By Annette P. Gomes Warrior Care and TransitionNovember 6, 2017
ARLINGTON, Va. -- Imagine being an artist and sculptor and living in a world with limited sight.
For the past six years this has been the reality for retired Army Staff Sgt. Robert Davis.
"I noticed a few years ago, my eyes were blurry and at times bleeding. I found out that it was a case of macular degeneration and I was often getting shots of the drug Avastin to help with it. I've probably had 50 or 60 shots to help my condition," Staff Sgt. Davis said.
Macular degeneration is caused by the deterioration of the central portion of the retina that sends what you see to the brain to be processed. Staff Sgt. Davis's condition further deteriorated due to harsh heat and dust conditions he was subjected to in the Middle East along with the development of scar tissue.
As Staff Sgt. Davis recovered at the National Capital Region's Warrior Transition Battalion, he was introduced to Ms. Bobbie Davis, a Nurse Case Manager. Her first thought was to help Staff Sgt. Davis improve his quality of life and live more independently.
"I've been in the nursing field for over 40 years and having compassion for someone else is something I see as a blessing and very rewarding, and at the end of the day I can leave my job feeling and knowing I made a difference in someone's else's life," Ms. Davis said.
Earlier this year Ms. Davis learned of the new technology entitled eSight's glasses after a staff doctor demonstrated their use to her. The new Federal Drug Administration approved device is equipped with a high-speed, high definition camera that captures everything the user is looking at. eSight's algorithms enhance the video feed and display it on two high-tech screens in front of the user's eyes. Fill color video images are clearly seen by the user with visual clarity. The glasses help people who are legally blind and have low vision.
That stark visual difference for Staff Sgt. Davis was emotional.
"Wow…I was watching the kids play across the street yesterday and I could see their shirts, the lettering, it was really neat. I am really able to focus on shapes and colors. For the first time in over 20 years I could enjoy the beauty of Lake Michigan," Staff Sgt. Davis said of his new glasses. "It's just incredible. There's also a zoom button I'm told that will enlarge items up to their original size and a contrast control makes a room seem darker or lighter, to make it easier to distinguish objects from their surroundings. These glasses are a game changer."
"After listening to Staff Sgt. Davis describe to me what the glasses had done for him in such a short period of time he's been in possession of them is amazing. He likes to paint and spoke about how he could still paint and see things around him. The glasses are a hope for people who has the condition, letting them know they can still have ability to see," said Ms. Davis.
Davis relies on a virtual tutorial to learn more about the usage of his glasses and while the technique is fairly new to him, he says he has a clearer vision of the canvas on which he paints, which is a blessing in disguise.
"I have my good days and my bad days but one things for sure, the glasses have definitely been an asset in my life and I simply take one day at a time."