Larry Hester: Blind Man Uses Bionic Eye To See New York For The First Time

Back in October Larry Hester was given a bionic eye that partially restored the vision he had lost 33 years ago.

And now, just a few months later, the North Carolina businessman leapt at the opportunity to take advantage of his new gaze by visiting the Big Apple itself, New York City.

Alongside his wife, Jerry, Larry Hester made the trek from Raleigh to New York City, where he immediately set about seeing as many sights as possible.

Speaking to New York Daily News, Hester declared, “I’m just anxious to see as many sights as I can. I never gave up hope throughout those 33 years that there would be some sort of medical breakthrough.”

Back in October, Hester was given the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis Device, which allowed him to see for the first time since 1981. Hester started to lose his sight after being diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa. Because there was no known cure, Hester’s retinas started to slowly deteriorate.

Describing this sensation, Hester explained, “Vision was closing in around me. You lose your independence of driving. You can’t throw a football with your son.”

Then, on October 1, 2014, his Argus II was implanted into his eye, and he was able to see out of his left eye. Hester is able to see because of a small video camera that sits on top of Hester’s glasses. This records and captures everything he is looking at.

These recordings are then sent to a small computer that he has on his person, which turns the images into signals. At this point this information is then sent to the glasses, where they are then transmitted from an antenna to the electrodes that were surgically placed behind his eye and against his retina.

Because of just how bright and hectic New York City is it’s perfect for Hester, who can only see bright lights and other stark contrasts.

“There are lights just flashing and sparkling all over the place. I just keep a smile on my face all the time. It’s exciting just to experience being with people on the sidewalk,” he declared.

Hester’s life has been turned upside down because he is now able to see, even though he can only actually view the outlines of people. While wandering around New York City, Hester admitted that he was most astonished by just how tall all of the buildings were as he proclaimed, “It keeps going up and up and up.”

[Image via Forocoatza]