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Blind Bride Blindfolds Wedding Guests

Blind bride Lucy Edwards and her husband Ollie CaveLucy Edwards has been blind since age 17.  Wanting her wedding guests to experience what it was like to "walk in Lucy's shoes" and experience her special day the way she was experiencing it, Lucy and her now husband Ollie Cave opted to put blindfolds on all of their wedding guests.

The result was not a dry eye in the house -- though it might have been a bit hard to detect the tears behind all of the blindfolds.  Lucy and Ollie even shared their planning and execution of this novel approach on the Good Morning Britain TV show.

I lost my sight at 17 years old and I blindfolded my wedding guests so they could experience the day like I did - they all had goosebumps

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London Hospital Denies Admission To Blind Mother With Sick Baby

Blind woman - Dr Amy KavanaghDr. Amy Kavanagh, 34, a historian who happens to be blind, tried to take her baby to West Middlesex University Hospital.  However, a security guard "kept shouting 'no dogs' at me and my partner", since Kavanagh had a guide dog named Ava.  Other patients and staff attempted to intervene.

The baby had a viral infection, and fortunately recovered.

Blind woman with ill baby denied access to London hospital

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7 Steps After Vision Loss

Book - Causes and Coping with Visual Impairment and BlindnessYou or your loved one have recently suffered significant vision loss, perhaps with further loss predicted.  How do you cope?

Here are the seven steps you should expect in the process of adapting to your vision loss:
  1. Trauma (physical or social)
  2. Shock and denial
  3. Mourning and withdrawal
  4. Succumbing and depression
  5. Reassessment and reaffirmation
  6. Coping and mobilization
  7. Self-acceptance and self-esteem
Coping with Visual Impairment

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Israel's Success In Fighting Blindness

Israeli flagEven as Israel has fought Hamas in the last few days, it has already achieved remarkable success in fighting various causes of blindness.  Israel has taken measures to reduce age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, optic atrophy, and cataract.  These measures have proven successful, as indicated by the rate of blindness decreasing 25% from 2009 to 2020.

Much of this decline was seen in the first 5 years, after which the levels of these eye issues plateaued.  The cause of blindness with the most sustained decline was Diabetic retinopathy (DR).

Time Trends of Etiologies of Blindness in Israel 2009-2020:Have Methods to Decrease Leading Causes of Blindness Been Exhausted?

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October Is Blindness Awareness Month

Blindness awareness month Oct 2023October 2023 is Blindness Awareness Month.  According to the WHO, 2.2 billion people worldwide have blindness or some sort of visual impairment.  Interestingly, 1 billion of those either could have been prevented or have not yet been treated.

As part of Blindness Awareness Month, here are five easy things you can do to maintain your eye health:
  1. Limit your sugar intake
  2. ​Wash your hands often and thoroughly
  3. ​Wear sunglasses
  4. Limit your electronic device time and take frequent breaks
  5. Get an eye exam
Blindness Awareness Month

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5 Amazing Navigation and Accessibility Devices

Navigation appPeople who are blind or visually impaired now have an array of incredible apps, wearable devices, headsets, canes, and other technologies to help them "see", read, navigate, identify objects, find objects, get alerted to obstacles and danger, and much more.

Below are 5 such devices we've found that we hope will benefit you in some significant ways.

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Amazing Navigation and Accessibility Devices #1

Evelity appEvelity is a fantastic app enabling folks who have a visual impairment to find their way around in indoor, complex venues like museums, malls, and universities.  The app functions similarly to GPS.

Evelity is compatible with VoiceOver and TalkBack, so it offers audio instructions to blind and visually impaired people to guide them step by step to where they need to go. Users may easily find key locations such as a reception desk or bathroom even if they are unfamiliar with the environment.


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Amazing Navigation and Accessibility Devices #2

Clew appClew is an outstanding free app for blind and visually impaired people, enabling them to retrace their path and return to any location.  Users can choose to return to a location via voice directions, sound effects, or haptic feedback.

Here's how it works:  As the user walks to a location, their phone tracks the route by leaving virtual breadcrumbs.  Upon arrival, their phone enables the user to retrace their path using "keypoints" -- locations where the user turned or went up or down stairs.  As the user returns, their phone provides directions to each keypoint, in reverse order, until the user reaches the starting point.

Features include:
  • Record a path with a simple click
  • Pause any time
  • Use Clew to retrace your path
  • Visualize the path with flashing markers
  • Select from voice directions, sound, or haptic feedback
  • Lots of ways to customize the app to your needs

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Amazing Navigation and Accessibility Devices #3

BlindSquareBlindSquare is an incredible app for blind and visually impaired users. It works in conjunction with 3rd party navigation apps, BlindSquare has voice functionality which articulates points of interest, intersections, and more, both indoors and outdoors.

