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New technology helping blind paralympian regain her sight

IrisVision helps fill in gaps of partial blindness
Amy Dixon Iris Vision.png
Posted at 8:02 AM, Nov 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-22 11:02:06-05

ENCINITAS, Calif. (KGTV) - Paralympic Triathlete Amy Dixon trains, and lives by a simple motto: No Sight, No Limits.

Now, new technology is taken even more of her limits away.

Dixon is 98% blind, the result of a rare autoimmune disorder she got in her early 20s.

Over the summer, she started using the IrisVision headset, which has helped give her a full field of vision.

"I can only see my knuckles and part of my fingers. The fingertips and palm are completely missing," Dixon explains when describing her sight. "With the headset, I saw my whole hand for the first time in 22 years!"

The IrisVision Headset uses cameras mounted to a virtual reality-style headset. Technology within the headset helps focus the camera's view onto the part of the retina that can still process light. That creates a fuller picture for the wearer.

"It takes what's in front of you and remaps it on the digital screen inside the headset in a way that you can see," says IrisVision CEO Ammad Khan.

"I cannot wait to see how this technology will help hundreds of thousands of people around the world," he says.

Dixon says it's helping her with the mundane, everyday aspects of training for the Paralympics.

"Writing sponsors, working on a computer, emails, doing expense reports and progress reports for USA Triathlon; it enables me to do all of that," she says. "That's equally as important as my training."

Khan says this will help people with limited sight be able to do things like watch tv, play cards, go to movies, cook, navigate around their house, and all of the other mundane daily activities that people will full sight take for granted.

He also says that this could help people stay in jobs longer, even as their eyesight gets worse.

The headset is also equipped with Amazon Alexa and several other apps to make life easier.

It was developed with the help of Johns Hopkins University and has FDA Approval. Khan says the headset is covered for Veterans under the VA system, and his company is working on getting more insurance carriers to cover it.

Dixon is working towards the same goal through her non-profit foundation.

Meanwhile, she's also working towards Tokyo in 2020. Dixon is currently the USA Paralympic Triathlon National Champion and ranked 7th in the world.

She says IrisVision is helping her live her motto.

"The only limitations are in your head, not in your body."