Vision loss can take many forms. Blindness is one of the most well-known, and it has a number of causes, but macular degeneration, Stargardt’s disease, and other conditions can lead to full blindness or progressive vision loss, such as blurry vision, the development of blind spots, and so on. Unfortunately, many of those conditions have few opportunities for treatment, but thanks to a company from Canada, there is a new option for the visually impaired that can help restore their sight.
Toronto-based eSight develops glasses that feature a forward-facing camera, which transmits images to two inner screens–one for each eye. The screens present images captured by the camera into the wearer’s peripheral vision so that legally blind or visually impaired people can see once again. eSight has enjoyed success with this approach because vision loss normally affects central vision, not peripheral vision, so the high-tech glasses simply allow the wearer to see images in the part of the eye where they still have visual function.
The device has several features that make it enticing and easy to use, such as its hands-free design, its lightweight, comfortable frame, and virtually zero lag time. In addition, according to the company’s website, eSight is one of the only “immersive” visually assistive devices that does not cause issues of imbalance or nausea, thus allowing its users to be fully mobile. It can also automatically focus on objects, which allows the wearer to seamlessly examine objects that are both near and far, and it includes the capability to manually zoom in on images or objects up to 24 times.
It is worth noting that eSight cannot restore vision for individuals who are completely blind–only those who have visual impairments. However, for the three million legally blind individuals in the United States, eSight can be life changing.
eSight glasses do come with a steep price tag: eSight 3, the latest model, costs $9,995. This price becomes much more of a burden since insurers see the glasses as merely an assistive device and thus will not cover them. The company firmly believes that its glasses provide demonstrable medical benefits, however, and it’s in the process of conducting clinical trials in order to prove it.