Brian Aston Making Progress, Working Toward Eyesight In This Lifetime

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Brian Aston

by Mark Neuman

We spoke recently with our friend Brian Aston. Readers may recall that Brian is the young man who quite suddenly lost almost all of his vision about eight years ago at the age of 20 (read our previous coverage here).

The reason: A genetic disease called Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON).

The Highline High School graduate recalled the day his sight began to go away, eight years ago.

“I was at a memorial golf tournament in memory of my father who had passed three years earlier. I was on the 18th hole. I drove the ball down the fairway, got in the cart and drove to my ball,” Brian said.

“When I reached my ball I then looked for the pin or flag to take my next shot and I could not find the flag. I was with my Stepdad and we were basically arguing back and forth about where the flag was and we eventually walked to where he said the flag was and suddenly about fifteen feet away from the flag it appeared right in front of me.

“Just like that, in a matter of moments, my left eye was almost completely blacked out.”

Sight in his right eye deteriorated months later.

Brian is, however, experiencing recent improvement in his eyesight.

“I’ve been taking a vitamin called Idebenone, and in the last six months I have improved my vision tremendously. I’m sitting in the same spot at home I was sitting in when I did my KING-5 interview (last spring) and I can now see the blue lights on my cable box.

“I can’t read the numbers from this far back, but instead of just a big black blurry blob I see the cable box, I see our stereo system, I see the subwoofer behind it all.

“Six months ago I would not have been able to work with the ease and normalcy that I’m working (with) now.

“In the eight years since I’ve lost my vision I’ve only held a normal job for about six months” Brian said. “I now see way well enough to take the bus to work every day.

“I take the bus from where I live in the Kent Valley to the Southcenter area where I work at a call center. When I started just a little over a month ago, my nose was almost touching the (computer) monitor so that I could read people’s names when a call comes up.

“Now I’m over a foot away,” Brian told us. “My detailed reading sight has improved greatly.”

Brian started wearing glasses about three weeks ago. He’s been involved in a genetic therapy study for almost a year now.

He and many others with LHON could use our help.

“The National Eye Institute is where the funding for our study comes from. We need to raise about $60,000 as soon as possible. An outside consultant needs to be hired to finish the paperwork that will be submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”

Rules prevent anybody directly involved with the study from writing the paperwork, which could amount to a thousand pages in length.

“So we have to hire a writer at a cost of a hundred grand,” Brian said.

“We need about $60,000. We need that money as soon as possible, so that we can get this guy hired and get the paperwork written and submitted to the FDA.”

The goal is to have the FDA come back with approval to begin human trials in the beginning of 2013.

For more information, go to Brian’s website:

Click on “Fundraising” to learn how to donate (direct link here).

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