PLAINFIELD, NJ – TAPinto Plainfield first met Stephon Roach, a 10-year-old Plainfield resident in need of highly specialized glasses called eSight Eyeglasses to help his vision, in June 2018. Stephon was born with Optic Nerve Hyploplasia (ONH), an underdevelopment of the optic nerve in one or both eyes. ONH results in vision loss at varying levels, visual field impairment and color vision loss, and it is the leading cause of blindness in children.
Two months following a successful flag football game fundraiser hosted by Stephon’s grandmother, Pat Roach, Chairperson for the Plainfield Vikings, and Anthony Broy of the Ones Who Care organization, Stephon received a life-changing birthday present — his eSight Eyeglasses.
TAPinto Plainfield recently got an update on Stephon’s progress. He is now 11-years old, and is an active sixth grader at Maxson Middle School. Nikole Hargrove, Stephon’s mother, said that he has adjusted well to the glasses, and he uses them more than the ones CCTV Commission For The Blind have provided for him.
As far as his daily routine, Stephon works well around the house without the glasses but relies on them more when outside. He has learned to ride his bike with the glasses, and to watch out for cars while in the street with his friends. As an active pre-teen, Stephon is able to use an iPhone, and sends text messages while using the glasses when he connects the USB plug to the phone and glasses.
Stephon has had a few challenges adapting to the eSight Eyeglasses. During the summer months the glasses became hot, and he would have to take breaks. He can also pause the glasses while reading and make the font bigger, which presented a few challenges as it seemed he was turning his head all the way around to read the passages. But he has learned to adjust the font to where he doesn’t have to move his body.
The reception at school by his classmates has been positive, and according to Hargrove, “They think it’s so cool.” She added, “Stephon is a very popular kid, where I felt he may be judged due to his vision, but they love him and help him and protect him while playing outside and while in school.”
So what does the future hold for this young man? His mom says that they are still taking this one day at a time, and eSight states that the glasses will grow with him and eventually, as he gets older and as the technology improves, they will hopefully have developed a smaller/thinner version.
As a proud parent, mom added, “Stephon is going to grow up to be great. He is a smart kid. If you ever see Stephon around, he is a very polite young man and everyone knows him. Say Hi! He loves cars, Minecraft, video games and bowling! He likes going out to parties and meeting new people. I want nothing but the best for my son as I know no matter how much I try to make his life easy, I know he will have challenges that I cannot help him with. He gets through anything that life has been throwing at him."
Hargrove added, "I love my son and all my children, he is a great big brother, helps his sister out with her homework and helps his baby brother get things around the house! I am truly blessed to have Stephon as my son, he shows me that when life gets hard, slow down a little. Don’t stop, keep going!"
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