So many of us take being able to see for granted. Because we have been able to do it all our lives, we don’t think much of it. The most we probably think about our eyes is when we get something stuck in them. We just rub our eyes and wash them with a little bit of water. After this, we’re good to go. For people who have been blind for quite a while, they would give anything to have their sight back.
When having this type of disability, one tends to think what is worst, going blind or being born blind? For people who are born blind, they have a head-start on the latter. They’ve had all their lives to be able to adapt to life in the dark. This is pretty much everything they know. They have been to special schools and have learned their way around the world. They have no knowledge of people’s faces or colors.
For people who have gone blind, I think it’s been much more difficult. They already know how it is out there. They have gotten to play outdoors, watch a beautiful sunset and feast their eyes in a wide array of colors. When they go blind, they must make many adjustments and they must make them fast. They are used to going about their day based on distances.
They need to count steps to see where they are. I’ve tried this myself a couple of times. Getting around my house with my eyes closed has been both difficult and painful. I have run into several walls of the house and doors as well. When I think I know where I’m at after taking a few steps, I open my eyes only to realize that I’m somewhere else.
For people with Stargardt’s disease, this becomes a very difficult process. Stargardt’s disease affects the retina. Everything in the middle gets blurry and the person can only see the far ends of each side. This makes it extremely difficult for them to be able to see what’s in front of them. Gene is one of these men affected with the disease. He met his wife in a very funny an unorthodox way. Joy would keep seeing Gene every day walking in the park. She would wave at him even when he was close by, only to be ignored by him. One day, she asks him what’s going on. That’s when she learns he is legally blind.
Nevertheless, they start to see each other and they have been together ever since. One day, joy watches an episode of Rachel Ray and sees a girl with the same condition as her husband. She gets a pair of glasses and can finally see. She contacts the show to get in touch with the creator of such a wonderful invention. It’s a pair of glasses which have two tiny cameras that record video and then play it on HD screens. These screens are custom built. The patient is then able to see what is in front of him. Rachel Ray sets up a meeting and features them on the show. The look on Gene’s face when he’s able to see his family is priceless!