For some individuals, vision loss is gradual, while for others, it might come on suddenly. In macular degeneration, central vision is usually affected: you might have blind spots, blurriness, or black spots in your central vision, while your peripheral vision remains intact. The vision loss it does cause, however, can have a significant impact on the lives of those affected. There are a variety of assistive devices and technologies to help adapt to life with visual impairment, including eSight glasses. The devices and technologies you use can vary, depending on your specific needs and your degree of vision loss.
What are eSight glasses?
eSight glasses are electronic glasses with a handheld controller. The glasses look like a virtual reality headset, but there is a high-speed, high-definition camera in the front of them that captures what you’re looking at in real time and optimizes the images to help you see clearly. It transmits the images onto two screens in the glasses. There are also options for high contrast and light sensitivity. The glasses help to optimize the sight you do have, so if you have no functional vision, these might not be the best option for you. The battery of the glasses lasts approximately 7-8 hours, although there is an extra power pack that can be purchased.
What do eSight glasses do?
The eSight glasses enable you to see more clearly, providing you with more independence and the ability to perform certain activities with impaired vision. It preserves peripheral vision while improving your central vision, so you can still see from various perspectives, ensuring your safety and encouraging optimal mobility. The handheld device that powers the glasses lets you adjust the contrast and focus as needed, giving you a personalized picture of the world around you.
How much do eSight glasses cost?
While not a risk per se, eSight glasses are expensive (around $9,500.00) and not covered by insurance. Although some people report being partially reimbursed, insurance coverage can vary and there’s no guarantee that you will be reimbursed at all. There are payment plans, but this can still be quite an expense.
The glasses help maximize your existing vision, so if your functional vision becomes significantly worse, these might cease to be helpful. This might be something to consider before purchasing; the glasses might only be useful for a short amount of time, depending on how quickly your macular degeneration progresses.1
What can you do?
If you’re interested in the eSight glasses, it’s worth talking with your eye doctor about whether he/she has any advice or opinions about the glasses, or if other clients have had good or bad experiences with them. The glasses might not be for everyone, but if you’re a good candidate and think they might be helpful to you, it may be a treatment option worth exploring.
Jaime R. Herndon | January 2019
eSight glasses website. 2018. https://www.esighteyewear.com. Accessed November 23, 2018.