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3 Versions Of Geordi’s VISOR & Eyes In Star Trek Explained

Summary

  • Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge, a beloved character from Star Trek: The Next Generation, was blind since birth but used an advanced VISOR to see.
  • Geordi’s VISOR allowed him to see light in the infrared and ultraviolet ranges, and he could use it to evaluate unknown phenomena or transmit visuals to a viewscreen.
  • In later Star Trek movies and the series Star Trek: Picard, Geordi upgraded from his VISOR to ocular implants, providing him with telescopic vision and similar abilities to the VISOR.

Blind since birth, Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton) used an advanced VISOR to see on Star Trek: The Next Generation, before he eventually received upgraded ocular implants before Star Trek: First Contact. La Forge spent most of TNG serving as Chief Engineer on the USS Enterprise-D under the command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart). His lack of sight never slowed him down, and Geordi became an accomplished engineer who could devise creative solutions to nearly any problem. La Forge’s friendship with Lt. Commander Data (Brent Spiner) became one of Star Trek’s best friendships and Geordi remains one of Trek’s most beloved characters.

While still in the planning stages for TNG, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry expressed a desire to have a disabled character as one of the main cast members, and the character of Geordi La Forge was born. Although Geordi sometimes wished for traditional human sight, his VISOR allowed him to see elements of the world around him that were invisible to others. As technology in the world of Star Trek improved, Geordi eventually upgraded from his VISOR to advanced ocular implants sometime after the events of Star Trek Generations. These provided him with even more abilities than his VISOR and had a more streamlined look.

Related: Star Trek: The Next Generation Cast & Character Guide

Geordi’s VISOR In Star Trek: The Next Generation

Geordi La Forge’s most iconic look includes the VISOR that he wore throughout Star Trek: The Next Generation. This device did not provide Geordi with traditional human eyesight but did allow him to see light in the infrared and ultraviolet ranges. The VISOR connected to ports on either side of La Forge’s head, feeding visual information directly to his brain. After being born blind, Geordi received his first VISOR after his fifth birthday, and he continued to wear a version of it for much of his life. Despite its helpfulness, the VISOR also caused Geordi (and LeVar Burton in real life) near-constant pain and, in rare circumstances, could be tampered with by enemies.

The original design for Geordi’s VISOR was based on a plastic banana hair clip.

In some of Geordi La Forge’s best Star Trek episodes, his VISOR proved to help evaluate unknown phenomena or new alien species. Geordi could not only detect people’s perspiration and body temperature but could also transmit the view from his VISOR to a viewscreen. La Forge could also connect to a probe using the ports on his temples and view the probe’s readings. In desperate situations, Geordi could remove his VISOR and use its electronic elements to create a tracker, as in TNG season 3, episode 7, “The Enemy,” or to emit a hypersonic pulse, as in TNG season 6, episode 18, “Starship Mine.”

Geordi’s Ocular Implants In Star Trek: TNG Movies & Star Trek: Picard

Between Star Trek Generations and Star Trek: First Contact, La Forge replaced his VISOR with ocular implants. In TNG season 2, episode 5, “Loud as a Whisper,” Dr. Katherine Pulaski (Diana Muldaur) offered to perform surgery to replace Geordi’s VISOR with ocular implants, but Geordi declined. At the time, the technology for the implants could not provide the same range of vision as La Forge’s VISOR. By the time Geordi decided to get the implants, the technology had advanced so that the ocular implants provided even more abilities than the VISOR.

At first glance, the implants looked like vibrant blue human eyes, but on closer inspection, they were covered in small dots and lines. The implants provided Geordi with telescopic vision and the ability to see similar infrared and ultraviolet ranges as the VISOR. LeVar Burton himself proposed the idea to introduce ocular implants, as the VISOR not only negatively affected the actor’s sight, but also caused headaches. The contacts Burton wore in the last three TNG films and in Star Trek: Picard not only eliminated these issues but also allowed Burton more range to act using his eyes.

Geordi’s Eyes Healed In Star Trek: Insurrection

Star Trek Insurrection Geordi La Forge Eyes LeVar Burton-1

In Star Trek: Insurrection, Geordi found himself granted normal human vision thanks to the healing properties of the Briar Patch. When Captain Picard and his crew travel to the planet of the Ba’ku to investigate a malfunctioning Data, they soon discover that the region of space the planet Ba’ku is located in has regenerative properties. The rings of the Ba’ku planet contain metaphasic particles that produce healing radiation. While exposed to the radiation, most humanoids experience increased metabolism and energy levels and find any injuries or disabilities to be healed.

La Forge had seen with normal vision at least once before, in TNG season 1, episode 10, “Hide and Q.” When Q (John de Lancie) returns to the Enterprise-D, he temporarily grants Commander William Riker (Jonathan Frakes) his powers and Riker offers Geordi the chance to see. Although Geordi gets a brief glimpse of his crewmates, he ultimately turns down Riker’s offer.

While on the planet, La Forge begins experiencing headaches, and Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) soon discovers that Geordi’s optic nerves have begun to repair themselves. The metaphasic radiation allows Geordi to view things like a sunrise with normal human vision, but only while he remains on the Ba’ku planet. When no longer exposed to the radiation, Geordi once again needed his ocular implants. Geordi La Forge’s VISOR made him one of the most recognizable characters from Star Trek: The Next Generation, but he remains a great character regardless of his eyewear.

  • Star Trek the Next Generation Poster

    Star Trek: The Next Generation

    Release Date:
    1987-09-28

    Cast:
    Patrick Stewart, michael dorn, Marina Sirtis

    Genres:
    Sci-Fi, Superhero, Drama, Action

    Seasons:
    7

    Story By:
    Gene Roddenberry

    Writers:
    Gene Roddenberry

    Network:
    CBS

    Streaming Service:
    Amazon Prime Video

    Franchise(s):
    Star Trek

    Directors:
    David Carson

    Showrunner:
    Gene Roddenberry

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