Life-changing glasses give sight to the blind

November 13, 2018

Local service group gifts $50K in new glasses to help the blind see again

In the past, people diagnosed as “legally blind” could only learn how to adapt to their new reality. Now, technology offers new options.

Thanks to a Lions Club in Lumberton, five lives were dramatically changed when they were given a new form of restored vision -- no implants or surgery required.

With ESight eyewear, users can instantly begin to see what’s in front of them in real time. The glasses features a small camera that captures live footage displayed on two screens for those with limited vision. A remote device can zoom, focus and magnify the images. The glasses cost $10,000 each.

At the Lions Club, donors covered the costs of the glasses to help five blind individuals. One of them is 6-year-old Miracle Villanueva, who has worn special glasses since she was 3 years old but could never see this well or this far away.

Cole Oliver, age 14, Lizzy Alford, age 12 and Kyland Hicks, age 7 all had the same life-changing experience when they put on the glasses. The children see more clearly, and their parents and grandparents see a brighter future for them.

“I’m just really excited, because now he can get a good education like everybody else,” said Evelyn Hicks, Kyland’s grandmother.

Children weren’t the only people helped by the glasses. Diabetes robbed 57-year-old Artie Stewart of most of his vision, and the gift from the Lions Club gave much of it back. “They are game changers,” said Stewart. “They make things happen for people and I’m truly grateful.”

Helping the visually impaired has long been a Lion’ Club mission, but, in the past, the best they could offer were services like guide dogs or prevention through early vision screening. “Now we can allow them to see again, which is as close to a miracle as I think we’ll ever get,” said David Cox, a Lions Club member.

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