Technology Beating Blindness
Technology Beating Blindness
Every day billions of people worldwide wake up, stretch and open their eyes to greet the day. They look lovingly at spouses, children, friends and associates, and maybe even catch a glimpse of the morning sunrise on their way to work. What very few people do, however, is stop to take a moment and think about what their lives would be like if their sense of sight was suddenly taken, and they were thrust into a world of complete darkness. For many people who have lost their eyesight due to severe trauma, this is exactly how their lives were changed by blindness Light at the End of the Tunnel.
To get an idea of the uphill battle facing those suffering from sudden blindness, try closing your eyes, and imagine the changes you would need to make in your life to accommodate the sudden loss of sight. How would this affect your job? How will you be able to get groceries, pay bills, or maintain your home? How will associates and friends perceive you now that you have lost your sight? How will your family adapt to your needs, and how will you help them make the transition to your new life? How will you, yourself, ever be able to get back to whom you once were? The list of changes you would have to make to get your life back on track would be potentially endless. Unfortunately, for many courageous people all over the world, this is exactly the type of questions they were left to answer after a sudden, and traumatic accident caused a complete loss of their vision.
Although the onset of blindness, whether through trauma, or illness, will certainly be a catalyst for some life changing decisions, it does not have to be a permanent roadblock to achieving goals, or becoming successful in life. With new technologies and advanced medical procedures being introduced every day, many cases of blindness are being treated, and vision has been restored to many.
One example of new technology being used to treat blindness caused by trauma is the inspirational story of 24-year-old Lance Corporal, Craig Lundberg. In 2007 Craig was on tour in Iraq when an RPG exploded in his face. His left eye had to be completely removed, leaving him only with his one right eye, which was damaged beyond repair, and useless. Afterwords, this brave combat veteran accepted the idea that he would be forever dependent upon his faithful guide dog to help him meet the challenges of everyday life. That is, until doctors introduced Craig to a new technology they had been working on called The Brain Port.
Seemingly something borrowed straight from Geordi La Forge of the Starship Enterprise; this devise consisted of a pair of sunglasses, and a for lack of a better term “lollipop” which was attached to the soldiers tongue. Basically, the “lollipop” receives a digital signal from the video camera in the glasses. These signals are then turned into gentle electrical stimuli in the way of small bubble-like patterns that can be translated by the wearer to interpret the location, size, motion and shape of the objects around them.
Considered an augmenting device for existing assistive technology, Blindness & Dreaming Craig can now enjoy the benefits of being able to “see” better, while still being accompanied by his trusted guide dog, which suits him just fine. A step in the right direction, this device even allows Craig to see letters, and will ultimately be able to read again in the near future. As fascinating new technologies like this, and the myriad of other scientific medical breakthroughs in the area of human vision evolve, it may be reasonable to believe that one day, blindness could be a thing of the past Technology Beating Blindness.