Legally blind Wisconsin mother will see her six kids for the first time

(Photo: WBAY)

COLEMAN, Wis. (WBAY) -New technology in the form of glasses is helping the blind to see. eSight eyewear uses a small, high-speed camera to capture live video and magnify it exponentially to a screen directly in front of the user’s eyes. Though it’s expensive, a mother to six kids in Wisconsin hopes the invention will let her see their faces for the very first time.

“I would love to read to my children. My mom did that when we were growing up,” Crystal Ives told WATE 6 On Your Side’s sister station, WBAY. “I mean just the whole thought of it  is so overwhelming— to be able to see faces again.”

Ives assumed she’d never see again after losing her vision at the age of eight to a condition called Stargardt and is unable to see anything that’s not directly in front of her eyes.

“It’s hard to explain to you because it’s not blurry, it’s not necessarily like it’s blurry. It’s just not there,” she explained.

The mother of five boys and a little girl is legally blind, but has stopped at nothing to live a normal life. “When I was growing up, it didn’t bother me a lot because it was just a matter of fact. You know, this is just how things are and you just deal with it,” she said.  “I kind of worked pretty hard at fooling people. I have teasingly said should I just walk into some walls or something so people know?”

Ives home schools her kids in Coleman—a rewarding, but frustrating job. “With the kids it’s hard because like, ‘look mom! look at this, watch me do this!” she said, shaking her head. They don’t always understand.

Before hearing about eSight, Ives said her life had already been changed by her smart phone—something she now uses every day to be able to read. “I take a picture of something and then I can magnify it,” she demonstrates.

Still, eSight glasses actually allow the legally blind to see real-time movement.

The Ives family was so excited by the potential after hearing about these glasses, that it was only days before they started to raise money. They cost $15,000.

“When I found out the cost it’s like, uh someday, ya know, some day maybe, or not!” she laughed.

Now that a Go Fund Me page has raised thousands of dollars and a date has been set to see for the first time. She says it’s hard to keep herself calm— worried the glasses may not work for her.

“I’m just like trying to be like, ‘okay, well keep your hopes in perspective—the correct perspective,’” she explained. “Because what if it doesn’t [work]. It would be a really big letdown.”

In their short time on the market, eSight has helped 140 legally blind people in North America see. WBAY is planning to travel with the Ives family to Chicago June 7th to experience the one thing they thought was impossible: their mom seeing her kids for the very first time.

Click here to donate to Crystal’s cause.

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