Nonprofits give life-changing device to visually impaired

New Vision Device
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 9:26 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The world is now clearer for a group of people with severe visual impairments.

Seven people received an electronic video magnifier at FSU-Panama City Thursday.

Sight Savers America and the St. Joe Community Foundation, Inc. worked together to provide the devices for free to the six children and one adult who qualified.

“I think it’s kind of awesome because it’s hard for us to see,” recipient Grace Helmer said. “So, it’s kind of cool to get equipment to help us.”

“I can’t see far away too, but I don’t use glasses inside,” recipient Sara Helmer said. “I use them outside because I can’t see. It’s too bright outside.”

Grace and Sara Helmer have vision impairments that make it difficult to perform daily tasks.

“We can’t really see far away, and lights are 10x brighter than they usually are,” Grace Helmer said.

That’s now going to change after getting this piece of equipment.

“It’s life-changing,” Sight Savers America President and CEO Jeff Haddox said. “It allows children who can’t see well enough to read, or write, or see their mother’s face, or do any number of daily tasks, to do those tasks much better and be much more on the same level as their peers.”

The device can magnify images more than 100 times and adjust color.

“To be able to help at home and at school together for them to be able to see better, I think it’ll work better for when they’re older because they’ll be able to learn more now,” Grace’s and Sara’s mother Elizabeth Helmer said.

Haddox said the electronic video magnifiers can cost as much as $3,000 a pop.

“It definitely helps with this kind of equipment because things are expensive,” Elizabeth Helmer said. “I think it’ll help them further because I can’t afford it.”

It’s all about improving the lives of those who need it most.