Through the eyes of an OrCam Trainer
By Bryan Wolynski, O.D., OrCam Trainer When you order an OrCam device we don’t simply ship it to your mailbox, we have it personally delivered to your door by one of our professional trainers, who will teach you how to use it and answer all of your questions. Bryan, one of our NY trainers, was happy to share his experience with us as an OrCam Trainer. As an optometrist, working with people who are blind and visually impaired, I have come across many low vision aids and technologies over the years but none have been more exciting and inspiring than OrCam. I first became aware of OrCam through a New York Times article in June of 2013. After a little research I made a phone call and a few months later I was meeting with the company, along with a group of other low vision professionals. They asked me to be involved with them as a trainer, which I felt was not usual for an eye doctor to be doing. I have never been one to follow the norm and so I jumped at the chance to work with this new technology- to learn something new that could be helpful to my patients. Since then I have had the privilege of training about 20 individuals with OrCam, both young and old, with all different levels of vision loss. OrCam trainings usually occur in a client’s home and can take from two to three hours, giving me the chance to meet and spend time with many wonderful and remarkable people and their families. What I find most enjoyable about the trainings is witnessing firsthand the positive experiences and reactions that new users have the first time they try out OrCam. One gentleman I trained on OrCam was living and working successfully for many years, utilizing many different low vision devices and technologies. He was very independent in all aspects of his life but during the training session he became so overjoyed and emotional at the fact that he was no longer confined to the basement where he kept all his other low vision devices. He could now read anywhere and be more independent outside of the home, he could now read at the kitchen table which meant a lot to him. Another individual, who I trained at her work office due to her busy schedule, was thrilled that she was able to immediately read handouts given at her office meetings. As I started to do more training sessions I came to see how versatile OrCam is and how it could help in ways that I didn’t even think of. One woman, living on her own in a retirement community, was dependent on her son visiting to take care for most things. Now with OrCam she was not only able to read from her community newsletter, mail, and TV guide, but could also read the labels on her pre-cooked food to identify the contents, rather than having to open each one up and smell or taste it, as she had been doing for years. Another person I trained, a retired US Army veteran, was very sensitive to light and found it very difficult to read off his e-reader, but did fabulously with OrCam and couldn’t wait to show the device to his friends at the VA. For some, the OrCam training session was the first time they had been able to read in years and for others it allowed them to be more independent. No matter what its use, I was happy to be a part of it. It has been a great experience helping others learn to use OrCam. Even more exciting is the future of the technology and the possibilities of how OrCam can help those in the low vision community, both now and in the future. * Bryan Wolynski, O.D., F.A.A.O., is a professional optometrist in New York City and part of a national team of OrCam Trainers.