Here are some of BlindSquare's key features:
  1. After determining your location, BlindSquare gathers information about your surroundings on Foursquare and OpenStreetMap.
  2. Algorithms determine what information is most useful to you such as popular restaurants, stores, public transportation spots, and more.
  3. Users can shake their phone to hear their current address and details about the nearest intersections and venues.
  4. BlindSquare tracks the user's destination and periodically announces the distance and direction.
  5. Users can put a pin in their location so they can easily find their way back..
  6. Filters can be applied to provide only needed information to prevent the user from being overwhelmed by details on their surroundings.
  7. Users can denote their saved places and Foursquare venues as Favorites and BlindSquare will always notify the user once they have arrived.
  8. Favorites will be saved in iCloud and synced to all iOS devices for device consistency.
  9. BlindSquare uses Acapela voices in English plus lots of other languages to announce information about the user's environment even when their phone is tucked away for a hands-free experience.

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Amazing Navigation and Accessibility Devices #4

Echobatix appEchobatix is an incredible app which enables blind and visually impaired users to do 2 main things:

Explore:  The user can point at a device, for example, a washing machine panel.  The app will read aloud the words it finds, so that the user can operate the device - in this case the washing machine.

Find:  The user can say a word or phrase for the app to find.  It will then direct the user to they can point to or touch that word/phrase.  For example, the user can ask for the word "popcorn" on a microwave panel, and the app will guide them to press the Popcorn button.

Echobatix 1.0 for iOS in the App Store

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Amazing Navigation and Accessibility Devices #5

Grandfather and granddaughter with OrcamOrCam has two incredible accessibility products which allow blind and visually impaired people to read and see.
  1. OrCam MyEye:  An intuitive AI device which is attached to the user's eyeglasses, enabling them to read, magnify, identify faces, and identify products.
  2. OrCam Read: A handheld version of OrCam.

Both products incorporate an interactive AI Assistant, so the user can simply say "Hey OrCam", followed by their voice command.


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Guess Which Blind Person Won An Oscar!

Helen KellerHelen Keller, the most famous and revered deafblind person in history, received an Academy Award for the 1955 documentary about her life called “Helen Keller in Her Story.”

But there's more!

Who is the only famous person to receive an Academy Award for appearing in a documentary about her life – and then have somebody else win an Oscar for portraying her in a different movie about her life?

Yes, that's Helen Keller too.  

In 1962, 16-year-old Patty Duke got an Oscar for best supporting actress for her portrayal of young Helen Keller in “The Miracle Worker,” the story of how teacher Anne Sullivan helped Keller break though the barriers of deafblindness and learn to communicate. Incidentally, Anne Bancroft, who played Anne Sullivan, won the best actress Oscar.

Helen Keller’s forgotten Oscar

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Important Blindness Stats

Map of US with blindness statsHere are some of the most important statistics relating to blindness and visual impairment in the U.S., according to the CDC:
  1. 7 million+ Americans have vision loss or blindness
  2. 6 million+ Americans have vision loss
  3. 1 million+ have blindness
  4. 1.6 million+ Americans with vision loss or blindness are younger than 40
  5. 350,000+ people with vision loss or blindness live in group quarters (e.g., nursing homes, prisons, etc.)
  6. 20% of people 85 + years old have permanent vision loss
  7. More females than males have permanent vision loss or blindness
  8. More Hispanics/Latinos and Blacks than Whites have vision loss
  9. Maine has the lowest rate of vision loss (1.3%)
  10. West Virginia has the highest (3.6%)

Prevalence Estimates – Vision Loss and Blindness

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Client Success Story: Celebrating Kevin’s Journey!
Condition: Glaucoma

Kevin with white caneJoin us in celebrating Kevin's incredible journey of resilience and personal growth! Kevin's story is an inspiration to us all, as he continues to overcome challenges and embrace new opportunities at San Diego Center for the Blind.

What caused Kevin’s visual impairment?
Kevin's vision deteriorated over the course of a few months to the point where he could no longer drive himself to work, the culprit was Glaucoma. After consulting with his doctor, he underwent multiple surgeries to alleviate the pressure in his eyes. Unfortunately, the outcome was disappointing: Kevin can see blurry high contrast colors and shadows in his left eye and a "thick white fog" in his right eye.

How did Kevin’s everyday life change since his vision loss?
As a result of his vision impairment, here’s how Kevin’s life changed:
  • He could no longer drive his car or watch his favorite shows
  • He could no longer work as a delivery truck driver
  • His wife had to take on more roles, including becoming his caregiver
  • His 4 children also had to adjust to all these changes
  • He had to learn multiple new skills to maintain his independence
Luckily, Kevin’s family was very supportive of him, especially when it came to his biggest challenge: Learning to gain more independence despite the loss of his vision.

