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Western University nursing student wins ‘life-changing’ medical device to help her see

‘The first thing when I put them — I looked outside and I could see my neighbours’ houses… It’s very emotional because it’s something I’ve never experienced before.’

A first-year nursing student at Western University is sharing her emotional experience with eSight eyewear, a medical device that helps those with severe vision problems.

Emma Van Dyk has Kjers optic atrophy, a degenerative eye disorder where the optic nerve deteriorates and the eye stops sending messages to the brain. She was classified as legally blind about two years ago and describes the technology as life-changing.

“The first thing when I put them on was I looked outside and I could see my neighbours’ houses. I knew I wasn’t the only one living on my street but the eSight glasses really proved that I wasn’t the only one. I could see all the houses. And I didn’t know there were so many leaves. There was construction going on I didn’t even know about,” she said.

“It’s very emotional because it’s something I’ve never experienced before … and I’m really thankful for the glasses. They really help with any daily activity.”

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Van Dyk was among five winners of a scholarship from Toronto-based eSight and CNIB, offering the electronic eyewear. The moment she was told she was among the winners was captured on video, above.

“I was tricking you a little bit,” the eSight representative said after telling her she was only a finalist and asking her a bit about why she was hoping to win.

“I actually did want to share that you are one of the five recipients.”

Van Dyk covered her face with her hands, exclaiming, “that’s amazing!”

Before using eSight, Van Dyk used an electronic magnifier from the company Prodigi which enlarged print through a Bluetooth camera and tablet but the technology…

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