Tech aided vision on Beacon Lighthouse Santa wish list

It’s a world Jackie Davis and Mark Kestler never thought they would see.

The coworkers at Beacon Lighthouse Inc. had an opportunity to try the latest technology, glasses that make better vision possible for the legally blind.

This Christmas Beacon Lighthouse has 10 pairs of the glasses on its wish list.

“The glasses are expensive but it’s hard to justify just one pair,” said Deanna Dockman, executive assistant for BLI. “The goal is to provide enough glasses that can be checked out like library books and returned to share with another employee who is legally blind.”

Two different companies offer the glasses. The companies eSight, made in Canada is $15,000 a pair and NuEyes, made by a veteran-owned company in the U.S. are $6,000 a pair. Both have come to BLI to give the legally blind a chance to test them.

“I hope to see my granddaughter cross the stage at graduation. Not just listen and have someone else tell me what’s happening,” said Davis, who despite inherited retinal disease makes steel scrubbers. “I want to see for myself programs at school and church. I want to do it.”

Kessler is a press operator who currently makes hand and floor pads used by the U.S. Navy, He has had vision impairment since birth.

“I have to get very close to what I read,” Kessler said. “The glasses make a big difference.”

The two agree that some of their challenges are making sure they are fully informed about medication (“a lot of fine print”) and being able to identify the chemicals in cleaners and other things when shopping.

“When I go to the store I have to get very close to a product just to see the price,” Kestler said.

All the machines used by BLI employees are adapted to their needs. Sound cues, enlarged print and other signals keep everyone aware. Trimmed materials are recycled. BLI has state and federal contracts for everything from aircraft cleaning kits and replacement pads to griddle cleaners. Cleaners and disinfectants are shipped by BLI, They also re-manufacture toner cartridges.

Dockman, who is also legally blind, says the glasses would be “a blessing for us.”

“So many have been unable to read for a very long time so when they had this privilege, something people take often take for granted it was very emotional,” said Dockman, describing the test day. “I sat in the corner and cried,”

Anyone interested in making a donation to make purchase of the glasses possible can contact Dockman at ddockman@beaconwf.com or call 940-767-0888, ext. 101. For more information about the work and products of Beacon Lighthouse Inc., go to www.beaconwf.com.