How did Kevin find San Diego Center for the Blind (SDCB)?

Despite his changing vision, Kevin's spirit remained unbroken. He sought assistance and, referred by his doctor, Kevin found support and guidance at the San Diego Center for the Blind.

What services at SDCB did Kevin receive?
Kevin took a proactive approach to reaching his goals, as well as enhancing his journey to independence further by participating in a variety of programs, including:
  • SDCB assistive technology classes: To help him learn how to utilize screen reader software to potentially allow him to land a job in the future.
  • SDCB Orientation & Mobility training: Also known as “cane class” to learn how to utilize the long white cane to avoid obstacles on the ground, cross streets, board elevators and escalators, and mitigate risks of any potential dangers while maintaining his orientation to his surroundings.
  • SDCB Braille courses: Braille is a crucial tool for blind and visually impaired people by providing them with a means to access written information.
Given the challenges associated with his vision, guess what amazing adventure Kevin accomplished?!
Once Kevin gained confidence about learning how to navigate the world without vision and felt more independent, Kevin and his wife, Arli, were able to travel to Germany to meet their first grandchild last winter. He successfully traveled abroad, independently navigating streets, crowds, and countless obstacles utilizing his skills and long white cane.

What does Kevin hope for the future?
His personal goal is to return to work as soon as possible.

Our kudos to Kevin!
Let us come together to celebrate Kevin's journey and commend him for his dedication to personal growth. His story reminds us that there are no limits to what we can achieve when we embrace new opportunities with determination and a positive mindset.

Congratulations, Kevin, on your remarkable achievements and for inspiring us all with your resilience and thirst for knowledge!

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What Causes Animals To Become Blind?

Blind mole ratInterestingly, animals become blind for reasons similar to those which cause humans to become blind.  Also, humans fall near the middle of the visual spectrum of animals, meaning that about as many species see better than we do as see worse than we do.

The kauaʻi cave wolf spider, olm and the Mexican tetra are examples of animals that are born without eyes, while others like the mole rat have eyes but are typically blind.

Here are the main reasons why animals become blind.  Clearly all of these affect humans too!
  1. Cataracts
  2. Glaucoma
  3. Infant blindness
  4. Color blindness
Blindness in animals

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10 National Organizations Helping The Blind

Braille handsHere are ten great associations which provide help for blind and visually impaired people throughout the U.S.:
  1. American Council of the Blind (ACB):  Promotes the independence, security, equality of opportunity, and quality of life, for all blind and visually-impaired people
  2. American Diabetes Association:  Provides funding for research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes
  3. American Foundation for the Blind (AFB):  Enables those with vision loss to achieve their full potential
  4. Blinded Veterans Association:  Improves life for blind vets
  5. Foundation Fighting Blindness:  Facilitates research to provide preventions, treatments and cures for those with retinal degenerative diseases
  6. Guide Dogs for the Blind:  Facilitates partnerships between blind people and dogs
  7. Lighthouse Guild:  Offers prevention, treatment and empowerment for those with vision loss
  8. Lions Club International:  Worldwide organization performing community service
  9. National Federation of the Blind (NFB):  Advocates for the civil rights and equality of Americans with blindness and visual disabilities
  10. Southeastern Guide Dogs:  Nurtures the relationship between visually impaired individuals and their guide dogs
Associations Aiding the Blind and Visually Impaired

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Best 8 Books About Blindness

Open bookHere are 8 of the best fiction and non-fiction books about blindness and visual impairment.  Most are available as audiobooks.
1.     All the Light We Cannot See  
2.     The Story of My Life – Helen Keller Autobiography
3.     Molly Burke Autobiography
4.     Lion’s Story by Roy Kumpe
5.     Now I see You
6.     Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of 7.     The Unseen Trail
8.     Touch the Top of the World

Blindness in Literature: Best Nonfiction and Fiction

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How Your Other Senses React To Blindness

CT scan machine and brain imagesA study by Mass. Eye and Ear concludes that those who are blind at birth or before age 3 have new connections made in their brains which significantly enhance their other senses - hearing, touch, taste, and smell, as well as cognitive functions such as memory and language.

A study used 3 types of brain scans to show that people who lost their site early or at birth have significant differences in their brains from normally sighted individuals of the same age.  These brain changes permit the other non-sight senses to function at a heightened level.

Rewiring Potential

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The 5 Stages Of Grief After Vision Loss

Man with headset at computer screenWhen someone is told, usually by a doctor, that they are losing their vision and perhaps may go blind, it is natural that a range of emotions follows.  These emotions may pertain to the person themselves, their friends, family, and colleagues.  They may relate to the practical aspects of how their life will change, including dependence upon others.  Most importantly, these emotions can get to the heart of not just how the person thinks about their vision loss, but how they feel.

