Advances in Technology for Sight-Impaired Being Tested

by Diane Robinson

I am 56 years old.  I have five children, three girls and two boys. I also have seven grandchildren, who I love to spend some Sundays with.  I love spending time with my family, but I am also a very independent and outgoing person.  I live on the west side of Cleveland in a senior citizen building, where there are different activities for us including Bingo.  I love spending time with my family.  I am a very outgoing person

I am also legally blind. I started losing my sight from my left eye when I was about 30-years-old, and gradually became totally blind over time. The hardest thing for me was getting around outside by myself, and at first, it was kind of scary traveling and walking alone.

I started losing my sight from my left eye at 30 years old and gradually became totally blind over time. It was thundering and lightening one night, when the power in my house went out. I fell asleep. When I woke up, I told my daughter to turn the lights back on. She told me that they were already on, but I was in darkness. We went to the emergency room.

Over the course of one year, I head a series of injections to my eyes, and my vision returned slowly. When the doctor suggested surgery. I agreed. If I had to go through the surgery again, I wouldn’t because, when I came out of the recovery room, my vision was almost totally gone again! I can detect shadows and light with my left eye, but can’t see anything with my right eye. If I had the option to

Learning how to get around on my own within the neighborhood has been my goal for the past 5 years since I became legally blind.

I go to the Cleveland Sight Center, two days a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I am learning how to walk around, cook and use the computer and many other things I can learn, to help myself stay independent to do. The staff at the sight center is excellent to work with.  They help me with everything I need to do, in order for me to maintain my independence. 

One day at the Sight Center, my GED teacher read an article about advances in treating people with various levels of lost vision. When I thought about it, I realized that I had experienced two of the procedures highlighted in the article: the stem-cell injections and the gene therapy (the surgery). The other procedure, the Argus II or “bionic eye,” I had not experienced. This procedure is covered by Medicare in some, but if you don’t have insurance it costs $145,000.

It’s amazing what resources that are out there to help people with vision problems, especially blindness. I’ll keep looking for the doctor and the procedure(s) that can best help me to regain some of my sight.

I am not giving up!

Copyright Cleveland Street Chronicle April 2016 Cleveland, Ohio