A mum-of-two from Aberdeen with severe sight loss has been given a “life-changing” device that will increase her independence.
Jolene Whyte received the £3,700 OrCam MyEye through North East Sensory Services (Ness), following a donation from the Aberdeen Rotary Club to provide two of the devices.
Mrs Whyte told of her joy at being able to “read” a letter from her daughter’s school for the first time by using the device’s “smart reading” function, which allows her to use vocal commands to find specific information on a page and read it out loud to her.
Technology can read barcodes and recognise faces
The OrCam MyEye, which can be attached magnetically to any pair of glasses, also helps Jolene to know where her young children, aged seven and three, are when they are at their local park in Aberdeen through facial recognition technology.
It can tell her what items she is looking at in her cupboards or while out shopping by reading barcodes. It also recognises the value of different bank notes.
Born with a congenital eye malformation in her right eye, Mrs Whyte has corneal scarring in both eyes.
She previously worked full-time as a carer but had to stop in January after suffering from headaches and being unable to see.
The mum has been supported by Ness since November 2021 and has received white cane training and social work help through the charity.
‘I know it’s going to be life-changing’
Mrs Whyte said: “I’m still learning about everything the OrCam MyEye can do, but I know it’s going to be life-changing.
“It’s scary having two kids and losing your sight. My son is three so he is at that age where you really need to know exactly what he’s up to.
“You don’t know what’s going to happen and just have to take every day as it comes.
“The OrCam MyEye will look for my kids when we are at the park and tell me where they are in proximity to me.
“One of my biggest problems has been with travelling, but now the device will read the boards at the train station and everything is much easier.
“There are so many different things I can use it for, it really is amazing.”
‘We’re delighted for Jolene and her family’
Chief executive of Ness, Graham Findlay added: “Jolene is a busy mum and will benefit hugely from having the OrCam MyEye. This came about following a generous donation from the Rotary club from Aberdeen and we are so pleased to have been able to facilitate it.
“The main objective of NESS is to increase independence in people with visual and hearing impairments, and to help them participate more fully in society.
“We’re delighted for Jolene and her family.”