Here are the five stages of grief that typically follow the the awareness of impending vision loss:
  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance
Good mental health: Sight loss and the five stages of grief

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5 Best Technologies For The Visually Impaired

Technology word graphicThe 2.2 billion visually impaired people in the world can benefit immeasurably from each of these five amazing technologies:
  1. Audio Navigation Systems: Smart Canes For The Legally Blind: Smart canes, in conjunction with a smartphone app, guide the user, provide directions, identify and warn of obstacles, and describe places and objects,.
  2. VR Low Vision E-glasses: Virtual reality glasses, goggles, or headsets - even gloves or bodysuits - provide low vision users with an enhanced and magnified picture of their surroundings,
  3. AR Low Vision E-glasses: Augmented reality glasses go to the next level by combining the user's real surroundings with generated perceptual information related to it, in a panoramic view.
  4. AI Tech: Applications For The Blind And Visually Impaired: Artificial intelligence (AI) technology enable low vision users to read, analyze pictures, navigate, and live independently.  For example, they use facial recognition to identify faces in real life, videos, or photos.
  5. IoT: Building A Smart Home For The Visually Impaired: The Internet of Things (IoT) permits visually impaired users to interact with and control numerous items in their home, car, and elsewhere.  They can operate lights, kitchen appliances, locks, and more with voice commands and other types of prompts.

Top 5 Assistive Technologies for the Well-being of the Blind and Visually Impaired

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Blind Woman Swims Across Lake Geneva

/Blind swimmer Melanie BarrattMelanie Barratt became the first blind person to swim across Lake Geneva, the largest lake in Switzerland.  Together with her relay teammates, who alternated swimming one hour at a time, they traversed the 44 mile lake in 27 hours, 36 minutes and 19 seconds.

47-year old Melanie was born with congenital toxoplasmosis, a rare condition resulting in severe visual impairment.  She won gold medals in swimming at the Paralympics in 1996 and 2000.  During her Lake Geneve swim, she communicated with her team using special bone-conducting headphones.

During the nighttime portion of the swim, her teammates could completely empathize with how Melanie had to deal with lengthy swims without being able to see anything, and just how challenging that was.

Lake Geneva: Blind woman completes epic Lake Geneva swim

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Judi Dench Is Losing Her Sight

Judi DenchOscar winning British actress Dame Judi Dench is no longer able to see on movie sets.  At 88 years old, Dench has age-related macular degeneration.  She also cannot read her scripts, instead relying on friends to help her read and rehearse.  Fortunately she has a good memory.

Dench and her partner of 13 years David Mills recently attended the coronation of King Charles III in London.

Judi Dench says she can no longer see on film sets


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Meet The One-Eyed Artist: Ellie

Flux CommissionCondition: Glaucoma and cataracts which led to the loss of sight in her left eye.

What term or descriptive do you use to refer to your vision impairment?
- My glaucoma and cataracts combination resulted in me losing sight in my left eye all together, so I refer to myself as a cyclops as a way of making light of the situation. I’ve made it a part of my identity as the “one eyed” artist and it’s been really fun to play with that narrative.

What obstacles have you been able to overcome despite your vision impairment?
- There’s so many! The biggest one is driving. Growing up (I lost my sight around age 10) I just never saw operating a vehicle a part of my future. Ultimately, I took the driver’s test and I can remember that moment being the most scared I had ever been. The instructor noticed, saw my notes, called me a pirate, which made me cry. I think he was trying to make a funny joke to lighten the situation but I was about to drive a car on the freeway for the first time with one working eyeball so it was just bad timing lol. I’ve been a licensed driver for over 10 years now, and while some times of the day are really difficult (driving at night, lack of depth perception, not the greatest combination), I try not to let my lack of vision keep me from experiencing life. Although, I do rely on Uber a lot more these days!
- Painting can also be difficult because it’s hard to tell when the brush actually hits the canvas but when the project is finally finished, I am so proud of myself for pushing through.

Given the challenges associated with your vision, of which accomplishments are you most proud?
- Really just persevering through all the bullying I endured when I was younger. Continuing to create and elevate my art both on canvas and through makeup. I always get compliments on my makeup skills and when they ask how I learned, It’s honestly due to losing my sight! I wanted people to focus on the artistry versus the wandering eye. The more I distracted them with glitter and eyeliner, they more beautiful I felt and less un-even. These days, I don’t care as much about my wandering eye but thanks to it not staying symmetrical with the other, I taught myself how to do makeup really well.

