Blind Vendor Sees How OrCam Can Help: The Story of Randy Villaro

2016-07-10 | By Orcam Staff

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The Story of Randy Villaro - OrCam

Rolando Villaro, Randy for short, from Illinois, was 15 when he contracted meningitis of the brain. When he recuperated from the disease, they found that it had affected his optic nerve (optic atrophy, ophthalmologist diagnosis). Randy lost his central vision and now can only see through the peripheral of his eyes.


Randy who calls his vision loss an “inconvenience, not a problem” finds it frustrating to not be able to read smaller prints and is somewhat embarrassed every time he puts reading material close to his face in order to read what is written. Randy has a lot of the latest technology that helps him read and write, including magnifiers and portable CCTV.


A few years ago, while riding the train, Randy was station surfing on his radio and came across a program that was speaking about a small company that was developing a device that can help people with vision problems. This company was called OrCam. After hearing about it, Randy found OrCam on the internet and signed up on the OrCam website. Randy waited patiently to hear when the OrCam MyEye would be available and 3 years later, he heard from the Chicago Lighthouse that they started selling the product. “I hurried to purchase it and I am very satisfied with it,” he says.


Randy studied business retailing at Walla Walla College (WA) and continued his studies at Rockford College ( Il ). “I wish the OrCam MyEye was invented then, it would have made my studying a lot easier,” he says. With his degree, Randy started a business managing vending machines. Randy is self-employed and has three full time employees that work for him. He manages 12 vending locations located at all postal service around the western suburbs of Chicago and oversees 80 vending machines containing candy, soda, coffee, and more. Randy has been doing this for 36 years and is also affiliated with Illinois Association of Blind Merchants.


Randy is part of the Illinois Business Enterprise for the Blind which is a nationwide organization that was created through federal legislation, the Randolph-Sheppard Act of 1936 (RTF). The Act was enacted to provide blind persons with remunerative employment to enlarge the economic opportunities of the blind. There are around 300 blind vendors in Illinois.


Randy is still exploring what his OrCam MyEye can do but he loves using it to help him with work. He uses the OrCam MyEye to read invoices, emails, letters, and more. He also uses his OrCam MyEye to read the labels of products before they go into the vending machine.


Randy commutes back and forth a lot to Chicago so the OrCam MyEye keeps him busy. “When I use my magnifier to read, I feel like others are watching me. With the OrCam MyEye, I can listen to a book without being concerned that other passengers are staring at me.”


“I also really enjoy using the OrCam MyEye to read a menu in a restaurant. I no longer need to ask the waiter for the special of the day, I can choose from a variety of things,” he says.

randy and bryan

Randy with OrCam Trainer, Bryan Wolynski O.D., at the BLAST event in Chicago.


Randy says that he has been telling all his fellow blind vendors about the OrCam by saying “if you want to make your life a little more independent without attracting other people’s attention- OrCam MyEye is your answer.”


Contributed by: Hannah Ziring, OrCam Community Manager