The beauty of life is in its details – the twinkle of your mother’s eyes as she smiles is one of the loveliest sights anyone could see.
For the first eight years of her life, Zara Gandhi had been missing the details that make life beautiful – she couldn’t see the flowers at her feet, a ball whizzing by, long shadows of sundown, and even the subtle facial differences that make each of her family members unique.
Zara has Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis (LCA), a condition that affects the retina, which is the light- and color-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye. Like other people with LCA, Zara has had severe visual impairment since infancy. Low vision made it hard to read, see television, and even play with her toys. Worse still, Zara never really saw the fine details in her family’s faces.
The girl from Markham, ON, also has very little peripheral vision, which means she cannot see to the left and right very well. It also means the 4th-grader doesn’t necessarily notice things on the ground in front of her, so she has trouble finding things on the floor. In fact, Gandhi had been going through life, not seeing the toys, or the grass, or flowers, or the many other objects that kids love – right there at her feet.
Most people with low vision have trouble navigating through new spaces, and Zara is no exception – her low vision made it hard for this energetic kid to move freely and discover all of the wonders the world has to offer. Her vision is especially bad in the evening or in dark environments, as Leber’s Congenital Amarosis leaves vision highly compromised in low light. Like others with the condition, Zara has almost no vision at night. This complicates even everyday activities, such as trouble finding a seat in a darkened theater or walking down a dim hallway.
Zara Gives eSight a Second Look
Zara and her family discovered eSight through a family friend. The little girl first tried an earlier version of eSight when she was about 5 years old; between the older design and her size, it wasn’t a perfect fit for her. By the time Zara turned 8 years old, she had grown quite a bit and had developed the vocabulary to describe the changes she felt with and without the eSight. Zara and her family decided to test out the newer, sleeker eSight.
The moment Zara donned the new eSight, her family knew it was an instant success. The 9-year-old has been wearing the eSight ever since.
In an interview, her mother said, “But once she was gifted the eSight last week, it has almost been a challenge for us to get the eSight off her. She loves it!!” Zara received her eSight due to the generosity of iGan Partners.
It takes most people a little time to get used to seeing the world with eSight, but not Zara. According to her family, “She has been wearing it literally ever since we got it. She does much better in low light with the eSight on.”
Things like the floor and objects at her feet, which had been visually off limits to Zara, have suddenly become accessible. The most beautiful views in life, including the fine details of her family’s faces, are coming into focus for her.
You can help others like Zara fundraise for eSight. More than 800 people have been given the gift of sight thanks to our fundraising program, eMPOWER. Visit the webpage to learn about making your own donation.
Did you like this story? Read about Ariel Reynolds, a 10-year old girl who was able to see the zoo for the first time.