Blind veteran "sees," thanks to digital technology

DEVICE
Photo credit Department of Veterans Affairs

Army veteran Tom Arcand experiences the world through a unique device – even though he’s legally blind.

Arcand now “sees,” thanks to a device that identifies people around him and reads to him what he’s “looking at.” according to a VA blog post.

It all started for Arcand when a friend recommended a device to him. Tom, and his wife Lucy – also a veteran – watched a few short video clips and were ready to purchase the device. They then reached out to the West Texans VA Health Care System, asking their ophthalmologist, Dr. Geert Craenen, if the device was worth getting.

Prepared to buy it themselves, the Arcands were surprised by Craenen’s response, the blog continues.

“We have great flexibility in procuring devices such as this for our veterans,” Craenen said.

The Orcam MyEye attaches to a pair of reading glasses. Around the size of a large thumb drive, it scans anything  Arcand signals or points to. A small speaker near his ear tells him what it scans.

DEVICE
Photo credit Department of Veterans Affairs

“It will read anything to you, books or signs, it’ll read it all,” said Arcand. “I mostly use it to read at home or go through bills, but there are a number of things you can use it for.”

The artificial vision device has given Arcand a connection to the world that he didn’t have after losing his vision completely in one eye and most of his vision in his other eye.

“This device has so many features,” said Lucy.

The Orcam Myeye also features a facial recognition function that tells the person wearing it who comes into their presence. By programing people, the device will tell the wearer when a person comes near.

Reach Julia LeDoux at Julia@connectingvets.com

Want to get more connected to the great stories and resources Connecting Vets has to offer? Click here to sign up for our newsletter.