10-year-old legally blind girl finally able to see the zoo

October 31, 2019

Ariel Reynolds is like many other energetic 10-year-olds in Elberton, Georgia. She loves to play with her toys, listen to stories and, most of all, go to the zoo.

There is one big difference between Ariel and other kids her age – she was born with low vision and she is now legally blind. Ariel has high myopia and nystagmus, which are two serious eye conditions that rob her of her sight. High myopia is a severe level of nearsightedness that prevents Ariel from seeing objects far away. Nystagmus is an eye condition that causes repetitive, uncontrolled eye movements, which reduces vision and depth perception. She also has tiny cataracts that also affect her ability to see.

Vision loss has prevented Ariel from reading, playing sports, and doing many of the other things kids normally do at her age. Even going to the zoo is challenging; Ariel uses binoculars to see the animals, or views photos that her mother has snapped and enlarged.

Ariel had tried a number of treatments and therapies in hopes of seeing a bit better. When the family lived in New York, for example, the young girl saw a vision therapist and underwent vision therapy. Nothing seemed to help Ariel see the world a little better.

Ariel Sees a Better Life through eSight

The Reynolds family discovered eSight when Ariel’s mother Tiffany saw an online advertisement several years ago. Tiffany was very interested in the technology and the benefits it could have for her daughter, but she worried that the family could not afford it. As time went by, ads kept popping up on Tiffany’s computer, but she kept putting the idea on the back-burner.

One day, an advertisement for a reduced price for eSight appeared. After considering it for a while more, the devoted mother said, “This is something I want my daughter to have.”

Tiffany booked a trial in which her daughter could test eSight. Then she began to worry that it would not work and she was afraid of getting her daughter’s hopes up, so she canceled the appointment. Days later, she rescheduled the trial and then canceled it again. This continued until April 18, 2019, when Ariel tried eSight for the first time.

When Tiffany and Ariel arrived in Atlanta for the eSight trial, they did not know what to expect. Their apprehensions were short-lived, however, as the representative running the trial was extremely knowledgeable and explained in detail how eSight works.

Tiffany was thrilled when eSight worked for her daughter, and knew immediately that it was something her family wanted for Ariel. A representative put the family in touch with a number of groups that might provide grants to pay for the device. The Reynolds family applied for a grant offered through the Association of Blind and Visually Impaired in April of 2019. The association graciously granted the grant in August, but it only covered part of the funding necessary. In order to take part in the grant, Ariel’s family had 30 days to come up with the rest of the money.

The Reynolds held several yard sale fundraisers, and their church raised $1800. Just as the deadline approached and the family made one last fundraising effort on Facebook, another church came up with the rest of the funds needed to give Ariel the eSight kids like her use for better vision. Tiffany said, “I was in tears when they called me.”

It took a little time for Ariel to get used to her eSight. Then her mother says something special happened. “She looked through it and saw her father for her first time she was like “Wow.” It was a very good experience.”

So what’s the first thing Ariel wants to do with her eSight? Go to the zoo, of course.