TRUCKSVILLE — A whole new world arrived at the Carlsson house on Highland Avenue Dec. 18.
A Fed Ex truck pulled up and the driver carried a box filled with a bright future for Madison “Madi” Carlsson.
Inside the box was everything the 12-year-old vision-impaired seventh-grader could ever ask for — something to give her a new outlook for 2016.
Madi, you might remember, was born with optic nerve hypoplasia, a condition that left her legally blind. She also has an intracranial cyst, which causes right-sided weakness, and pituitary dwarfism which causes growth hormone issues.
The early Christmas present were Madi’s $15,000 glasses called “eSight eyewear” that will correct her vision from 2600/20 to 20/10.
Madi’s mom, Alison, said the Canadian company that manufactures the glasses wanted to be sure Madi had the glasses before Christmas. According to the company, Madi is one of just 300 people in the world to use the eSight glasses.
As soon as she opened the box, Madi tried the glasses on.
“I saw my whole family,” she told me Thursday. “I was so excited.”
As were her siblings — Emmalee, 10; Jacob, 7; and Charlotte, 2. Emmalee and Jacob had stood watch at the door the day the glasses were to arrive, looking for the Fed Ex truck.
“She can now see everything — all the little things,” Alison said. “She can hold a book away from her and read it, instead of holding it right in front of her face. She can look at her phone and read it.”
Madi said her glasses are “really cool.” She can see the TV from the couch. When she returns to school, she will be able to see her teacher and read what’s on the blackboard.
At Target the other night, Madi saw a friend. “Flo!” she exclaimed. Before the eSight glasses, Madi didn’t have the vision to recognize people.
The day after the glasses arrived, the Carlssons traveled to Florida to visit family. When she was walking into her grandparents’ house, Madi noticed dirt on the garage floor.
“I could see Poppy’s dogs and all the ornaments on his Christmas tree,” she said.
Alison and Madi said they are forever grateful to all who donated to help get the glasses. Madi wishes she could thank all of them personally.
“I can see Felix (her cat) better,” she said. “And I can see our fridge.”
These are things most people take for granted every day but, for Madi, seeing these things for the first time is a whole new experience.
The new glasses will make it easier for Madi to negotiate through life. They will help her in her daily life and in school. She intends to be a reading teacher someday.
It will take Madi three months to adjust to the new glasses. Alison said Madi’s brain has to learn how to see again. The glasses appear large, but Madi said they don’t bother her. For now, she has to walk slow until she is totally adjusted to her new vision.
The company has assigned an ambassador — another eSight user — to Madi who will work with her throughout the adjustment period and beyond.
The glasses are not designed to be worn during physical activity so Madi will have to leave them on the sidelines when she participates in dance lessons, gym class and Girl Scouts.
Evelyn is the only one of Madi’s friends who has seen her with the new glasses. I asked Madi what Evelyn thought of the new glasses.
“She said they’re cool,” Madi said with a smile and giggle.
Madi can’t wait to get back to the Dallas Middle School so her friends and teachers can see her new glasses. She can’t wait to wear them during class so she can see what her friends have been seeing for years.
I asked Madi if she was surprised by anything she has seen through the eSight glasses.
“Not really,” she said. “Everything looks pretty much like I thought. But I can see much better than I ever thought I would.”
That pretty much says it all. As her mom said, Madi has always gone with the flow. She’s never complained about anything. She has handled a tough situation as well as possible and has grown into an amazing, fun-loving soon-to-be teenager.
“I never thought this day would come,” Alison said. “I never thought Madi would be able to see all that we can see. But now she can. We’re excited about her future.”
Madi listened to her mom, taking it all in, and then she said this:
“I’m excited, too. I’m excited about my career.”
Madi has already taught us a lot about how to cope with life when things get tough.
She appears destined to be a great reading teacher.
Since the Carlssons were away for Christmas, Santa Claus agreed to visit them on New Year’s Eve, instead of Christmas Eve.
Madi said she already got the best Christmas present ever, but she has asked for one more thing — a karaoke machine. She will now be able to read the lyrics on the screen.
Madi and her family sure have a lot to sing about.