Gene Purdie looks like just another guy. He has a steady job, a gorgeous wife named Joy, and Lincoln, an adorable son. He likes to cook dinners for his family, spend time with his wife and play with his son. But Gene sees the world a little differently from us. Gene has Stargardt disease, which causes progressive damage to the macula, the part of the retina that is responsible for keeping your vision straight and sharp. This means that if you have Stargardt disease, you would probably be able to see out of your peripheral vision, but anything in the central part of your eyesight would be blurry.
Although he was born with this disease, Gene’s vision deteriorated over time and it wasn’t until he was 16 that he was formally diagnosed. Being a teenager is hard enough, but despite losing the majority of his eyesight at such a developmental time, Gene handled it so well that many couldn’t even tell that his eyesight was getting progressively worse.
In fact, Gene hasn’t let his disease get in the way of his life at all. Sixteen years after his diagnosis, Gene met Joy and they instantly fell in love — well, not instantly!