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Power of technology brings Big Island teen's vision back

"Feels weird to see again but it feels awesome," said 15-year-old Cain Ross of Hilo.Over a week ago, his famil...

Posted: Apr 13, 2018 2:17 PM
Updated: Apr 13, 2018 2:17 PM

"Feels weird to see again but it feels awesome," said 15-year-old Cain Ross of Hilo.

Over a week ago, his family took a video of him trying on his new "E-Sight Glasses." Technology made in Canada that "lets the blind see."

"Was kind of an emotional thing," said Cain's father, Chad Ross. "Waiting for the glasses to come in takes about a month and you know the whole time you kind of pray it works but you kind of got to tell him, you know boy might not work so no get your homes up too high."

But they did work. Cain can't wear them all the time, but when he does, he says it makes life better.

His friends say he looks like Robocop.

Five years ago, Cain was diagnosed with Lebers hereditary Optic Neuropathy. Retina Surgeon, Dr. John Drouilhet, says LHON takes away the central vision, or what you use to watch television, read, drive or recognize faces.

Dr. Drouilhet is not Cain's doctor, but he's seen similar cases. His other patients have come to him asking about other technologies, like smart phone apps that scan words and read them back to you.

Drouilhet said its like something out of Star Trek.

"I always looked at Star Trek as a great show not only in terms of the science fiction, but in terms of commenting on humanity and the foibles that we go through," said Drouilhet. "I would not have imagined this, but I would not have discounted it either."

Dr. Drouilhet has a current patient who uses E-Sight. Sheila Buonerba said her sight problems were affecting her business. She got E-sight three weeks ago and now work is no problem

Buonerba is much older than Cain, and said her biggest struggle is learning to use the video-game like controller.

"A teenager? They won't have any problem, but when you're older there's a bit of a learning curve," said Buonerba.

The glasses cost 10 thousand dollars. The Ross family pooled their resources to get Cain his pair.

"Worth every penny," said Chad Ross.

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