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High-tech device that helps visually impaired is being offered in Dayton area

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Imagine not being able to recognize a face or read the piece of paper in front of you. That is reality for millions of visually-impaired people. News Center 7's Consumer Reporter Rachel Murray explains new technology in the Miami Valley that can help.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Imagine not being able to recognize a face or read these words in front of you. That’s the reality for Tambie Trask and millions of visually impaired people.

“I’ve lived with vision loss all my life,” said Trask, who has no vision in her right eye and limited vision in her left. “Printed information is a huge challenge without assistance.”

Trask now has access to an OrCam MyEye 2.0 at her job with Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley.

GESMV has partnered with OrCam to offer the device in the Dayton area.

With a few quick touches and hand gestures, the device takes pictures and uses optical character recognition (OCR) to read from paper, phones, or computer screens.

“It’s a really small device and it mounts on the side of someone’s glasses, or they can use it in their hand. It will read printed material for that person and it can also do facial recognition,” said Beverly Watkins, GESMV employment services director.

If facial recognition raises privacy concerns for you, don’t worry, said Watkins.

The device must take a picture and be programmed to associate a name with the photo. Watkins said it stores  information locally and not on the cloud or Internet, and it can be deleted at any time.

With Americans living longer, 5 million people are expected to have low vision by 2030, according to the National Institutes of Health.

MyEye may also one day be a helpful tool for those with Alzheimer’s and memory loss who struggle to recognize loved ones, said Watkins.

Trask said she is still learning how to use the MyEye but thinks it has potential.

“It would give me independence,” she said.

The cost of MyEye is $2,500 to $4,500 depending on the features. GESMV offers adaptive equipment scholarships to help with the cost.

For more information about MyEye, 937-461-4800.

February is low vision awareness month.

Follow Rachel Murray on Facebook at Twitter @RMurrayWHIO