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Looking at a book with and without glasses

On the eighth night of Hanukkah last year, Barry Honig saw light. He could see the shape of the menorah, the flames like fuzzy buds at the top of long sticks.

Honig owns and operates two businesses but hadn’t been able to see a menorah for 20 years. In his younger years, he could discern a brunette from a blonde or see the sun shimmering on a lake. But by his thirties, his ability to see detail had started to fade.

He was born with a retinal disorder called Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA). Inside his eyes, photoreceptors, the cells responsible for translating light, were dying off. It was as though someone had put a dimmer switch on his whole field of vision and dialed it way down.

In the spring of 2020, a friend mentioned a neurologist named Sheila Nirenberg, who was running a clinical trial that might restore vision in people with retinitis pigmentosa (RP), the greater category of disorders that LCA falls within. Honig emailed Nirenberg immediately.

Within minutes, Nirenberg replied: “What is your eye condition? Have you... see more