KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL)- Kristy Jones makes people curious when she wears her glasses out in public
“When I describe them to people, I say, ‘Did you ever watch Star Trek?'” Jones said.
People often think the Kingsport resident is playing a virtual reality game. However, these high tech specs help her see the real world after over a decade of being legally blind. When Jones was 33, she suddenly started losing her eyesight.
“I went to the eye doctor to get them checked out, and that’s where they told me to go across the street to the hospital,” Jones said.
This was back in 2007. Jones had a rare brain disorder where an excess of spinal fluid was damaging her optic nerves. No glasses or contacts could restore her permanently blurry vision.
“The eye doctors told me that they wouldn’t do me any good because it was so far gone,” said Jones.
Around ten years later, Jones heard about eSight. These special electronic glasses are implanted with a camera and magnification technology to help the visually impaired. Curious, Jones traveled to Nashville to try on a pair for herself.
“I just went outside the hotel and was looking at things,” she said. “Because I hadn’t seen things clearly like that for eight or nine years. I felt like a child at Christmas.”
Jones knew the glasses could change her life, but at the time they came with a $10,000 price tag. The eSight company helped her set up a fundraising page. From there, Jones asked everyone she knew for help.
“I told everybody that I ran into that I was raising money,” Jones said. “I even went to a couple businesses. I shared it on Facebook more times a week than my friends actually liked.”
But her persistence paid off. Fifteen months of fundraising later, Jones became the owner of eSight glasses. From writing handwritten letters to navigating the streets of Kingsport, she’s spent 2019 doing tasks she couldn’t for years. Lately she’s been practicing cooking again.
“I put the glasses on and I read the instructions on what temperature to preheat the oven on, how long to keep it in there. I did it all by myself.”
Her simple message for everyone? Always remember – sight is a gift.
“Never take anything for granted, because you never know when you’re not going to have it anymore,” she said.