What's one piece of advice you'd give to someone that is blind or visually impaired?
- Have patience with yourself and don’t be too stubborn to ask for help. Also, understand that not everyone will realize you have a vision impairment and if you don’t acknowledge them and they get upset, that’s their problem not yours. Almost everyday someone will get annoyed with me because they think I am ignoring them but, really, it’s because they’re on my bad side! We all just need to be more understanding and empathize as much as possible. You never know what someone else is going through, or even if they can see you. Sorry, that was 3 pieces!

What's your favorite daily living tip that would be helpful for others?
- Lately I’ve been giving myself time to decompress and forgive myself if I go too slow. Be it walking, driving, or even getting out of the house in the morning. Being half blind, sometimes I can’t tell if there’s a step or if the floor is flat so going fast is unappealing. This can be translated to life in general I feel, because you gotta give yourself time to experience things. Living in a western society, we are taught to always hustle and having multiple jobs is admired. Lack of sleep means you’re doing really well because you’re working on your craft or making more money but we all need to slow down a little bit and give the machine a rest. Don’t burn out before you find your joy!

What else would you like our readers to know?
- That I at one point was very mean to myself. Now, I find that people are a lot less judgmental and through social media there has been great representation of people with various disabilities and physical challenges. We are now a community with quick access to education, which lessens the stigma around being blind. If you’re insecure or shy about any type of physical difference you feel you might have, know that you simply existing and enjoying life can literally give someone out there a sliver of hope to do the same. One of my favorite quotes from a movie called “Party Monster” is “If you have a hunchback, just put a little glitter on it honey, go dancing!” Celebrate yourself every chance you get.

Instagram @Oneeyedlauren

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Should Blind People Rely on Sighted People Or Technology For Help?

Eye with vertical lineIf you are blind or visually impaired, you are probably aware of at least some of the amazing apps and technology to help you "see" what's in your environment.  Your phone has a magnifier to you can more easily read small font and see small objects.  It also has text-to-speech and reverse capabilities.

The Be My Eyes app enables you to use your phone to scan unfamiliar objects, and then have them interpreted for you by a sighted volunteer, or now, AI.  The list goes on.  These technologies help the blind and visually impaired to live a fulfilled life with the maximum amount of independence.

However, sometimes it's actually preferable to abandon those technologies and instead, accept help from your friends, family, and colleagues.  After all, they care about you, want to help you, and probably get satisfaction from doing so.  Plus, they add a human and personal touch missing from technology solutions.  And bring you and them closer together.

I Have a Choice to Make About My Blindness

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The Impact Of Diabetes On Blindness

EyeFor those who have diabetes, it can be sight-threatening.  Diabetic retinopathy is a significant complication resulting from diabetes, both Type I and Type II.  It can cause vision loss and blindness.  Estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO) show that of the 37 million cases of blindness globally, diabetic retinopathy is responsible for 4.8%.

In the cited study, conducted with 449 type II diabetic patients, 3.8% were blind.

Blindness among Patients with Type II Diabetes Mellitus Presenting to the Outpatient Department of Ophthalmology of a Tertiary Care Centre: A Descriptive Cross-sectional Study

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What's The Difference Between A Guide Dog And A Service Dog?

  • Seeing eye dogGuide dogs provide "eyes" for folks who are blind or visually impaired
  • Service dogs provide assistance for those with disabilities other than blindness
Read the posts below for tips on how to treat guide dogs and service dogs when you encounter them.


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Guide Dog Etiquette (part 1)

Guide dogsHere are some hints on what to do and what not to do when you see a person with a guide dog or service dog:
  • Do not touch, talk to, feed or otherwise distract the dog while he is wearing his harness or vest
  • Don't treat the dog as a pet; he is doing a job
  • Speak to the handler, not the dog
  • If you ask the handler to pet the dog, don’t be offended if they say no
  • It's the handler's job to tell the dog what to do, not yours
  • Always yield right of way to guide and service dogs and their handlers
  • Comply with any requests made by the handler
  • When walking with a guide or service dog team, you should not walk on the dog's left side, as it may become distracted or confused

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Guide Dog Etiquette (part 2)

Guide dogsHere are some hints on what to do and what not to do when you see a person with a guide dog or service dog:
  • Don't try to grab or steer the person while the dog is guiding or attempt to hold the dog's harness
  • Try not to be overprotective or overbearing when the graduate first arrives home with the new dog
  • Be patient while a new guide or service dog gets acclimated to their job and handler
  • Never give the dog table scraps
  • Don't permit anyone to tease or abuse the dog
  • Don't allow your or other pets to challenge or intimidate a guide dog
  • A guide and service dog should not jump on furniture or go in areas of a home not mutually agreed upon by the family or handler
  • Never let the dog out of the house unsupervised, and be sure that all doors and/or gates are left closed

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Discrimination Against The Blind

