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Health Beat: Giving Alexis sight: Low vision readers

By Melanie Falcon, Anchor / Reporter, @Melanie_Falcon, MFalcon@wfmz.com
Published On: Jun 23 2014 12:39:27 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 23 2014 04:48:19 PM CDT

Thirteen million Americans over the age of 45 suffers with low vision, including those who've lost vision due to diabetes, macular degeneration or glaucoma. Eyeglasses or contacts usually don’t help this type of vision loss, but now a new patented pair of glasses is helping give these patients their ability to read again.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

Cheering keeps Alexis London's spirits high.

"It's always exciting. It's always fun to pep up the crowd," Alexis said.

Even during low points. Last year, Dr. Adam Esbenshade, hematologist/oncologist at Vanderbilt University, diagnosed her with an inoperable brain tumor along her optic pathway.

"If we’re not able to stop the growth of this tumor, it will be a life-threatening situation," Esbenshade said.

Alexis' mom, Tammy London, said a year's worth of chemotherapy stopped the growth, but it hasn't been easy.

"Chemo was a really hard road, and watching her lose her eyesight, London said.

"My sight is pretty much like 20 percent in this eye and pretty much blind in the other eye," Alexis said.

Now, new technology is giving Alexis hope. A special pair of glasses allows Alexis to do her homework without a magnifying glass.

"It's a lot easier, too, than making it big and everything. I can actually read the small print," Alexis explained.

Dr. Jeffrey Sonsino, chief medical officer, LVR Technology, created the low vision readers. LED lights and prism correction help folks who aren't helped by traditional lenses.

"This came about because we couldn't get people reading the way we wanted them to," Sonsino said.

For Alexis, it's just another reason to cheer.

The low vision glasses cost less than $400 and allow Alexis to return to using textbooks at school, instead of highly enlarged text on her iPad.

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