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How To Tell If You Are Losing Your Vision

Eyeglasses on an eye chart"Vision loss" means losing one's ability to see properly without corrective measures like glasses, contacts, or eye surgery.

Here are some things you might have trouble with if you are experiencing vision loss:
  • reading mail
  • watching TV
  • signing your name
  • paying bills
  • walking up and down stairs
  • recognizing people
  • seeing things clearly without squinting
Vision Loss

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Posted in Vision Loss | View Post

How To Cope With Vision Loss

Living With Vision LossLosing one's sight can be devastating.  Particularly difficult can be the emotional toll, and adapting to activities of daily life, including getting around.

Here are some of the first steps you should take to cope with your vision loss:
  • Learn more about your vision diagnosis and prognosis.
  • Get therapeutic counseling, particularly for loneliness, helplessness, anxiety and depression.
  • Understand the grieving process your loss of sight has initiated.
  • Investigate assistive devices and training.

Here are some of the low-vision assistive devices to consider:
  • Telescopic glasses
  • Lenses that filter light
  • Magnifying glasses
  • Hand magnifiers
  • Closed-circuit television
  • Reading prism
Vision Loss: Coping

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Posted in First Steps After Vision Loss | View Post

Adaptive Skills Blind People Can Learn

Blind woman cookingSo you're blind or becoming blind.  What skills are important for you to learn, or at least learn how to adapt to?  Here are some of the key skills you'll need, and may want to get help with:
  • Orientation & Mobility
    • Planning travel routes
    • Crossing the street (using auditory clues and traffic patterns)
    • Navigating public transportation
  • Communication
    • Computers
    • Note-takers
    • Other Assistive Technology (AT)
    • Braille reading and writing techniques
    • Low-tech aids such as bold pens and writing and signature guides
  • Daily Activities
    • Identify paper money and coins
    • Manage medications
    • Identify/organize clothing and storage
    • Operate household appliances safely
    • Conduct personal grooming
  • Information & Entertainment
    • Stay up-to-date with news and current events
    • Access movies, TV shows, books, etc.
    • Access networking opportunities, hobbies, or social activities (which are more difficult due to vision loss)
Adaptive Skills / Skills of Blindness

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Posted in Independent Living Skills | View Post

How Blind People Use Echolocation To "See"

Daniel Kish riding his bikeBlind from birth, Daniel Kish has pioneered the use of human echolocation to "see" his surroundings.  He produces high-frequency clicks with his tongue, then listens for their echoes.  Depending on how long the echoes take to reach him, and the direction they come from, he is able to detect obstacles.

Daniel and other echolocators have become so adept at this technique that they can ride a bike down the street!  Like bats, humans can be trained to echolocate effectively, often in 2 to 3 weeks.

How blind people use batlike sonar

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Posted in Independent Living Skills | View Post

Scientist Succeeds In Growing Retinal Eye Cells In A Lab

Scientist David GammScientists at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, led by David Gamm, have not only grown retina cells in their lab from stem cells, but they have been able to implant those cells, have them communicate with other cells in the eye, and transmit signals to the brain.

This exciting development may be the precursor to conduct clinical trials on humans who have degenerative eye diseases, with the ultimate goal of treating vision impairment and blindness.  These clusters of retinal cells, called organoids, can be used as replacement parts to replace certain cells lost or damaged by eye disease.

Lab-grown retinal eye cells make successful connections, open door for clinical trials to treat blindness

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Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post

The Best Vitamins And Nutrients For Eye Health

Green pillsHere are some of the essential vitamins and nutrients needed to ward off eye disease, and the foods which contain them:

Vitamin A and beta carotene
  • sweet potato
  • carrots
  • red pepper
  • pumpkin
  • squash
Vitamin E
  • almonds
  • sunflower seeds
  • peanuts
  • safflower oil
  • soybean, corn, and wheat germ oil
  • asparagus
Vitamin C
  • oranges and orange juice
  • broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • blackberries
  • grapefruit juice
B vitamins
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamine) beans, lentils, pork, fish, green peas, yogurt
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) beef, oats, yogurt, milk, clams, mushrooms, almonds
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin) beef liver, chicken, salmon and tuna, brown and white rice, peanuts
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) chickpeas, dark leafy greens, poultry, beef liver, salmon, and tuna
  • Vitamin B9 (folic acid) dark leafy greens, peanuts, beans, seafood, sunflower seeds, eggs
  • Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) fish, liver, red meat, poultry, eggs
Lutein and zeaxanthin
  • egg yolks
  • corn
  • asparagus
  • broccoli
  • lettuce
  • peas
  • kale
  • spinach
Zinc
  • seafood, such as oysters, crab, and lobster
  • turkey
  • beans
  • chickpeas
  • nuts
  • pumpkin seeds
  • whole grains
  • milk
  • fortified cereals
Omega-3 fatty acids
  • oily fish, such as sardines, tuna, and herring
  • flaxseed
  • walnuts
  • chia seeds
What are the best vitamins for eye health?

