Mom's Left Eye: Notice the
Mom's Left Eye: Notice the "Cat's Eye" Cornea, Unable to Focus mostly used for Balance
Mom's Right Eye: Bottom half of Cornea round top part
Mom's Right Eye: Bottom half of Cornea round top part "cat" overall teardrop shape The "good" eye.
Bioptic Telescope: capable of focusing but only at a very narrow point of view.
Bioptic Telescope: capable of focusing but only at a very narrow point of view.
No Caption Provided
Vuzix M-100
Vuzix M-100
Plus and Minus volume buttons programed to zoom in and out. Auto Focus.
Plus and Minus volume buttons programed to zoom in and out. Auto Focus.

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A Journey to See

I will let my Mother tell her own story:

Come on a wonderful journey with me

A wonderful journey to help me see

With cameras and lenses and strange device

And a son who is very smart and nice

Here is my journey to better sight. My first experience with glasses was.when I was in first grade. When I came home from the doctor with my new glasses, I noticed lots of neat things. The window curtains which had looked solid, were lace. The carpet was not just plain brown, but shades of brown, with patterns. The light over the dining room table had a shade over it, which was not solid, it had flowers etched into the glass. There were disadvantages to my newfound sight, but the advantages far outweighed them.

My next experience with sight enhancement came when I was a young mother and I was working with Vocational Rehabilitation, trying to get a job. The people there knew that I was a good candidate for employment if I could see better, so,they introduced me to "The low vision center". The people there tried several different devices, and they let me take home an eye loupe that was like a telescope, with a lens that screwed onto the end for close up work. It only had one focal point, but with it I didn't have to bend close to what I was typing. The telescope helped me see a little clearer at distance, but it only had one focal point. It was not focusable. When I had been using the clip on telescope for about a month, I had to return it, but, in it's place, I was given a pair of glasses that had the telescope built in, and lenses to attach for close work. They gave me two lenses, so I could adjust the focus somewhat. These really helped with reading the small print on medicine bottles and other small print, but I had to use both lenses for that. I found other uses for the close up lenses, like looking into my children's eyes, and seeing what kind of embroidery stitches were used for certain embroidery work, and knitting with patterns was a lot easier now that I could actually see the stitches instead of just feeling them. These glasses fascinated my children. They would try to pull them off my face and then drop them. These glasses had those springy frames that would bounce back ,but sometimes the kids would pull,them off my face and they would land on the floor. They were resilient, but sometimes I would loose a lens. My husband who was an electronics engineer always had a small screwdriver in his pocket protector, he wore glasses too, With that, he would fix them and save the day.

When these glasses were old and scratched and beat up, I called Vocational Rehabilitation to see if I could get a new pair. They were pretty slow about getting back to me, but when they did, they made an appointment for me with the low vision clinic. When I got there, I showed them my old glasses with the telescope, and got a lot,of laughs and surprised looks. They were surprised they had held up,for so long, and that I could still see out of them. I told them that I needed another pair of these glasses, and they asked me if I would like to try something else, and I said "sure!" They gave me what looked like my old clip on telescope and clipped it in to my glasses. I had a pair of glasses without the telescope that I wore for everyday use. This was different they told me. They said to turn the lens at the end of the telescope and let me look at some small print. When I turned the lens at the end of the telescope, I could focus on the small print I was given! Then they told me to look out the window and turn the lens on the telescope in the other direction. What I saw made me gasp. I could see clearly at quite a distance! The trees had branches that branched, and I could see individual leaves. I could read signs that were only blurry before. They told me this device was called a "bioptic" and they could make me a pair of glasses with this device built in! I asked them if I could have the same frames, the ones with the bows with the springs, and sturdy, because my children were still apt to knock my glasses off. They said yes!

It took about a month, but I got the call to come and get my new glasses. When I went to pick them up, I was excited. As I was being driven home, I noticed the same things I had noticed before. I could see the tree branches clearly, and the individual leaves on the trees. They didn't look like green mist on the trees anymore. I could read signs, and even street signs, if the car moved slow enough. Then I Iooked at the road, and noticed something I hadn't noticed before, the heat reflections on the road, For the rest of the drive home, I stared at the road, fascinated. When my husband asked why I was being so quiet, I told him, and he couldn't believe that I had never seen heat reflections before. That night was a clear night, and as I was looking at the moon, I saw the face! I had never seen that before either, and as the month went on, and the moon became a crescent, I could see the earth light shining off the dark side. I experimented with medicine bottle print, and the small print at the bottom of advertising. All these things were fascinating to me. I could use the computer without squinting. All I had to do was adjust the lens on the bioptic. The bioptic soon became my everyday glasses. I have gone through three pair since I received the first one. The glasses, and the bioptic have been invaluable at home and at work. When I lost my job and had to find another one, everything was online, and the bioptic was a big help! I still had some trouble using the Internet, because you have to see the whole screen, and my field of vision with the bioptic wouldn't let me do that, but at least I could read the screen without trouble, and I eventually found another job after a year and three months of looking.