Blind training session with canesTony Addison, who is blind, has experienced several instances of discrimination because of his blindness.  Here are some notable examples:
  • He was expelled from a gym for "staring" at a woman, even though he had his cane folded in his lap, visible to both her and the gym employees.
  • He was asked to leave a pub after tripping on a stair which he didn't see - after just one drink.
  • Nearly denied entry to a bar because bar employees assumed that his grabbing his friend's arm meant that he was drunk, even though his friend was simply guiding him.
  • He was kicked out of class by a substitute teacher after asking for his work to be put on a laptop rather than on paper.
Blind man says he was kicked out of gym for 'staring' at woman

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Blind Tennis

Blind TennisIf you've enjoyed Wimbledon the last two weeks, you might be wondering if there's a variation of tennis for blind or visually impaired folks.  Actually, there is!

It's called blind tennis, or soundball tennis.  It's typically played on a tennis court or a badminton court.  Players use a junior tennis racket, along with a spongy ball which makes a noise when it bounces, so players can locate it.  The ball is either fluorescent yellow or black, to provide maximum contrast with the surrounding colors.

The rules are virtually the same as regular tennis.  However, visually impaired players are permitted two bounces (much like wheelchair tennis players), while blind players are allowed two bounces.  You can play singles or doubles.

Blind Tennis

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15 Incredible Movies About Blindness

Ray CharlesHere are 15 great movies that depict main characters who are blind or visually impaired - and are amazing to watch:

15. Ray (2004)
14. Ichi (2008)
13. Julia's Eyes (2010)
12. Blind (2011)
11. Book of Eli (2010)
10. Butterflies Are Free (1972)
9. At First Sight (1999)
8. Love and Honor (2006)
7. Blindsight (2006)
6. The Masseurs and a Woman (1938)
5. Proof (1991)
4. A Patch of Blue (1965)
3. Life on a String (1991)
2. The Eye (2002)
1. The Miracle Worker (1962)

15 Awesome Movies That Actually Understand Blindness

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Can Your Vision Improve?

Vision lossIf your vision isn't 20/20, or you are even visually impaired, it's natural to wonder if your vision will worsen.  But can your vision actually improve, reversing vision loss?  There actually are some types of vision loss that can improve naturally.

Here are a few things you can do to improve your vision -- or at least halt or slow its decline:
  • Eat Healthy, including
    • Carrots
    • Leafy greens
    • Broccoli
    • Sweet potato
    • Oranges and other citrus fruits
    • Strawberries
    • Red peppers
    • Spinach
    • Omega-3 essential fatty acids
    • Eye Exercises and Resting
  • Regular Eye Exams
Is it Scientifically Possible to Improve Eyesight Naturally?

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Guidelines For Helping The Blind and Visually Impaired (Intro)
General Guidelines

Man offering to help a blind womanHere are some general guidelines on helping blind and visually impaired people :
  1. Ask before offering help and don't be offended if it's refused
  2. Provide specific instructions with lots of detail
  3. Just because someone is using a white cane doesn't mean that they are blind
  4. In some places a person is accompanied by a guide dog but the animal must never be distracted; sometimes the dog gets attention and the owner is ignored
  5. When ending a conversation, always announce that you are leaving so your partner is not left hanging

Assisting the Blind and Visually Impaired: Guidelines for Eye Health Workers and Other Helpers

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Guidelines For Helping The Blind and Visually Impaired (Pt. 1 of 7)
Approach and Attitudes

Man offering to help a blind womanHere are some tips on the appropriate approach and attitude toward helping blind and visually impaired people :
  1. Always treat a blind person normally; speak first and introduce yourself
  2. Shake hands only if a hand is offered
  3. It is also politeness to look at him/her during conversation and adopt the same level of position, e.g., sit or stand
  4. Do not be afraid of using normal language and include words like ‘look’, ‘see’, ‘read’, remembering that blind and visually impaired people have exactly the same vocabulary as sighted people
  5. Explain noises and silences and do not shout
  6. Do not expect or invite others to speak for blind people. Do not be afraid to ‘touch’ but be sensitive to cultural differences

Assisting the Blind and Visually Impaired: Guidelines for Eye Health Workers and Other Helpers

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Guidelines For Helping The Blind and Visually Impaired (Pt. 2 of 7)
Narrow Spaces

Man helping woman through narrow aisleHere are some tips on helping blind and visually impaired people navigate narrow spaces or single file:
  1. Tell your partner about the change in surroundings;  move your guiding arm towards the middle of your own back
  2. Your partner should step behind you, still holding your arm; together you will be able to negotiate a narrow space or single file
Assisting the Blind and Visually Impaired: Guidelines for Eye Health Workers and Other Helpers

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Guidelines For Helping The Blind and Visually Impaired (Pt. 3 of 7)

