STAR Trek-style smart glasses giving sight to the legally blind are coming to Adelaide, and today, Maureen Montes of Parkside becomes the first person in the nation to buy the $13,000 super specs.
Mrs Montes, who has less than 5 per cent vision and is legally blind, has trialled the Canadian eSight glasses and says the first time she wore them she was stunned.
“It was a modern miracle — I could read the eye chart down to the bottom line, when normally I could not even see it,” she said.
“I looked out the window and could see the carpark. I could see again.”
Mrs Montes has Stargardt disease and over 30 years her sight has deteriorated to limited peripheral vision. Her daughter Donna found the eSight glasses on the internet and Mrs Montes was preparing to fly to Toronto to test them.
However, the family also lobbied Adelaide-based Royal Society for the Blind (RSB) about the technology, which has now partnered with Canada’s eSight to bring their revolutionary glasses to Australia.
The device enhances the functional vision of a person who has low vision or is legally blind, without the need for surgery or medication.
The glasses cannot help people who are profoundly or totally blind, but hold hope for the 85 per cent of people classified as “blind” who are legally blind or have low vision.
A computer in the glasses processes images caught by a hi-tech camera and displays them on two organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens in front of the user’s eyes.
RSB’s Adaptive Technology Manager, Andrew Davies, said the charity is delighted to be the first national product sponsor for eSight’s glasses.
“The eSight glasses herald a new era for helping vision-impaired people, and in some cases, they will be life-changing,” he said.
The eSight glasses are available today through the not-for-profit RSB, Ph: 8417 5599