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New technology could help local man see

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A device called eSight uses digital video cameras to give clear vision to the legally blind, like Alderman

By LARRY CHAMBERS, Staff

HILLSVILLE – Jimmy Alderman of Woodlawn has been legally blind since his birth in 1961 and spent a lot of his life in a blur.

Now Alderman has an opportunity to read a newspaper, look at his laptop computer and drive safely after he discovered eSight electronic glasses.

Alderman said he had always strived to get the best technology in low vision aids to help him see as good as possible. “About a year ago, I heard about eSight on a local news television program and immediately started investigating it,” he said.

In January, Alderman took a trip to Richmond to try out the glasses.

“The eSight glasses brought me to near perfect vision. I was able to read at a distance, use a laptop computer and read a regular newspaper while eating my breakfast,” Alderman said.

Alderman wants to purchase a pair of the glasses to help him function better in life, but they are not cheap. “I want to be able to read a computer and newspaper without having to get close to it. Since I live alone, this would assist me in reading directions to cooking,” he added.

He has a pair of regular glasses he now wears.

According to the company, eSight glasses are an engineering breakthrough that allows the legally blind to actually see.

According to information from the company, eSight houses 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 OLED screens in front of the user’s eyes. Full color video images are clearly seen by the eSight user with unprecedented visual clarity and virtually no lag. With eSight’s patented bioptic tilt capability, users can adjust the device to the precise position that, for them, presents the best view of the video while maximizing side peripheral vision. This ensures a user’s balance and prevents nausea – common problems with other immersive technologies like virtual reality headsets.

The company pointed out, “everyone deserves to see.”

Alderman has started a fundraising campaign to purchase a pair of the eSight glasses at a cost of $10,000. The price recently dropped from $15,000. He also plans to replace his 15-year-old bioptics glasses at a cost of $3,300. Alderman pointed out that the Division of Motor Vehicles requires bioptics for driving.

Alderman said insurance companies won’t pay anything on the purchase of the glasses, since they consider them an “assistive” technology similar to hearing aids.

According to Alderman, “I have been able to over many obstacles in my life and have had several accomplishments. These include obtaining my associates degree from Wytheville Community College, obtaining my BS degree from the University of Phoenix online, and getting my teacher certification in 2005.”

He is now a substitute teacher at several schools in Carroll County.

Alderman had never let his handicap keep him from working. He spent almost 20 years working for Carroll County and served in different positions, including one stint as acting county administrator. He was also chairman of the Carroll County Disabilities Service Board for many years and also worked at Walmart in Galax.

Talking about his future, Alderman said he would like to do some traveling and be able to see and enjoy his surroundings better. “I am a NASCAR fan and the glasses would assist me in seeing the racing action better.”

There are three ways to donate to his campaign:

• Donate online at gofundme.com/purchase-esight-and-bioptic-glasses

• Donate online at giving.esighteyewear.com/jimmy-alderman

• Mail donations to Jimmy C. Alderman, 199 Breezy Ridge Road, Woodlawn, Va. 24381.

Alderman said he would appreciate any donation. “If God would lay it on your heart to donate to this cause, it would be greatly appreciated.”