Of the five basic senses, vision could arguably be the most utilized in our day-to-day. Conrad Lewis, an electrical engineer, can attest to the importance of vision firsthand, as he grew up with two legally blind sisters living with Stargardt’s disease. Lewis spent nearly 30 years tinkering with gadgets and bits of software he’d encountered at trade shows and through his professional connections, all with the intent of creating a product that could help people living with visual impairments see, live independently, and be truly mobile. From this idea and years of research, eSight was developed.
eSight’s goal is to help foster inclusive communities and empower people with visual impairments to “See New Possibilities” – whether that’s going back to work, performing better in school, or seeing the details on loved ones faces.
Immediate Enhanced Vision
After years of innovation, eSight’s first prototype came out in 2013. Since then, the company has released several iterations of the device. The latest generation, eSight 4, launched in the summer of 2020 to become the most advanced and versatile low vision aid to date.
eSight’s medical device uses a high-resolution camera, a powerful microprocessor, a high-contrast screen for each eye, and patented optics to provide the brain with increased visual information. It results in immediate enhanced vision and includes easy-to-use controls, like zoom, contrast, and focus, for the wearer to control what they see. Unlike most alternative enhanced vision devices, eSight enables the user to maintain mobility by incorporating their natural peripheral vision and offering patented bioptic tilt technology.
Increased Vision and Enriched Lives
eSight is dedicated to vision-enhancing technology and is designed not just for sight, but for life. The company combines proprietary software and hardware to deliver the best visual acuity in a form factor that moves seamlessly with the wearer from sitting reading, to life on the go, incorporating the wearer’s natural peripheral vision for 100% mobility retention. The company understands the unique challenges faced by the low vision community from workplace inclusion, to daily living activities. eSight’s mission is to provide a supportive and inclusive environment. It offers a personalized coaching program where they match new users with expert wearers that have been using the device for years to help them navigate the device. The company doesn’t simply help people with low vision see, they assist them to See New Possibilities in life.
A Seasoned Leader
To accomplish Conrad Lewis’s objective of providing sight to people with visual impairments, Robert Vaters joined the eSight team in early 2020 as the company’s CEO. In a short period of time, Vaters helped launch eSight 4 – the fourth iteration of the device. He actively put his efforts towards making eSight more accessible through new channels such as eye care specialists and distributors of assistive technologies, as well as securing inclusion in insurer, corporate, and government medical coverage plans. In Vater’s words, “sight shouldn’t just be for the privileged.”
Vaters was only two months into the job when COVID-19 hit, giving him a chance to step up and showcase his years of leadership experience. Recognizing that people with low vision were experiencing unique challenges, Vaters launched #eSightTogether, an online community for people with low vision to find and share resources, and to regularly connect in virtual events. The new eSight Workplace program was launched on the heels of #eSightTogether to ensure visually impaired employees could continue their work in a productive, non-touch, and socially responsible way at home without their usual assistive technology workspaces.
Vaters joined eSight from Newport Board Group where he served as a partner in the healthcare practice focusing on medical device companies. Prior to Newport, Vatersserved in progressive leadership roles, touting a strong track record of growing companies and executing mergers. His accomplishments include exceeding multi-year expansion goals as CEO of Orthofix International, where he was a finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the year in Dallas in 2012. His additional experiences include raising $30 million in equity as President and CFO of Caladrius Biosciences, helping the turnaround of Inamed, and the resulting $3.2 billion sales to Allergan. Vaters also serves on the board of directors of Hydroworx, a Middletown Pennsylvania water therapy company.
Helping the World See More Clearly
There are an estimated 66 million people in the G20 living with vision loss and that number is expected to increase with our aging population. Unfortunately, the medical options are limited, expensive, painful, and may not work in the end, so often, eye specialists will tell a person with vision loss to learn to adapt without it.
eSight provides a technological alternative that significantly enhances vision for people living with visual impairments and legal blindness. Most commonly, eSight users live with eye conditions such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and Stargardt’s disease, to name a few examples.
eSight continues to innovate and build upon lessons from users, with the goal of improving quality of life, moving seamlessly with the wearer, and aiding them in all aspects of everyday life. It is now on its fourth iteration of the device and continues to be the most versatile and advanced enhanced vision device on the market. While eSight started as a revolutionary solution for Stargardt’s disease, it has expanded to reach thousands of users globally living with more than 20 different serious eye conditions such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and more. A typical eSight user has natural visual acuity of 20/60 to 20/800, with some as high as 20/1400. eSight’s approach has been clinically-validated by a multicenter prospective trial across age groups from 13 to 75. The study demonstrated improvement including a 7-line gain in distance acuity, 100% mobility retention, and a 12 letter contrast improvement.
Launching the Next Generation of Enhanced Vision Technology
Only six months into the new role, Vaters led the team to launch eSight’s next-generation technology, eSight 4. The new more advanced and versatile device was based on extensive research with the world’s leading institutions and years of feedback from eSight’s robust and passionate user base.
Now wireless and hands-free, eSight 4 gives wearers immediate improved visual acuity and simple-to-use features to take control of their vision and visual needs. Utilizing the built-in controls, the wearer has touch access to the key vision control features like 24X zoom and contrast. With the optional wireless controller, the user can do even more like changing colors and moving between indoor, outdoor, reading, and custom viewing modes. Finally, with the companion mobile app, the wearer can save photos and videos taken with their eSight to their phone for sharing, mirror their mobile phone, or watch videos streaming on their mobile phone directly on their eSight. This fourth-generation product is now cloud-based providing users real-time access to the latest enhancements and innovative features like Shared Accounts. Shared Accounts allow wearers to securely invite loved ones to see what they see and help optimize their eSight experience.
The Vision To Do More
What’s next for eSight? We’ve already covered how eSight is making the device more accessible and affordable for end-users, but it doesn’t stop there.
Vaters has big plans to move the company forward. There are other opportunities and potential uses for eSight’s vision-enhancing capabilities. The company is now exploring adapting the technology for surgeons to use on the operating table. Just like the company’s tagline, eSight as a company is also working to See New Possibilities.