Stem cell treatment improves vision of Medford boy

Brochure of a fundraiser for Ty Everett in 2008-2009 (left), Everett shown a decade later in 2019 (right).

News 10 brought you the story of Ty Everett, a Medford student who was coping with his visual impairment back in 2006. Over a decade later, Everett's sight is improving with 70 percent of his peripheral vision back, thanks to stem cell therapy.

Since the beginning of his life, Everett has dealt with vision loss, diagnosed with optic nerve hypoplasia.

"I wasn't able to use things like a desktop computer or a laptop," Everett said. "I was actually needing to use device - a braille device specifically - for people with vision impairment."

Growing up, Everett has relied on technology to help his education and means of living.

"In the first grade, for example, I had to use a computer to take notes and complete assignments and things like that, just because reading and writing was difficult," Everett said.

Against FDA advisement, Everett and his mother Jennifer traveled to China for a month to undergo stem cell therapy in 2009.

"I understood prior to the treatment that I wasn't sure there would be a possible cure or treatment for the condition that I was diagnosed with," Everett said.

Just few weeks after the treatment, he started regaining his sight. "It didn't take very long," Everett said. "It's not like a thing where you just flip the switch and it magically works. It takes time and things increased gradually."

With a majority of his peripheral vision back, Jennifer said the long journey was a big risk with a very high reward.

"As a mother, the most rewarding part was being able to give my son his sight, you know, to have more vision," Jennifer Sands said. "It's been just so amazing to see him be able to see the beauty of the world."

Now working as a software developer, Everett said he owes his career to the treatment and the community that helped him get there.

"I would not be here if it wasn't for the treatment and the people that have helped me to get where I'm at," Everett said. "Ten years later.... ten years is a long time."

As technology continues to evolve, Ty and his family are looking to purchase E-Sight glasses which they hope will improve his vision even more.

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