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Posted in Eye Health and Preventing Disease | View Post

How Can The Vision Impaired Gamble in Las Vegas?

Blackjack tableIt may seem difficult or impossible for blind or visually impaired people to find ways to easily gamble in Las Vegas.  But the Mandalay Bay perhaps leads the way in accommodating the needs of the visually impaired and others with special needs.  They have:
  1. Lowered blackjack tables to be more accessible to wheelchairs.
  2. Provided dealers who will announce cards, place bets in the proper spot, and do other things to help blind players.
  3. Provided poker dealers who will whisper a player's cards to him or her, and in placing the correct number of chips for each bet.
  4. Offered a Ray Charles slot machine, which included audio cues and a Braille button deck and featured Charles singing "America the Beautiful".
What Services Do Casinos Offer Vision-Impaired Players?

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Posted in Accessibility | View Post

Top 10 Advantages Of Dating A Blind Person

Priscilla McKinleyIf you are blind or visually impaired, you might wonder what the impact of that will be upon your dating life.  As part of that dilemma, you might contemplate whether it's better for you to date a sighted person or a blind person.

Priscilla McKinley provides some humorous insight into this issue, with her top 10 list.  Here's a sample:

10. Dating a sighted person means you have a sighted guide when some idiot smashes into you and breaks your cane on your way to class.

Dating a blind person means you have a spare cane when some idiot smashes into you and breaks your cane on your way to class.

9. Dating a sighted person means you have someone to keep you from kissing a nose instead of the lips.


Dating a blind person means you don't care if you give or get a kiss on the nose instead of the lips.

Want to see the rest of the list?  Here it is:
The Top Ten Advantages of Dating Sighted and Blind People

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Posted in Adapting and Emotions - Living with Vision Loss | View Post

Social Etiquette For Interacting With Blind People

Blind man with phone and caneHere are a few does and don'ts for talking and interacting with people who are blind or visually impaired:
  • DO identify yourself, particularly when walking into a room.
  • DON'T say, "Do you know who this is?"
  • DO speak directly to the individual. Do not speak through an intermediary. Unless they are hard of hearing, they can speak for themselves.
  • DO give specific directions like, "The door is five feet to your right," as opposed to saying, "The door is over there."
  • DO give a clear word picture when describing things to an individual with vision loss. Include details such as color, texture, shape and landmarks.
  • DO touch them on the arm or use their name when addressing them. This lets them know you are speaking to them, and not someone else in the room.
  • DON'T shout when you speak. They can't see but usually hear just as well as you do.
  • DON'T be afraid to use words like "blind" or "see." Their eyes may not work, but it's still, "Nice to see you."

Do's and Don'ts When Interacting with a Person who is Blind

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Posted in What Is Vision Impairment Like and Social Etiquette | View Post

How Does Braille Work?

Braille dotsWe've all heard of Braille, and seen it, perhaps on elevators and ATMs.  But how does it work?

Braille characters correspond to letters and numbers.  Each character is represented by a series of up to six raised dots, arranged in two columns of three rows each.  As with reading, characters are "read" left to right, by brushing the fingertip across the raised dots.  Some Braille uses dots to represent common words and letter combinations.

Braille is written with the aid of a slate and stylus.  Since the writer is pressing the dots downward, letters must be written in reverse order, right to left.  This is not the case with Braille typewriters or printers.

Braille was created in the early 1800s by Louis Braille.

How to Read or Write Braille

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Posted in Braille | View Post

How To Host An Awesome New Years Eve Party If You're Blind Or Visually Impaired

Wine glasses toastingIf you're blind or visually impaired, it might be intimidating to throw a great NYE party.  But many aspects of good party planning and execution are the same as with any other host:  create a budget, shopping list, to do list, song playlist, and guest list.  Plan time to do each task, with contingency time built in.

