Stargardt’s is a cruel disease. It’s an inherited condition that gradually robs its victims of their eyesight. How quickly and in what ways vision deteriorates varies from person to person, but central vision is usually more badly affected than peripheral.
Gene Purdy was diagnosed with Stargardt’s disease when he was a teenager. Today he’s legally blind, with very little central vision. With great effort, he can use his remaining peripheral vision to see fragments of things. Still, he does his best to embrace life. One area where he excels is in the kitchen. As his wife Joy admits, recipes it would take her two hours to prepare he can do in 30 minutes. And speaking of his wife, the story of how they met is quite poignant. She would see him every day in a park and had taken to waving to him. He always walked right by as if he couldn’t see her. One day she finally stopped him and asked why he was ignoring her!
One day, Joy saw a segment on the Rachael Ray Show where a woman with Stargardt’s was kitted out with a high tech device (it looks almost like a virtual reality headset) that allowed her to see her sister’s face for the first time in years. The device takes images from its camera and processes them in such a way that what remains of the wearer’s vision is able to see the full image.
Joy wrote to the show asking how to get in touch with the company that makes the device. Soon, Joy, Gene, and their year-old son Lincoln were invited to appear on the show! As you’ll see in the video posted below, it was an emotional scene for everyone when Gene saw his wife and son’s faces for the first time. Previously he’d only seen small fragments, like pieces of a puzzle.
Amazed by this high tech wizardry and what it did for Gene and his family? Let’s hear from you in the Facebook comments. Don’t forget to like and share!