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App connecting volunteers with the visually impaired to help see the world

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Posted at 8:17 PM, Mar 23, 2023

Imagine having a complete stranger help you see things you no longer could.

That's what the "Be My Eyes" app does for one Coastal Bend native, and thousands of others around the world.

David Reegan needed eye surgery at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. However because hospitals and surgeries were too backed up at the time, he could not get the procedure.

He lost his eye sight soon after that in April 2022, due to glaucoma.

"I wasn't able to do anything or get in to do anything until December of last year and that was a little too late to do anything," Reegan said.

Although losing his vision was a challenging adjustment, Reegan said the Be My Eyes app has helped him.

The app has over six million volunteers who help over 400,000 users see through a live video feed on their smartphone.

"If you’re in a supermarket and you want someone to tell you where you’re at, you can use Be My Eyes to track them to wherever aisle you’re in. If you want somebody to tell you what you’re looking at or what you’re holding in your hand, you can use it for that," Reegan said.

Rachel Vasquez is a volunteer on the app. She's also the property manager of the apartments Reegan lives at.

She said she was inspired to help when she heard what happened to him.

"You just kind of help them read their prescription or read this letter that they got in the mail. You just help them out and it’s pretty gratifying to know that. We have David here that needs the help and there’s many people around the world who need the help. There’s so many volunteers on the app that so many people get that opportunity," Vasquez said.

Despite the challenges, Reegan still manages to focus on the sweeter things in life.

"He always has ideas. He does frappuccino Fridays for us and buys us frappuccinos and cookies every Friday. He's very kind-hearted and very sweet," Vasquez said.

The Be My Eyes app is free and available in over 180 languages and 150 countries.