Researchers were mystified by the boy from Des Moines born without retinas. Strangers and friends were mesmerized by his luminescent, aquamarine eyes. Retina Boy grew up to be a carefree teenager. He played amazing lead guitar in an awesome, classic rock cover band. His girlfriend, Marcy, though unable to walk, was the smartest kid in their school. They were a perfect pair—she was his eyes and he was her legs. Never did Retina Boy imagine he was from another planet, and that he and Marcy would be called upon to save the Earth and an alien world of blind inhabitants on the brink of environmental collapse.
From the Author, Ben Shaberman: This book is dedicated to all individuals and families with challenging visual impairments. I am especially grateful to those with retinal degenerative diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa, Leber congenital amaurosis, Usher syndrome, Stargardt disease, and age-related macular degeneration. As a writer for the Foundation Fighting Blindness, I've had the privilege of interviewing dozens of people and families impacted by these retinal conditions. While I fully embrace the Foundation's mission to eradicate all retinal degenerative diseases, Retina Boy is an homage to those who persevere and thrive despite having few treatments or cures for their vision loss. Their courage, resourcefulness, and resilience have been incredibly inspiring for me. They are my heroes.
(Ben is the senior director, scientific outreach and community engagement at the Foundation Fighting Blindness.)