Make the room(s) as accessible as possible, for you and your guests.  Maybe label important things in large font - entrance, bathroom, and of course, the bar!  Speaking of which, be sure to serve lots of great food and beverages.  Plan fun activities.  In fact, here are some fun games for the blind and visually impaired.

New Year’s Eve Party Ideas: Top Tips for Blind And Visually Impaired Hosts

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Posted in Independent Living Skills | View Post

If You Are Going Blind, What Should You Do?

Woman's brown eyeIt's not easy learning that you're losing your sight and becoming legally blind.  There are a flood of emotions and a ton of to do items to deal with.  Getting your home and life prepared for vision loss is easier to do while you still have some sight. And hopefully a support structure.

Here are some of the things you can do to prepare for blindness:

  • Learn About Your Diagnosis:  San Diego Center For The Blind's blog and website are good places to start.  Learn about your specific type and degree of vision loss, along with what to expect, how to prepare, and help available to you.
  • Find Support:  Find and join a local support group, or an online one.  Again, SDCB can help.
  • Talk To Your Employer:  Talk to your employer about how you and they can adapt so you can still be productive, even with vision loss.  The American Disabilities Act (ADA) requires your employer to offer certain reasonable accommodations to employees like you with disabilities.
  • Register For Independent Living Courses:  SDCB offers lots of educational options, as do other groups and websites.
  • Get Organized:  Organize your home so you can continue to do the things you enjoy, and the things you need to do as part of your daily life.
  • Seek Out Inspiration:  Read books and websites, and talk to others who have walked your path.

How To Prepare When You Are Going Blind

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Posted in Adapting and Emotions - Living with Vision Loss | View Post

Celebrating Christmas As A Blind Person

Tamara GaudetThis inspirational article was written by Tamara Gaudet, a women who is almost completely blind, but who has found myriad ways to enjoy the holidays as much as everyone else.  In fact, she arguably appreciates, more than the rest of us, holiday food and feasts, music, smells, sounds, and the warm feelings of family and togetherness spawned by this time of year.

Tamara loves to decorate her home with lights, a Christmas tree, pictures, and stockings - yes, hung with care.  Of course, she loves giving and getting presents.

WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE BLIND AT CHRISTMAS?

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Posted in Adapting and Emotions - Living with Vision Loss | View Post

Fun Things For Blind People To Do

Monopoly boardEveryone loves games.  Not just the fun of learning them, playing them, and perhaps winning -- but also the social aspect.  Luckily, there are lots of games that can be played by those who are blind and visually impaired.  Some of these games have braille versions or versions with other accommodations, whereas others can be enjoyed as is.

Here are some of the categories of games (and other activities) that the blind can enjoy:
  1. Books and magazines
  2. Cards, chess and other games
  3. Cooking
  4. Craft
  5. Exercising at home
  6. Gardening
  7. Music
  8. Radio, television and the Internet
  9. Telephone services
  10. Accessing specialised equipment
  11. Where to get help

Vision loss - recreational activities

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Posted in Independent Living Skills | View Post

4 Technologies That Could Restore Sight For Blind People

Scientist with projectorHere are 4 incredible technologies that could enable blind people to see:
  1. A Prosthesis for the Eye
  2. Sound Waves That Can Stimulate Vision
  3. A Viral Solution
  4. Stem Cells Have the Potential to Restore Vision

Human Sight Could Be Restored for Blind People, Thanks to These 4 New Technologies

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Posted in Researchers and Leaders in Eye Disease | View Post

6 Great Products For Cooking As A Blind Person

Pot on stovetopBlind and visually impaired people eat.  All of them!  And many of them cook.  Or want to.  But they want to do it safely, neatly, and effectively.  Given the dangers of heat, sharp objects, and spillage in a kitchen, it's no wonder that blind people can be somewhat reticent to venture into cooking on their own.

Here are six products that can make cooking easier and safe:
  1. Talking induction cooker:  This stovetop lets you verbally hear its temperature and other settings.  Since it works by induction, it has much less risk of burns.  It turns off immediately when a pan is removed.
  2. Cut-resistant safety gloves:  Makes cutting food much safer.
  3. Talking thermometer and kitchen scales:  They speak their readings aloud.
  4. Liquid level indicator:  This electronic device hangs over the edge of your glass or bowl.
  5. Pot minder:  A ceramic disc which rattles in your saucepan pot when it reaches a boil.
  6. Braille/tactile vessels and utensils:  Measuring cups and spoons which feature braille or tactile markings.

