Retinopathy of Prematurity Patient, Michael Hart, Changed His Life Thanks to His Mum’s Legacy

2021-12-14 | By Orcam Staff

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Retinopathy of Prematurity Patient, Michael Hart, Changed His Life Thanks to His Mum's Legacy - OrCam

Born prematurely with a condition that has considerably impacted his sight, Michael Hart from London has had his life transformed by the OrCam MyEye Pro, thanks to a final act of kindness from his mum.


Michael was born with Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), a condition that causes abnormal growth to the retinas and results in significant sight loss. For Michael, this condition left him fully blind in his left eye with his overall vision continuing to deteriorate over time.

From Sight Loss to Being a Programmer

Despite the challenges Michael has experienced with losing his sight, he graduated university with a Bachelor of Science with Honours, in Computer Science and became a member of the British Computing Society. After graduating he spent a year working for the Information and Analysis Directorate at the UK Government’s Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) and for the last decade has completed large-scale IT projects for some of the biggest multinational IT consultancies.

Retinopathy of Prematurity Patient, Michael

Michael is also passionate about using his experiences to help others and has delivered an audio guide solution for the Heritage and Local Studies Centre of his local library in Morden, part of a wider initiative to increase access for community members living with physical and cognitive disabilities.

Michael’s New Life with OrCam MyEye Pro

While Michael has used various assistive technologies before, from screen readers to text-to-speech programs, he’s found them unreliable and incumbent. On top of this, Michael also suffers from dyslexia and nystagmus, an involuntary circular motion of the eyes, so even reading braille can be a considerable challenge for him.


In May 2021 Michael’s mother sadly passed away. In her will, she left a last parting gift for him – funding to buy his very own OrCam MyEye Pro.


Having followed OrCam’s journey for some time, Michael’s friends and family knew how much of an impact this life-changing assistive technology could have on his life. Receiving this gift from his mother made it even more special and something he’ll treasure for many years to come. 

Michael, Retinopathy of Prematurity Patient

New Freedom and More Independence

Michael used to ask his friends or family to read his letters. Since he lost his eyesight, he is able to read his own letters for the first time thanks to OrCam MyEye Pro, the most advanced assistive device for the blind and visually impaired, and chosen as the best innovation by TIME. It’s hard to quantify the improvement to Michael’s sense of independence and personal morale for him to be able to manage this himself for the first time in his adult life.


When taking public transport, Michael can now locate train times by reading the announcement boards at the station with the intuitive OrCam MyEye Pro. When boarding trains or buses, Michael can select the correct travel card (in this case his disabled person’s Freedom Pass) allowing him to scan it quickly and easily. This further increases his independence and confidence during rush hour, preventing him from mistakenly scanning a bank card and incurring extra costs.


The OrCam MyEye Pro’s orientation feature allows Michael to navigate a busy waiting room – something he previously found very stressful. In the past, he was forced to rely upon strangers to guide him around the room and locate an empty chair. By simply using the verbal command “what’s in front of me?” the OrCam MyEye Pro tells Michael in real-time how many seats are empty and which are taken.

Independent Supermarket Shopping Experience

Shopping independently in the supermarket is made possible with the many features of the OrCam MyEye Pro. Previously, Michael had to video call friends and family to manually direct him to items on the shelf. Not only was this time-consuming but Michael often felt like he was a nuisance for other shoppers. Using the barcode and product recognition features of OrCam MyEye Pro, he can now identify what’s on the shelf by himself, as well as read ingredients and nutritional information.

OrCam MyEye with Retinopathy of Prematurity Patient

At the checkout, Michael benefits from this amazing assistive device’s money recognition feature, which allows him to pay using cash for the first time in years. He had stopped using cash as it became an inconvenience for him and the cashier when finding the correct change for a bigger sum of money. This often led to him receiving a lot of change that he wasn’t expecting. While the currency has improved in accessibility over the years, such as denominations being 50 percent bigger, it’s still very difficult to identify specific notes and coins for blind and partially sighted people.


Michael goes on to say:


“I can now use money again for the first time in years, my OrCam MyEye recognizes all banknotes and most importantly, different currencies. No other system I’ve ever used has been able to tell me that.”

Labeling the Foods Correctly and Storing

At home, Michael uses the barcode recognition feature for food labels so that he can mark specific items, allowing him to tell the all-important difference between salt and sugar! Using the color recognition feature, Michael can easily locate his preferred milk using the colored caps on the bottles to put in his hot drinks. This is crucial for Michael as he lives in a house share with other people so it’s very easy to confuse food items.

Retinopathy of Prematurity Patient with color recognition

Recognising House Mates and Family Members

Michael can recognize his house mates and family members with OrCam MyEye Pro, the most advanced assistive device for blind and visually impaired people. The facial recognition feature improves his ability to engage with them and leads to better-connected conversations.


As a result of using the feature, Michael’s social life has also been greatly improved. When going out to a restaurant with friends, Michael can now read the menu by himself, whereas previously they would have to read it to him line by line, which took a long time and ultimately prevented him from socializing. Before, he’d often pick the same basic meal that he knew all restaurants would have, now he can read the menu descriptions himself and choose a meal that he genuinely wants.

“OrCam MyEye Has Transformed The Way I Live”

Michael concludes: “You often hear about technologies or solutions that improve the lives of those with a visual impairment. When you get your first guide cane that changes your life. When you get your first guide dog, that also changes your life. But it only changes your life in one way. It only helps you navigate down the street.


Your guide dog can’t alert you if you’ve picked up salt instead of sugar for your tea. OrCam MyEye has literally transformed the way I live my life. I have regained my independence thanks to my mum’s parting gift and the OrCam MyEye.”