Sisters raising money for revolutionary eyewear

ST. LOUIS - Revolutionary eyewear has given a legally blind metro east mother an incredible gift: a chance to see her newborn baby for the first time.

Twenty-three-year-old Heather Buffey gave birth to her baby girl April 5. However, she didn't see her child's face until three months later, when she tried on a pair of eSight glasses.

Buffey broke down describing what she saw.

"It was great. I was actually able to tell that her eyes are blue, which I haven’t been able to tell before," Buffey said.

Buffey was diagnosed with Autosomal Recessive Hereditary Optic Atrophy—a condition that causes blindness—when she was four-years-old. In addition to seeing her baby, she said she can also read magazines and books, look out a window, read names on buildings, and see people walking to their vehicles on a parking lot – things she can't do without the glasses.

Buffey's sister, 29-year-old Melinda Craig, was also diagnosed with the rare optic nerve disorder when she was eight-years-old. Craig said when she tried on the eSight glasses, she had the same resounding results.

"It was really amazing. It was exciting," said Craig. "I almost cried, but I didn't cry. I was more stunned than anything."

The sisters said the cutting-edge glasses—lightweight and stylish, in a space-age kind of way—were life-changing.

"I felt like Geordi (La Forge) from Star Trek," Craig said.

Buffey and Craig said the specialized specs enhance pictures captured on real-time video, then flashes them on two little screens, one in front of each eye, giving them sight.

Buffey and Craig said they will have to shell out about $10,000 each to buy a pair of the eSight glasses because they the glasses are not covered by their insurance.

Fundraisers are being held in honor of the sisters at the Underground, located at 219 West Third Street in Alton, Illinois, this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning from 8 a.m. until noon.

A GoFundMe account has also been set up to help Craig and Buffey raise the money to purchase the eyewear.