Mom seeks help buying digital device so daughter can see

Published 11:46 pm Wednesday, March 7, 2018

A local mother has established a Go Fund Me account in hopes she can help her daughter receive the gift of vision.

Amanda Ayers, 33, has lived her life with numerous struggles that others haven’t had to face.

“When she was born around five months old we noticed her eyes were crossed,” Sally Gaines, her mother, said.

“That’s when we found out she had water on her brain and it was pressing on the back of her eyes,” Gaines said.

The water that pressed on the back of her eyelids caused optic nerve atrophy, which is severe damage to the optic nerve and affects central vision, peripheral vision and color vision.

“She grew up knowing she would never see fully and that glasses would only slightly correct her eye sight,” Gaines said.

“She has 2200/2400 sight.”

Amanda Ayers is shown in the Miracle League pageant.

Because of the water on her brain, it wasn’t just her sight affected. She had other complications, and has had 30 brain surgeries, her mother said.

“She’s also got various mental health issues,” Gaines said. “She struggles with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and psychosis.”

But there is hope for Ayers’ condition – a pair of eSight glasses that uses digital cameras and image-processing algorithms to help the blind see. The technology is similar to something found in virtual-reality systems and helps enhance what the user of the glasses sees.

Last Tuesday, Ayers got to experience the eSight glasses for the first time in Birmingham.

“She could read 20/20 and even see signs posted in the distance,” Gaines said.

“She screamed, ‘Mom I can see! Oh wow, I can see you!’ ”

Gaines says that if Ayers could see it would help her.

“Seeing will make such a big difference for her,” Gaines said.

“She can’t watch TV, she has to listen to music. Imagine never being able to see the faces of the people you love.”

The only issue is that that kind of technology is a lot of money, $10,000 to be exact.

With no way to afford that cost alone, Gaines turned to GoFundMe.

So far, supporters have contributed $340 of the $10,000.

“I never thought she would have the ability to see. If we could raise the money up, it would truly improve Amanda’s life and change how she lives. I only wish she was a lot younger so she could’ve experienced this opportunity sooner,” Gaines said.

To donate and find out more about Ayers go to