EUGENE, Ore. — Reilly Gault, 15, has been legally blind for the majority of his life.
Now, that’s all changed — Gault now can see.
Gault, 15, recently asked the community for some help to raise $10,000 so he could purchase computerized glasses that allow him to see the world through a new and clearer lens. The community responded with a resounding “yes” and donated more than enough to cover the cost of the electronic glasses, made by Canadian-based company eSight.
The young man has a passion for music and plays the drums in the Thurston High School Marching Band, but has struggled to keep tempo with his bandmates as he can’t clearly see what the other percussionists or his band director are doing. In fact, he can see only things that are within inches of his face.
But that wasn’t the case at the 65th annual Springfield Christmas Parade on Saturday as Gault marched through the rain with his fellow band mates playing “Joy to the World” with a big smile on his face, seeing everything and everyone around him clearly for one of the first times.
Before the start of the parade, Gault stood under an awning and practiced the Christmas songs he was about to perform as he waited for his mother to deliver his new glasses.
Friday was the first time Gault had tried them on. He was sitting in the band room when his mom first delivered them and said he was overjoyed.
“I could see what was in front of me, I could see what’s on the board, I could see my friends … it was amazing,” he said. “I can see now!”
Gault was born with albinism, an inherited genetic condition that reduces the amount of melanin pigment formed in the skin, hair and eyes. He also was born with optic nerve hypoplasia, a condition that prevented the back of his retinas and his optic nerves from becoming fully developed.
The eSight glasses, which resemble a headset for a video game, feature a high-speed, high-definition camera that captures everything the user is looking at. Then eSight’s algorithms enhance the video feed and display it on two screens in front of the wearer’s eyes.
The person wearing the headset sees full color video images clearly, with no lag time, and can zoom in. The user also can capture photos and video with the device.
Gault’s mother, Kristin Gault, said seeing him try the glasses on for the first time was “emotional.”
“It brought tears to my eyes,” she said. “You think about the things you take for granted by being able to just see clearly. I’m so happy for him, that he gets to see the world around him now.”
Information from: The Register-Guard, http://www.registerguard.com