During the time I lost my job, my son tried to make it easier for me to see the computer. He had a monitor that was bigger than the one that came with the Apple G-5. We hooked that up and that made using the computer a lot easier. He told me that he was looking for an electronic solution to my vision problem. When he came home from the Navy, he brought a Glasstron with him from Japan. The Glasstron is a head mounted device with a screen in it to display images when it is hooked up to a video recorder or a computer. It has speakers in the device so you can hear the audio portion as well. We tried it one night. He hooked the Glasstron up to the video tape machine, and let me watch "The Abyss", one of my favorite movies. I could hear the movie, and it was like I was there with the characters. After the movie was over, the video player suddenly went off. Ralph said the circuits were overloaded or something. When I took the Glasstron off, my forehead was very warm, and I had a doozy of a headache that took a while to go away. Ralph said the Glasstron would not work as an.electronic solution to my vision, It was a power hog, and had given him headaches too, but it had been fun for him to use on the carrier to watch movies.

Time has gone by, and I am still using the bioptic. The glasses are getting worn, and the lenses are scratched, but they are still useful. My son has continued to search for an electronic solution to my vision problem. last May, he was looking on the Internet and he started to get excited. He had found what he thought might work for me. It was called the "Vuzix M-100". It was a device something like Google Glass. It could be worn over either eye, and had glasses that came with it, without lenses, of course. It was pretty expensive, and I had to get it with two credit cards, but it finally came. My son rigged up a gamer headset, taking off the earpiece and the microphone so I could use it with my glasses without the bioptic. When I tried it on, it worked, but the camera that came with it did not zoom far enough for me. My son found an open source camera program and worked it so that it would work with the Vizix. Using this camera program and the Vuzix, I could see almost as well as I could with the bioptic. We decided to get lenses for the glasses that came with the Vuzix. We went to my eye doctor, and they said they could not make lenses to fit those glasses. Ralph looked up the Vuzix site and we saw that they recommended a shop called "The Artful Eye". It was close enough for us to drive there in 45 minutes, so we went there and talked to,the lady who owned the place. She said the lenses could be made. It took about a month of trying, but the lenses were made, and the Vuzix fit nicely into the frames. I put them on and played with them till the battery in the Vuzix went dead. My son bought me a battery pack that was better than the one that came with the Vuzix, which only lasted two hours. This one lasted all day, and used a regular phone charger to recharge. I took the Vuzix, with the battery pack to work. Working with it, I found advantages and disadvantages. I had enough field of vision to actually see the whole face of a person, and could read facial expressions, something I could not do with the bioptic, because of the narrow field of vision. I could see a space much larger than I could with the bioptic, field of vision improvement again. I could read the computer in zoom in mode, if the Vuzix felt like it. It can focus up close or far away in zoom, but not at the same time. If it's zooming close up and I want it to zoom far away, I have to shut the Vuzix off, disconnect the power, wait about five seconds, reconnect the power, and turn the Vuzix back on. Then it will zoom in far away. As you can imagine, I usually use the Vuzix at work to zoom in close up. I can still see faces alright in that mode, and read facial expressions, but not too far away. We proved the Vuzix works almost as good as my bioptic because we went to see Dr. Quimby, the person who made the bioptic for me, and he did a visual acuity test with the Vizix.

While I have been using the Vuzix successfully, and have learned to deal with it's advantages and disadvantages, my son has been looking for something better. Something that will let me see as good or better than with the bioptic. We think we have found a solution, but we won't know if it's better till we use it for awhile.

My son bought a Samsung Galaxy S-6 about three weeks ago. Then, we bought a Gear VR device. Ralph hooked the phone up to the Gear VR and let me look through it. He downloaded some neat VR demos, and they were definitely cool, but what we were interested in was the "pass through" mode. I could see my surroundings really well, but could not zoom in on anything. My son solved this by downloading the open source camera program he used on the Vuzix to the Galaxy S-6. Then he adapted the Gear VR so that I could use the volume controls to zoom in and out. It worked wonderfully till I went to read something close up, but I touched the touch pad on the Gear VR, and the camera focused close up for me. Then, when I wanted to look far away, I just touched the touch pad, and it focused far away. It seems to zoom in better than the bioptic, and the camera is more stable. There are no trails when I move my head and no bluriness. We need to work out the power problem. We would like to use the power pack we used zix, I haven't taken it "out in the field" yet. We'll have to see what kind of looks I get when I do.

I am very glad we have the technology that we have now. And I thank the Father for giving me such a wonderful, smart son.

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How my Obsession with Video Games and tech paid off for my once Legality Blind Mother

I have been looking for a technological solution for my mother's vision problems for nearly 10 years. I have finaly in the past few years found a workable fix using a combination of a Samsung Galaxy S6 and Gear VR.

I will post again with the details of my setup in case you reading this have a loved one with low vision and would like to replicate my results. Fortunately compared to most low vision aides because my solution uses common off the shelf consumer electronics it is relatively inexpensive.

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Vectrex Quick Look

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