A New Level of Independence & The Story of Elizabeth Simonds

2016-12-26 | By Orcam Staff

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A New Level of Independence: The Story of Elizabeth Simonds - OrCam

Elizabeth Simonds was born with children’s rheumatoid arthritis which affected her sight at a very young age and continued to deteriorate throughout her life.  Twelve years ago, Elizabeth had to have her left eye removed and replaced with a prosthetic eye.  Since then, she has been using magnifiers and different cell phone apps or tablets with magnified text to read. She has also developed glaucoma and underwent cataract surgery in her right eye resulting in 20/100 vision and constant inflammation of the eye.


In 2013 a friend came across an article about OrCam and suggested that it might be a good fit for Elizabeth.  Elizabeth contacted OrCam, but the device wasn’t available yet to purchase in North America at the time.  Elizabeth patiently waited and soon enough OrCam contacted her and arranged for a demonstration of the device.  In October 2015 she drove to Seattle where she met with an OrCam trainer and received a demonstration of the OrCam MyEye, and decided it was exactly what she had hoped for and purchased it on the spot.


Elizabeth is a mother of two young teenagers, a 15-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl.  One of her main challenges was not being able to read any of the notices or letters that the school would send home with her children. “The OrCam has given me a new level of independence as now I can read anything that is in the text without having to rely on someone else to read it for me,” she says. 


Elizabeth enjoys downloading books regularly from the e-library which she enjoys reading using the OrCam MyEye. In the past Elizabeth would use a magnifier, which she said was cumbersome as she would often lose her spot in the page due to the size of the magnification.  It was also hard on the eye to read for a lengthy period of time. With the OrCam MyEye, Elizabeth can read all sorts of things likes newspapers, magazines, and mail. “I use the OrCam MyEye to stay up to date with my favorite daytime soap opera as now I can read the weekly summary using the OrCam MyEye.”

Elizabeth does think there is a learning curve to get comfortable with the OrCam MyEye, mostly with learning the distance to hold a document to ensure the camera captures the entire document to be read, but all in all she is very satisfied with the device. “Thanks OrCam for helping low vision people to be more independent,” she says.

Contributed by: Aviva Ellis, OrCam Community Manager