6 tools that belong in every blind person’s kitchen

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Posted in Assistive and Vision Loss Technology and Products | View Post

How To Watch The World Cup If You Are A Blind Or Visually Impaired Fan

World Cup broadcasterAttending the World Cup is a thrill for any soccer (sorry, football!) fan.  But if you are blind or visually impaired, the enjoyment you get from your seat is somewhat limited.  However, at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, fans can now download the FIFA Interpreting app to help them "see" the action.

The app, available in English and Arabic, not only describes the action on the field, but even reveals the location of the ball, players' facial expressions, and fan reactions in the stands.  The app is also useful for fans watching on TV from their home or a sports bar.

Audio descriptive commentary makes Qatar 2022 accessible for blind fans

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Posted in Arts and Culture, TV, Movies | View Post

TVs For The Blind

Eleven closes her eyesThere is some amazing technology enabling blind people to watch and enjoy TV.  Some of the key technological features include:
  1. Built-in screen reader:  This feature speaks aloud everything that is text-based, including menus, program guides, and more.
  2. Audio description (AD):  This is an audio narration of everything occurring on-screen -- kind of like captions, but aloud.  Sometimes this is available with Video On Demand.
  3. Voice controlled remote controls:  By pressing one button, the user can speak into the remote control instead of pressing buttons or typing.
  4. Changing text:  Users can change text size, font, foreground color, background color, and screen magnification.

Of course, the availability of these features varies from manufacturer to manufacturer and one model to another.  Generally, Samsung TVs have the best incorporation of these accessibility features.

How TV is becoming more accessible for people who are visually impaired

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Posted in Assistive and Vision Loss Technology and Products | View Post

Blind Woman Enjoys Foreign "Sight"seeing - On Safari!

Lucy Edwards on safariLucy Edwards, 27, lost her sight at age 17 due to a genetic condition.  She thought she'd never be able to travel again, especially abroad.

However, Lucy just completed a life-changing safari on a game reserve in Kenya.  She bonded with a rhino who, like her, is blind (from an attack by a fellow rhino).  She needed to leave her service dog home, but instead was accompanied by William, a safari guide with experience with blind safari-goers.

The experience began at a museum in Nairobi, Kenya's capital, where Lucy was able to re-familiarize herself with African animals by touching stuffed animals.  During the visit to the game reserve, William described in detail everything Lucy could not see.  But her other senses were heightened and used.  For example,. she' feel animal footprints and even dung.  Smelling that goes without saying!  She was able to hear some of the animals.  They even tracked a lion who, like her, was named Lucy.  They even got close enough to hear her breathe.  And they heard the lions nearby munching on their newfound prey.

The Masai warriors treated Lucy to a singing performance, which she enjoyed.

'I'm blind, but loved going on a must-see safari'

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Free Online Assistive Tech Conference

Sight Tech GlobalSight Tech Global is an online, free conference December 7-8 discussing technological advances for people with blindness or visual impairment.

Learn about efforts to ensure accessibility in the burgeoning world of virtual reality.  Also, discover how better mobile phones, faster networks, and the cloud are all enabling stunning, better, and cheaper accessibility for the blind and visually impaired.

Following the virtual event, on December 9, there will be an in-person conference in San Jose, CA.

Sight Tech Global 2022 announced

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Posted in Assistive Technology | View Post

AI Copilot For The Blind and Visually Impaired

AI copilotAt the recent International Consumer Electronics Show, a Swiss company unveiled an incredible, backpack-like device which, when worn by a blind or visually impaired person, guides them safely.

With technology similar to that of an auto-drive car, the biped smart harness uses a set of #d cameras to analyze the area in front of the wearer, warn them of potential collisions or hazards, while ignoring objects that do not present a danger.  It can connect to the user's smartphone, in part to integrate with GPS.  The device weighs about 2 pounds, and is worn in such a way so as to not look out of the ordinary.

biped unveils an AI copilot for blind and visually impaired people at CES 2022

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Posted in Assistive and Vision Loss Technology and Products | View Post

New Study Shows More Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Than Thought

Age-related Macular DegenerationA recently released study, conducted before the pandemic in 2019 published in JAMA Ophthalmology, shows that nearly 20 million Americans have some form of AMD -- 2.75 times as much as previously thought!

