A “bionic” war veteran is able to “see” properly for the first time in more than two decades thanks to a high-tech gadget.
Rod MacLaren was diagnosed with Stargardt disease in 1994. The genetic condition results in the loss of vision in the eye’s central field.
The 83-year-old, who served in Egypt, Aden, and Gibraltar, found his eyesight had become so bad he often came back from the supermarket with the wrong items.
However, he has now been gifted with a special set of glasses which turn text into speech, allowing him to “read” for the first time in years.
The OrCam MyEye was given to Rod by sight loss charity Scottish War Blinded.
Rod said: “When I was first told about the OrCam I thought it wouldn’t be for me – I thought it would be a great big thing. But I was sold on it as soon as I had the demonstration. It’s incredibly clever and very easy to use.
“It’s a fantastic gadget and it makes a big difference to the day-to-day. I can read letters, pick out an audiobook at the library and go to the supermarket to do my shopping without help.
“I have lived here for the past 18 years so I know my way around. But last year I was getting to the stage where I needed someone to accompany me to the supermarket to help pick out the products and tell me what they were.
“I would come back with the wrong items which was frustrating. I was really relying on the help of strangers.”
The OrCam was suggested by Scottish War Blinded outreach worker for Perth and Kinross, Marjory Kirkwood.
Marjory said: “I’m very pleased with how the OrCam has helped Rod so far. He’s an extremely thoughtful and independent gentleman who is very active in his community. He truly deserves this piece of equipment.”