“Are you watching virtual reality in there?”
Jesse Johnson often gets questions like this when he wears his eSight. The device, which improves sight for people with significant vision loss, does look a bit like something out of Star Trek. But it’s not a fictional prop. It makes a world of difference for Jesse’s quality of life. He uses eSight to assist him in his college computer science program, and at his grocery store job.
Jesse’s introduction to eSight was serendipitous. At the technical school he attends, a substitute teacher used eSight while teaching the class. He let Jesse try it, and the impact was immediate.
“I was hooked. I had to get a pair for myself.”
“I put them on, and I couldn’t believe the detail. I could see the room clearly. I could see everything.”
Jesse has retinopathy of prematurity, which, as the name suggests, has a lifelong effect on eyesight for babies born prematurely.
After a demonstration in Philadelphia, Jesse began fundraising on Gofundme, and was able to get eSight for himself. Now it’s part of his day-to-day life, and not just for school and work. Jesse uses eSight to read newspapers and books at home, and to read menus when he’s at dinner with his family.
People with questions about the headset quickly move from curiosity to amazement. Most don’t know that this kind of technology exists. It truly is Sci Fi come to life.
For Jesse, it’s been life-changing. “I have always been independent, but now I’m much more so. I can do my own thing, without needing people to help me.”
Like many eSight users, Jesse also uses his newfound independence to help others. At college, he uses a 3D printer to create artificial hands for children. The small parts can be tricky to both handle and see. It’s the kind of thing that once might have been closed off to him.
“Before eSight, I never dreamed I’d be able to do something like that. Now, I can.”