Navigating daily life can be taxing enough as it is, but doing so with low vision can really put you to the test. The simplest of tasks may seem insurmountable, but technological advancements are making it easier for people to live life to the fullest, both in their personal and professional lives.
According to a study conducted by The National Coalition for Vision Health (NCVH), the cost of vision loss to the Canadian government alone is projected to reach more than $30 billion by 2032, a situation that can be averted if the right support systems are put in place now. Additionally, one in nine people develop vision loss by the age of 65, which is comparable to the number of women affected by breast cancer. Although vision loss doesn’t garner the same attention that other issues do, it is just as important to a person’s overall health.
NCVH research also found that 68 per cent of adults with low vision experience unemployment – a much higher percentage than with people with no visual impairments.
This dire situation is what propelled me to launch TrySight, which offers a variety of products for people with low vision. Our hardware and software solutions use magnification and speech technologies to enhance vision, making consuming content and living life with a clear lens a lot easier.
Case in point. Jim Carey (no relation to Canadian funny man Jim Carrey) has spent his entire life dealing with low vision. A finance exec turned actor, writer and producer, who once dreamed of becoming a pilot before being diagnosed legally blind in one eye, is now counting on our innovations to aid his vision and, ultimately, enabling him to enjoy his life more fully. He’ll even be hitting the ski slopes this winter – now that is motivation.
“From a young age, I wanted to be a pilot, until I found out that I was legally blind in one eye, which needless to say really threw a wrench in my plans,” explains Carey. “I wasn’t about to let that slow me down, and although flying wasn’t in the cards for me, I decided to do whatever I could to make the most of my remaining vision. I’m grateful for these technologies that can help people lead full lives, and want to prove that people with low vision can make positive contributions to society.”
SOLUTIONS TO SUIT ANY SITUATION
We offer a suite of products, which are being used by people in 16 countries. Below are just a couple of examples.
The Mercury 12 is our digital magnifier, which can be used to magnify documents placed under the device’s camera on the table in front of you, or to view a blackboard from a distance. This device functions both as a Windows laptop as well as a CCTV, which accommodates a variety of use cases. What’s more, the magnifier is equipped with Read Text, which uses text recognition software to read aloud to the user.
For people who are looking for a hand-free experience, Mercury Vision uses the latest virtual reality technology to help people regain their independence. This headset is fitted with a wide-angle lens, allowing for a wide field of view, whether it be to watch television, to enjoy nature walks, or like Jim Carey, to go downhill skiing. The device even has voice activated controls for people who don’t want to fiddle with buttons.
THE LONG GAME
Like with any successful product or service, innovating for the future is paramount to meet and exceed specific needs and expectations as they arise. Earlier this year, we were awarded a $1-million government grant from the Accessible Technology Program, which invests in solutions to help Canadians living with disabilities overcome barriers that impede their participation in the workplace.
Together with our partners, TrySight looks forward to pushing the boundaries on what technology can achieve for the betterment of those of every age living with low vision.
Submitted by Umang Dua, CEO, TrySight