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New VA-approved tech glasses could help a million blind and impaired veterans see

eSight (advanced sight-enhancing glasses for the legally blind). (Photo courtesy of eSight Corp.)
October 15, 2019

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs approved Canadian vision technology company eSight’s latest sight-enhancing glasses in a move to help legally blind and otherwise visually impaired veterans.

The eSight 3 advanced sight-enhancing glasses were added to the VA’s Federal Supply Schedule and the company has already identified 130,000 legally blind veterans their new glasses can help. The company believes its eSight 3 glasses can also assist more than 1 million other veterans who suffer from visual impairments that complicate their performance of day-to-day tasks.

“Our profound promise is to enable people to see the world and to change the world,” eSight CEO Kevin Banderk told American Military News.

“With so many veterans impacted by vision loss, it was important to us that we worked alongside the VA to make the device as easily accessible as possible,” Banderk said. “With eSight approved on the Federal Supply Chain, we’re able to partner with the VA’s Blind Rehabilitation and Medical Centers to provide the access these veterans so greatly deserve. It’s our honor to empower veterans affected by visual impairments.”

The company says they have already assisted six veterans at the Blind Rehabilitation Center (BRC) at Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital in Illinois, as well as other vision clinics throughout the U.S.

The eSight 3 glasses are a non-surgical, wearable solution to provide “increased information to compensate for gaps in the user’s field of view.”

The device accordingly pairs high-resolution screens and an advanced algorithm with a “cutting-edge” camera to stimulate the wearer’s brain synapses that are connected to still functioning photoreceptors in a user’s eyes.

The VA has been equipped with the eSight devices and veterans can try the device on-site. If the glasses prove beneficial in the demonstration, the VA can process a medical request to provide that veteran with their new eSight 3 device.

Banderk said the company started working with Maj. Gen. Gale Pollock, a retired U.S. Army Major General who served as the Deputy Surgeon General of the U.S. Army and chief of the Army Nurse Corps.

“She has a passion to find a solution for the growing blindness epidemic in the U.S and to help Veteran’s return to living their best lives,” Banderk said. “It was a natural fit for us to work together.

“We have an obligation to assist our veterans to enjoy the highest quality of life possible despite any disease or disability,” Pollock told American Military News. “This head-mounted device enables many people who are visually impaired to see things they haven’t seen in years.”

The VA has 70 different medical centers dedicated to helping legally blind veterans.

“It made sense for us to combine our resources to help as many veterans as possible,” Banderk said.

Conrad Lewis, an engineer who wanted to help his two legally blind sisters, founded eSight in 2006. The eSight3, which is the company’s third iteration of the vision assistance device, is the result of years of the company’s work to improve its technology.