The study was conducted by the CDC, University of Michigan, University of Chicago, and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.  92.5% of those Americans had early-stage AMD, while the remainder had late-stage.  This is the first time in more than ten years that such a measurement was undertaken.

Interestingly, the study found a high degree of variation in state-by-state and county-by-county results.  Late stage AMD rates were highest in the Midwest and New England, as well as Florida.

New Study Finds Higher Prevalence of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Cases than Previously Determined and a High Degree of County Variation

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Posted in Eye Disease - Macular Degeneration | View Post

Diabetic Retinopathy - How To Know If You Have It, And What To Do

Diabetic retinopathyDiabetic retinopathy is complication arising from diabetes which stems from damage to blood vessels in the retina.

Here are some of the key symptoms of diabetic retinopathy:
  • Floaters (dark spots or strings floating in your vision)
  • Blurred vision
  • Fluctuating vision
  • Dark or empty areas in your vision
  • Vision loss

These are the 2 main causes of  diabetic retinopathy:
  • Early diabetic retinopathy:  new blood vessels don't grow properly
  • Advanced diabetic retinopathy:  damaged blood vessels close off, causing the growth of new, abnormal blood vessels in the retina

Here are the major risk factors for diabetic retinopathy:
  • Having diabetes for a long time
  • Poor control of your blood sugar level
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Pregnancy
  • Tobacco use
  • Being Black, Hispanic or Native American

More about diabetic retinopathy

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Posted in Eye Disease - Diabetic Retinopathy | View Post

10 Blind Animals

Star-nosed molNo, not 3 blind mice!  Here are 10 animals that are actually blind:
  1. Star-Nosed Mole
  2. Hydra
  3. Naked Mole-Rat
  4. Eyeless Shrimp
  5. Deep Sea Lobster
  6. Sinopoda scurion
  7. Texas Blind Salamander
  8. Mexican Tetra
  9. Olm
  10. Golden Mole

10 Animals That Are Blind

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Posted in Blindness - Animals | View Post

8 Great Books About Blindness

BookHere are 8 amazing books about blindness.  They include both fiction and non-fiction.
  1. All the Light We Cannot See:  A New York Times Best Seller, this nonfiction story is based in Germany and France during WWII.
  2. The Story of My Life – Helen Keller Autobiography: Clearly nonfiction!  an incredible autobiography
  3. Molly Burke Autobiography: Another compelling, more modern, autobiography
  4. Lion’s Story:  Nonfiction, examining the history of Lions and World Services for the Blind. 
  5. Now I see You:  A non-ficton memoir of a woman who lost her sight from retinitis pigmentosa.
  6. Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero:  The true story of the lead guide dog at the World Trade Center on 9/11.
  7. The Unseen Trail:  The true story of the first blind person to hike the Appalachian trail using only GPW and trekking poles. 
  8. Touch the Top of the World:  Another memoir, about Erik, who aspires to climb all of the world’s Seven Summits.

Top 8 Books About Blindness

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Posted in Blind Library - Books | View Post

Blind Man Arrested - For Carrying A Cane!

James Hodges with folded caneJames Hodges, 61, who is legally blind, was arrested when officers mistook his folded cane for a gun while he was walking to jury duty.

Hodges later requested access to the officers' body cams.  The footage revealed that he was crossing a street in a crosswalk when the light said not to cross.  The weather was overcast and foggy, requiring drivers to use their headlights.  One officer saw what she thought was a silver pistol with a white grip in Hodges' rear pocket.  She asked for his ID, but Hodges refused, reasoning that he was not told that he was under suspicion for any crime.  She and the other officer handcuffed Hodges, even knowing he was legally blind, and arrested him for resisting.

Both officers have been suspended without pay.

Legally blind Florida man arrested when cane is confused for a gun

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Posted in Blindness and Society | View Post

4 Best US Cities For The Visually Impaired

Seattle skylineWanna know which are the best U.S. cities to visit as a blind or visually impaired person?
  1. Seattle, WA: Lots of nonprofits which help the blind and visually impaired.  Easy walking and public transportation around the city.
  2. Louisville, KY:  Has a large population of visually impaired people. Voice prompts at intersections and public transit.
  3. Washington, D.C.:  Great, accessible public transit and tourist attractions.  Walkable.
  4. Chapel Hill, NC:  As a college town, it has lots to do, mostly walkable, with services for the blind.
4 of the best US cities for the visually impaired

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Posted in Blindness and Society | View Post

Which Countries Have The Most Blind People? (#9 Will Surprise You!)

