getting to Orlando was a breeze even though there was some traffic on Sand Lake which the address that was given was at an office building that felt like in the middle of nowhere. I have gone to similar buildings but they did have names when it came to job interviews but this was kind of weird in a way since I didn’t know where I was going and I remembered that one guy I used to know had his demo at a hotel. I think it would have been better if it was in a place that is well-known like an office inside of a mall or at a doctor’s office, heck even at one of the Lighthouse locations would have been nice since that was mentioned during my demo. Getting into the building was even more of a pain because the elevator in the parking garage was a freight even though we were able to get to the basement level, yes it has one of those, and the stairs were leading to doors either private or there was no exit on the floor I was supposed to be on. I am not kidding, I felt like I was in a bad Escher painting. With my experiences being at my dad’s doctors or other parts of Orlando with parking garages with office buildings at least I could get in and out without a problem. Anyways, so we got in and was seen pretty quickly.

So, it started off telling the salesman about myself, my degree of vision, and he did explain what the glasses were, what the camera does, and that it doesn’t work for everyone, oh right also get to adjust the glasses if need be with a remote that is attached. He also had me try and see one of those eye charts we always get tested on. I admitted I only saw his arm holding it not the card since I can only see in my peripheral which brings up another red flag which I will get to the next point of the story. So, the glasses felt like standard blind man glasses as in sunglasses with a camera attached and there was a strap to hold them on. The strap felt like a tourniquet. I know it’s supposed to be adjustable but I felt my head getting tighter despite the adjustment and. So, he had me try to see my dad with these on and unfortunately I couldn’t. My dad did not appear clearly which they were supposed to. So, this brings up that one Red Flag Kitty which the person on the phone explained that with my RP versus the standard that it can be worked with the camera versus the tunnel vision standard. With the demo it shows that it didn’t! The guy in the room did say reason why it didn’t work on me is due to the lack of natural vision that is left in my peripherals and I can see why.

How I went blind was an interesting tidbit which I will share here. When I was trying to draw something a few days after designing my first costume on paper, I noticed my right eye turning. It was like a hurricane on a weather map and knew that I lost my right eye and then a year or so after my left eye followed and yes I may still have some vision in my peripheral like a flounder but not enough for these glasses. I am taking Anatomy of the Human Eye I and I learned so far that not all eye conditions are the same even with mine. I have met people in the past that are going through RP but different versions even different ways with the same thing as mine. These people working on ESight feel to me, well mostly to my dad, is that they are just there to sell the product. Plus, Gondras did bring up that it feels like a VR set that is not made to fit a certain degree of vision that a person may have and should make the tech help for those different degrees of sight loss and I agree with him. I did tell him that we were right about not working but at least I did try it for free rather than shelling out major cash. Even my dad asked if we had to pay up front. It can happen with some places.

Final Thoughts: Even though the glasses didn’t work one me doesn’t mean it won’t work for anyone but I would say is that think before signing up for a demo because the website is not a good place to check because the pages repeat the same information over and over and once you’re on the phone with someone or there at the demo that is where the true information is given.

I’m sorry but being a bit harsh here, also honest, but when looking for something like this you need more information, actual testimonials to see if it worked, and give the price tag on the website and any information about how to get the funds to pay for it. If it had worked for me, then I would have a Go Fund Me raise the money for one after hearing someone have this device work for them.

Another thing is, please don’t go in with hopes of it working. Technology works in different ways and can either work great or not for someone who tests that new toy. Just know that yes it is a possibility of seeing again but if it doesn’t work out then find a different avenue which I did appreciate the guy giving an alternative for something similar. And now looking at it, I am also thinking that the people who worked on this device should look more into eye diseases because not all of them work the same way, they get diagnosed differently and people have different ways of losing their sight due to that condition like I had. Not only that, get a better website because I feel it needs to show better information about the product and how it works and explain the tech better. Plus, the pricing which is the first question on a lot of people’s minds when going into something like this. Even when I tried confirming on their website, it did have a question, “If this does restore some residual vision, how much will you pay?” And gives you options from highest to lowest so that is why a price guide on the main website can help.

So yeah, if you’re thinking about having a demo, just look out for some things even with the website and if not, I understand!

Well, that is it for this experience. I know it was an interesting experience with the building I went to but I rather try this at a doctor’s office or at a Lighthouse knowing that I am in a safe and familiar environment. Plus, I feel as though that this device should be improved upon even with the website because of how many eye conditions can happen at any moment. Which I need to get back to that Human Eye class because I am learning a lot of stuff as time goes on.

That is it for this post. Sorry for a bit of a mishap but my Boxy Charm was not shipped yet so hoping to see if it will soon because I have seen some people on YouTube get theirs so far. Next up is one of our interviews from Holiday Matsuri! Stay tuned!

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