BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) - Evelyn O'Brien of Wilbraham says an iPad now allows her to see things she hasn't seen in decades.
Evelyn has been legally blind for more than 30 years. One day, though, she looked over at her daughter's iPhone and realized she could read what was on the screen. Ever since then, her life hasn't been the same.
Evelyn was diagnosed with Macular degeneration when she was 51 and has been legally blind since then. Macular degeneration is a disease of the eye that affects more than 10 million Americans.
When her daughter, Connie, handed her an iPad she could see. Evelyn explained, "Pictures of my kids, I never really saw them until this came to my life, and boy what an eye opener, pardon the pun."
When Evelyn looks at a person she can't see their face, but by using the iPad she can zoom in and see details she hasn't seen in over 30 years.
Usually the disease does not affect the eye's peripheral vision. So with zooming in, it allows Evelyn to see more. "And I now see the whole face. Maybe a little bit of the nose is missing," said Evelyn.
Her daughter Connie O'Brien told 22News she was overcome with joy when her mom first could see using the iPad, "She hasn't seen the five children in 30 years, and she just could not believe. Her remark was 'the good news is I've lived to see you get old, the bad news is you're old!'"
Evelyn can read, watch videos, and surf the web.
For decades, she's been traveling to Boston to visit her doctor Dr. B. Thomas Hutchinson of the Ophthalmic Consultants of Boston. He was just as surprised and pleased as everyone else. "In years past it just couldn't be done because the instrumentation was such that it was expensive, it was not portable you had to sit at a given place to be able to read."
That has changed everything in Evelyn and her family's life. "When she handed it to me she said to me, 'here's the world' and she absolutely gave me the world, because I'm back in the world," remarked Evelyn.
This may not be able to work for everyone but Dr. Hutchinson says it's worth a try for anyone with this disease.