Woman helping another woman through a doorwayHere are some tips on helping blind and visually impaired people navigate doors:
  1. Take it slowly
  2. Tell your partner if the door opens towards or away from them
  3. Go through the door with your partner on the hinge side
  4. Open the door with your guiding arm; your partner should place their hand against the door to feel the handle
  5. They should follow you through the door and close it behind both of you
Assisting the Blind and Visually Impaired: Guidelines for Eye Health Workers and Other Helpers

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Guidelines For Helping The Blind and Visually Impaired (Pt. 4 of 7)

Man helping another man up the stairsHere are some tips on helping blind and visually impaired people navigate steps:
  1. Tell your partner whether the steps or slope go up or down; going down is more difficult than going up
  2. Give your partner ample time to hold the handrail securely and judge the first step carefully
  3. Go one step ahead and take a slightly longer stride on the last step to allow your partner space

Assisting the Blind and Visually Impaired: Guidelines for Eye Health Workers and Other Helpers

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Guidelines For Helping The Blind and Visually Impaired (Pt. 5 of 7)
Curbs and Roads

Woman helping a man to step over a curbHere are some tips on helping blind and visually impaired people navigate curbs and roads:
  1. Don't take risks
  2. Tell your partner if you are about to step up or down over a curb; pause before stepping
  3. Approach the curb together with your partner, with you both facing the curb at an equal distance from it
  4. Cross the road using the shortest distance and go straight across it
  5. Tell your partner if you are leaving them after crossing the road; ensure they know which way they are facing

Assisting the Blind and Visually Impaired: Guidelines for Eye Health Workers and Other Helpers


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Guidelines For Helping The Blind and Visually Impaired (Pt. 6 of 7)

Woman helping a man to find his chairHere are some tips on helping blind and visually impaired people while finding a seat:
  1. Don't guide a blind or visually impaired person backwards into a seat
  2. When guiding your partner to a seat, explain what type of seat it is –  chair, sofa, armchair, stool, etc.
  3. Have them release your arm and place their hand on the back or the seat of the chair
  4. Your partner should then be able to estimate the height of the seat and sit safely at their own pace

Assisting the Blind and Visually Impaired: Guidelines for Eye Health Workers and Other Helpers

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Guidelines For Helping The Blind and Visually Impaired (Pt. 7 of 7)

Helping a blind person enter a carHere are some tips on helping blind and visually impaired people while travelling:
  1. Tell your partner if they are entering the front or back seat of a vehicle
  2. Place your guiding hand on the door handle and allow them to slide their grip hand down your arm to the door handle
  3. With their other hand, the car roof can be noted and your partner can lower their head
  4. Exit the car before your partner and assist them getting out
  5. Tell them if there are wider than average gaps to walk over, especially on trains
  6. Lead your partner on and off public transportation
  7. Provide extra help with unstable modes of transportation such as boats, carts, etc.

Assisting the Blind and Visually Impaired: Guidelines for Eye Health Workers and Other Helpers

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Great Vision Loss Products For Seniors

Man using a signature guideHere are some broad categories of products that can be useful for visually impaired seniors, and others.  If you are looking for a gift for a visually impaired friend or loved one, this is a good place to start.
  1. Talking and Large Print Scales
  2. Talking and Large Print Thermometers
  3. Talking and Large Print Blood Pressure Monitors
  4. Accessible Blood Glucose Monitors
  5. Adaptive Technologies for Medication Identification and Management
  6. Adaptive Writing Instruments and Writing Aids
  7. Voice Recorders for Information Management
  8. Cooking Aids
  9. Telephone Aids
  10. Tandem Bikes
  11. Adaptive Products for Crafts
  12. Games and Word Puzzles
  13. Adaptive Technologies for the TV
Selecting Products for seniors with Vision Loss

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Vitamin D Deficiency Causes Cataracts

Man with a magnifying glass in front of his eyeA study shows that a lack of vitamin D, an antioxidant, is associated with a significantly greater risk of cataract, which is the loss of transparency of the eye's lens.  This is especially true in young adults.  More than 1 billion people worldwide are estimated to have vitamin D deficiency, often to to lack of exposure to sunlight.

The study also found that men have a higher level of vitamin D, perhaps because of more outdoor activity.

The only known treatments for cataracts are surgical.

Vitamin D Levels in Young Adult Cataract Patients: A Case-Control Study

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8 Great Tips For Blind People Who Cook

Cooking ingredientsIf you are blind or visually impaired, here are 8 hints to make cooking enjoyable, safe, and yummy:
  1. Organize your kitchen so you know exactly what goes where.
  2. Label foods with braille or large fonts.  Use tactile differentiators such as rubber bands.
  3. Use a tray to prep foods you are cooking -- ingredients and equipment on the left, things that have already been used on the right.
  4. Use nested measuring cups and spoons.
  5. Move dry ingredients into rigid, labeled plastic or glass containers.
  6. Have a wet towel available to clean fingers, countertops, and other messes.
  7. Be careful around boiling water, including adding ingredients to water before it boils.
  8. Try new things.  Use your imagination.
Eight cooking tips for people who are visually impaired

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Blind 21 Year Old Flies A Plane!

