of $7,046 Raised
Shauna Gaynor

Let me start by introducing our family. We have four children ranging from 19 years old to 22 months. Our second oldest child is Shauna. She just turned seven years old. Shauna loves to run around kicking the soccer ball or shooting a basketball, and she especially loves to read. These everyday tasks are especially difficult for Shauna because she was born with ocular albinism and nystagmus. But thanks to eSight, after nearly seven years, our daughter could see her mother's face more clearly for the first time. We are asking for help to purchase eSight glasses so she can see the world in a way she has never seen before.

At four months old, Shauna was diagnosed with nystagmus and got her first pair of glasses. At the time, we thought she was going to be just one of those kids that needed glasses. Little did we know just how bad her sight really was. It wasn't until she started school that we realized her glasses weren't helping her. We saw a specialist and discovered that she also had ocular albinism. It was then that we learned that our little girl was legally blind. I was shocked and tried to come to terms as to what that would mean for her. As a special education teacher, my mind instantly started thinking about the long road we had ahead of ourselves to get the help she would need. Her dad couldn't believe it and still held onto hope that perhaps her sight wasn't as bad as the doctors were saying and that one day she would be able to still drive a car and do the things that every parent sees their child doing with no limitations. Over the next couple of years, we learned as much as we could about her conditions.

"Ocular albinism is characterized by severely impaired sharpness of vision (visual acuity) and problems with combining vision from both eyes to perceive depth (stereoscopic vision). Although the vision loss is permanent, it does not worsen over time. Other eye abnormalities associated with this condition include rapid, involuntary eye movements (nystagmus); and increased sensitivity to light (photophobia)" (https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/ocular-albinism).

So for Shauna this means that when she is wearing her glasses, what we see at 250 feet she sees at 20 feet. Without her glasses what we see at 400 feet she sees at 20 feet and what we see at 800 feet she sees 14 inches from her eyes. She is missing the part of the eye that allows the eyes to focus and be able to see things up close. Shauna's eyes will never get better and even with glasses she has to read with her nose just a few inches from her work. This causes her headaches daily, and makes her eyes move side to side rapidly. Despite all of that Shauna absolutely loves to read and works vigorously to keep up with her classmates. She pushes herself to where she is in tears by the end of the school day. No matter how much we tell her to rest her eyes and take breaks she doesn't want to be different and wants to keep going at the same pace as her classmates.

Even though we found out she was legally blind when she was in preschool, it wouldn't be until the end of her first-grade year that she would be identified as vision impaired by the school district and entitled to services. The school district does the best they can trying to identify students with special needs, and get them the services they need, but the process is long, and there are so many students that need help. Unfortunately it took almost three full years before she got her individual education plan (IEP). And that was just the beginning.

Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary School provided many accommodations under Shauna's 504 plan. The school started with having Shauna sit close to the front of the class, gave her more time, and got her a larger computer monitor. We were very pleased with the efforts her school was making but the accommodations weren't enough to help Shauna. She was still suffering from daily headaches from eye strain and continued to struggle to do her work. We fully understood that it would take time to figure out which tools and resources would work best for Shauna. Now that Shauna had an IEP it entitled her to services with a vision teacher and low vision assistive devices. But before those services could even begin the Covid-19 pandemic hit. We were fortunate that her IEP was finalized the last week of school before everyone was asked to stay at home. Learning from home and trying to learn how to use a CCTV was challenging and unsuccessful. Unfortunately the CCTV wasn't as helpful as we had hoped it would be. Shauna needs to increase the magnification so much that she cannot see enough of the text to read it and looses her place. It is heartbreaking to see her so excited to see a little better, but get frustrated when she can't see enough of the text to read.

We knew that this would not be easy, and that we would have to search for solutions until we found what worked best for Shauna. Through our searching we came across a low vision specialist, Dr. Gartner, at the Lighthouse of the Palm Beaches. There we discovered eSight glasses, a device that could be life changing, allowing Shauna to see better than she ever has before.

These glasses use "camera and lens technology projects a superior image onto 2 high resolutions screens (one per eye) for full binocular vision". (https://esighteyewear.com/low-vision-device-for-visually-impaired/).

As of August 11th we are so happy to say that we met with an eSight representative and Shauna tried out the fourth version of their eSight glasses!

Parents of children with vision impairments know and understand that each child's vision levels are just as unique as each child. What works for one may not work for another. Understandably, her dad and I were nervous because we were unsure if the glasses would help her.

Shauna's first impression of the eSight glasses was that they looked like spy glasses. I was thankful to see that they would fit over her regular glasses, and that they were wireless. After explaining Shauna's eye conditions, we worked to fit the device on her head. Then she was asked to read a certificate on the wall behind me. At first, she couldn't read it and panic gripped my heart as I held my breath praying and hoping that the glasses would work. As the magnification increased a small smile crept across Shauna's face as she read at a distance that she has never done before. Her face just lit up. She wanted to read everything!

One of the unique features on the eSight glasses is that we can see what she sees through an application on a phone. Interestingly I noticed while I was discussing details with the representative and doctor, I saw that Shauna kept staring at me. Looking at the app the doctor commented on how fixated she was on my face. Holding back tears, it occurred to me she probably hasn't seen my face as clearly as she was at that moment. Nearly seven years old and my daughter could see my face. Excitement and joy washed over me as I thought about all the things that she will now be able to see more clearly and be able to enjoy.

Our daughter is very independent and determined. We love those qualities about her, and we want her to have every opportunity possible. Shauna is determined to do her best in school, and she lets nothing stand in her way of learning. But she has to work twice as hard as her peers and eventually she will start to fall behind as the classwork gets more complicated in second grade. I was an elementary and a special education teacher, and I know how much more challenging the level of work changes from first to second grade. We know Shauna will face these challenges head on because that's just who she is. But we don't want her to have to struggle, especially since there's something out there that could help her see better.

These eSight glasses give Shauna a level of vision that she has never experienced before. They are so much more versatile and easier to use than a CCTV. They give her freedom and the delight of seeing the world around her. Dr. Gartner, a low vision doctor at The Lighthouse of the Palm Beaches, said that the eSight glasses help her see twenty times better. We were all amazed and ecstatic that they worked so well for her.

Shauna was able to get a pair of the eSight glasses for a two-week trial period. Every time she uses them she screams in excitement at every new thing she sees. These glasses have truly given her the gift of sight. Unfortunately once the trial period ends, September 4th, we will have to return the glasses unless we've raised the funds to purchase them.

Sadly insurance does not cover the glasses and The Division of Blind Services does not have the funding to purchase them either. That is why we are asking for help. We are hoping and praying there are people out there that could help raise the funds needed to purchase these eSight glasses for Shauna. Shauna is a such a generous and loving little girl, and we want to get these for her, but we can't do it without help. We know everyone is struggling during these uncertain times, and we know how difficult donating at a time like this may mean for so many. We are thankful to anyone that can donate and just as appreciative to those that can only share her story. Our family hopes and prays for love, strength, and encouragement for everyone as we all find our way through these challenging times, and we thank you for taking time to read Shauna's story.

Please visit her Facebook page to learn more about Shauna's story and to stay up to date with her progress and to see videos of her using the eSight glasses during the trial period.


You can also follow her story on the WPBF 25 news station. 

*100% of funds raised go directly to purchasing the eSight glasses for Shauna.*


The Gaynor Family



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