Being able to see things clearly is truly a blessing that many of us forget to be grateful for. Our eyesight helps us out a lot and prevents us from walking into walls and falling into holes. When Gene Purdie began to lose his eyesight 15 years ago he understood that this would change his life forever. He wouldn’t be able to see his wife or his kids ever again. Then one day, a solution came about that allowed him to see for the first time.
20. Married With Kids
Colorado native, Gene Purdie got married and had kids with his wife. His life was pretty normal except in one major way: he was labeled legally blind. This was a major blow to him as he could no longer his family.
You see, Gene has a disease that prevents him for being able to see. It has affected him throughout his entire life as he was diagnosed with it when he was only 16. It was a bitter pill for such a young man to swallow…
When he was only 16, Gene was diagnosed with Stargardt disease. This condition is inherited and affects the retina’s in the eye. Most people that get diagnosed with the disease start to lose their vision during childhood or early adulthood.
Most people with the condition never lose their vision completely, however, it does deteriorate greatly. Sometimes their vision can be as bad as 20/200, which means that they’d have to be within 20 feet of something that someone with normal vision can see from 200 feet away.
16. Gene’s Vision
As for Gene’s vision, he is only able to see through his peripheral vision and he really can’t see much. Gene isn’t able to see anything that is directly in front of him. He states that he must piece together what he sees in order to understand what is going on.
15. Carrying On
Even though seeing is an issue for Gene he doesn’t let that stop him from doing the things that he loves. One of his favorite activities is cooking and despite having to hold the cookbook extra close to his face he still manages to whip up some great dishes. His wife Joy claims that he makes better dishes than her.
14. No Cure
Even though Gene has figured out ways to cope with the disease, his life is more difficult than the average person’s. In an interview on The Rachael Ray Show, Gene and Joy disclosed that there is still currently no cure for Stargardt disease.
13. No Sight
Throughout all of his time spent with his wife, Gene has not been able to see her clearly. He also has not been able to see their son and often has to envision what he looks like. Then one day, Joy turned on the television and saw something that made her start “shaking and crying.”
12. Watching Television
Joy had actually been watching The Rachael Ray Show where she saw a woman on the program who also suffered from Stargardt disease. On the show, the woman was given electronic glasses that would allow her to see. Once the woman had the glasses on she said she could see better than she had in five years.
11. Beautiful Moment
The woman on the program was finally able to see her sisters when she had the glasses on. She was ecstatic and Joy was thrilled too. Finally after so many years Joy had hope that her husband would be able to see.
10. Written Word
Joy reached out to The Rachael Ray Show and wrote them a letter describing her situation. It seems that the letter must have impacted the producers because Joy and her husband Gene were scheduled to be on the show next. Gene was beyond excited…
9. Gene’s Reaction
Gene couldn’t even fathom the situation. In an interview captured before he would be on the show, Gene revealed, “I don’t think there’s words for the moment that I first see my family.” It would truly be an emotional moment for the entire family.
8. Eyewear Company
Once the family was on stage they were introduced to Taylor West from eSight. eSight is an eyewear company that designs these advanced glasses that have a camera inside that records what the person sees. Inside there is a tiny computer that enhances the images so the person can see what they are looking at.
7. Gene’s Turn
After the explanation was over, Gene was handed over the glasses to try on. The glasses were also connected to an in-studio screen that would allow everyone else to see what Gene saw. West finished off by saying that the glasses should give Gene “typical eyesight” while he has them on.
6. First Look
Finally, Gene was able to see! This was the magical moment when he saw his wife and son for the first time. “Wow, she’s pretty,” Gene said while looking at his wife.
5. Emotional Reaction
The audience quickly clapped out of joy. Joy’s face began to flood with tears at her husband’s reaction. Gene was finally able to see their faces exactly as they looked, something he had not been able to do at all before. The entire situation was filled with high emotions.
Then Gene turned his face over to the studio audience. He was shocked at the fact that he could see them so clearly. Then, his attention diverted to another direction. There were two people in particular that he wanted to see now.
3. His Parents
Suddenly, two audience members got up and walked over to the stage. It was Gene’s parents and he hadn’t been able to see them in years. They walked toward Gene so that he could get a better look…
Rachael Ray eventually asked Gene how he felt about being able to see everyone so clearly for the first time. Fighting back tears, all Gene could say was, “It’s overwhelming.” This wasn’t the last surprise for the family.
1. A Gift
In an act of pure kindness, Gene was given the electronic glasses to bring back home with him. Throughout his entire life, Gene was told over and over again that he would never see. Now Gene has and he’s happier than ever.