Visually-impaired teen needs help getting special glasses

Posted at 9:51 PM, Apr 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-13 08:45:11-04

A Copperas Cove teenager is looking for help getting special glasses after surgery to remove a brain tumor left him legally blind.

Michael Sommerer Jr. is 15 and has been legally blind since he was a child.

"It started when he was about 6 months old, they noticed that he had a failure to thrive. He was not gaining weight and he had a problem where his eyes would shake a little bit," Sommerer's mother Demi Manzie said.

Sommerer was diagnosed with a low-grade Astrocytoma. Astrocytomas are tumors that come from star-shaped cells that make up the supportive tissue in the brain called astrocytes, according to the American Brain Tumor Association.

The tumors can be classified as high-grade or low-grade. Sommerer's tumor was low-grade, meaning it was localized and growing slowly. 

"And then he had to go through two years of chemo, a year of radiation, back on chemotherapy and then when he was five, they noticed that basically, the treatments were not working so he had to have an operation to remove a brain tumor on his optic nerves," Manzie said.

The surgery left Sommerer visually impaired.

"His right eye, it is just light and dark and his left eye is just like no side to side. just a very narrow field of view," Michael Sommerer Sr. said.

Sommerer's visual impairment has made everything just a little more difficult for him, especially in school.

"Like learning how to do different things, for example in math because it's a lot of graphing and pictures and different things like that," Sommerer said.

Now, Sommerer's family is asking for help getting special glasses. These glasses are extremely high-tech and make life a lot easier for people with unique impairments. 

"A pair of glasses with a camera in the middle, and there is a lense on the inside that's right in front of both eyes, and they can zoom in," Michael Sr. said.

The glasses have a steep price point - $10,000.

"He has a GoFundMe page and we are just trying to get a little help because they are expensive and insurance doesn't cover them," Manzie said.

If you want to donate, you can click here.

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