Blind pilot Kaiya Armstrong21-year-old Kaiya Armstrong dreams of being a pilot.  To turn that dream into reality, she is adapting a plane so she can fly from Phoenix to Washington.  These adaptations include:
  • A Braille map of the cockpit
  • Patriot Viewpoint wearable technology to magnify near and far vision
  • Using texture to identify cockpit controls by touch
  • Using sound to determine aircraft pitch and speed
  • Having a sighted guide as a copilot - mostly for taxiing
Adaptations for a Blind Pilot

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How Blind People Can Easily Use ATMs

ATM card being insertedThe U.S. has over 100,000 ATMs that are accessible to the blind and visually impaired, plus many more internationally.  This is required by law - the ADA to be specific.  There are two primary ways to use the accessibility features of these ATMs:
  1. Voice:  You can listen to voice commands by using your own headphones or ones provided by the bank.  The ATM can recognize your voice commands as well.
  2. Braille or raised keys:  The buttons om the ATM have Braille and/or are raised for easy access.  For example, the #5 key is raised so the user can easily use the rest of the number keypad.
Of course, these features can be useful to sighted customers as well.

ATMs for the Visually Impaired

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The Link Between Vision Loss And Depression

Elderely man sitting in support groupAccording to the CDC, 1 million Americans are blind and 7 million have vision loss.  Additionally, 93 million are at risk of significant vision loss.  Of course, blindness and vision loss affect ones sight, physical health, and quality of life.  But they also can have a big impact on these mental health issues:
  • Depression
  • Loneliness
  • Social isolation
  • Worry, anxiety, and fear
A recent study by the CDC shows that about 25% of adults with vision loss have depression or anxiety.

What We Know About Vision Loss and Mental Health

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How Blind People Swim

Swimming poolAlmost everyone loves to swim.  But swimming as a blind or visually impaired person can carry an added measure of anxiety.  How do I swim straight?  How to I know when I'm reaching the end of the pool?  How do I not drown?!

Here are 6 tips on how to swim safely if you are blind or visually impaired:
  1. If you hit the lane lines (brighter colors are better), adjust your trajectory.
  2. Intentionally tap the lane lines periodically to stay swimming straight.
  3. Try to swim in a lane all to yourself.
  4. Count the number of strokes so you know when you are reaching the other side of the pool.
  5. Have a tapper - someone who uses a long, foam pole to tap you as you near the end of the pool.
  6. Use a beeping device, radio or brightly colored beach towel to alert you to the end of the pool.
How Do Blind and Visually Impaired People Go Swimming?

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Fan Files Lawsuit Against LA Angels After Being Blinded From Ball Thrown By Player

Angels baseball stadiumLast season, David Mermelstein was seated in the outfield bleachers.  When the inning ended, Angels outfielder Juan Lagares threw the ball into the stands, intending it as a souvenir for a lucky fan.  However, he threw the ball hard, and it hit Mermelstein in the eye socket while he was eating peanuts.  As a result, he was blinded.

Mermelstein is suing for unspecified monetary damages, claiming the player and the Angels are liable since play had ended, and since the ball was thrown with such velocity.

Man Sues Angels After Being Blinded by Ball That Player Allegedly Threw Hard Into Crowd

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5 Tips On How To Explain Vision Loss To A Loved One

Couple dining blindfoldedHere are 5 tips from the Cleveland Clinic that can help explain vision loss to a loved one:
  1. Talk to your doctor
  2. Talk to others with a similar experience
  3. Get therapeutic counselling
  4. Understand the grieving process for both you and your loved one
  5. Learn to adapt through adjustment classes on how to be independent
5 tips from the Cleveland Clinic that can help explain vision loss to a loved one

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How To Tell If Your Infant or Toddler Is Visually Impaired

Toddler boy with glassesIf you suspect your baby or toddler might have vision issues or even be blind, of course the most important thing to do is to get them an eye exam.  Here are the most important early signs to look for which might indicate vision impairment or blindness:
  1. Misaligned eyes
  2. Pupils with white or grayish white color
  3. Eyes which flutter quickly from side to side or up and down
  4. Eye pain, itchiness, or discomfort
  5. Eye redness that doesn't go away in a few days
  6. Pus or crust
  7. Consistently watery eyes
  8. Drooping eyelids
  9. Eyes that often appear overly sensitive to light
Warning Signs of Vision Problems in Infants & Children

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