World map of blindness - by countryIndia, the world's second largest country (by population), leads the world in the number of blind and visually impaired people, with 275 million, narrowly edging out China.  Here are the top 10 countries, ranked by the total number of blind and visually impaired people:
  1. India, 275.0M
  2. China, 274.3M
  3. Indonesia, 34.9M
  4. Russia, 28.6M
  5. Brazil, 26.6M
  6. Bangladesh, 26.3M
  7. Pakistan, 26.3M
  8. Nigeria, 24.3M
  9. USA, 16.4M
  10. Mexico, 16.0M
Note that not only is USA on this list at #9, but it is also the only country on the list among the world's most advanced nations.  No European nations are on this list.

Country Map & Estimates of Vision Loss

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Posted in Blindness and Society | View Post

How To Set Up A Classroom To Help Visually Impaired Students

Classroom technologyThe following techniques can not only help blind and visually impaired students be more productive  in the classroom, but they can also be of help to sighted students as well:
  1. Large computer monitor
  2. High-resolution document camera
  3. Bright classroom projector
  4. Simplified reading displays
  5. Access to digital books
  6. High tech devices that support accessibility settings
  7. Recordings of educational materials

Classroom Technology that Benefits Low Vision Students

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Posted in Assistive and Vision Loss Technology and Products | View Post

Treatments For Glaucoma

glaucomaOnce you get glaucoma, the damage cannot be reverse.  Nevertheless, several treatments are available to prevent or slow further vision loss.

Glaucoma treatments include:
  • Eyedrops: Multiple types of prescription eyedrops can help reduce eye fluid and reduce eye pressure
  • Oral medications: Prescription meds, typically a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor, can help reduce eye pressure
  • Surgery:  Several surgeries can reduce eye fluid ands pressure
  • Laser therapy: Especially helpful for those who can't tolerate eye drops

Treatments For Glaucoma

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Posted in Eye Disease - Glaucoma | View Post

Comedian Uses His Blindness To Get Laughs - And Tears

Comedian Darryl LenoxDarryl Lenox is a legally blind comedian who has performed since the early 1990s.  Much of his career centered around stand-up comedy in clubs around North America.  In an early gig he opened for Chuck Berry.
  • His TV shows include:
  • BET's ComicView
  • Comedy Central's Jamie Foxx's Laffa Polooza
  • Live at Gotham
  • "Blind Ambition" on Starz
He is considered funny not in spite of his blindness, but because he embraces it and incorporates it into his material.

Lenox worked with the Third World Eye Care Society, a nonprofit offering treatment solutions to the visually impaired in third-world countries.

More about Darryl Lenox

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Posted in Blind and Vision Impaired - Heroes Stories | View Post

Blind Skateboarder Makes Giant Leaps In Sport

Blind skateboarder Dan MancinaDan Mancina always loved skateboarding.  But due to retinitis pigmentosa, he gradually began to lose his sight at a young age.  By his mid twenties he was completely blind.

Having stopped skateboarding during his sight decline, he discovered not only that he missed it, but that he was actually able to return to the sport and thrive.  With the help of a cane, his hands (to feel for obstacles), and a supportive group of sighted skateboarders, Dan is now able to do many tricks that most sighted skateboarders can only dream of.

Moreover, he is raising money ($40,000 and counting) for an accessible skateboard park in his home state of Michigan.  The accessible features of this park will include:
  • larger size of obstacles
  • more color contrast for obstacles
  • auditory cues to identify obstacles
  • longer ledges and flat bars
  • wide quarter pipes
The blind skateboarder challenging misconceptions about sight and sport

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Posted in Blind and Vision Impaired - Heroes Stories | View Post

How To Speak With Someone Who Is Blind

Man with guide dogFor sighted people, it can be confusing as to how to talk to a blind person.  What to do?  What not to do?

Here are some things to DO:
  1. Identify yourself, especially when entering a room. Don't say, "Do you know who this is?"
  2. Speak directly to the individual. Do not speak through a companion. Unless they are hard of hearing, they can speak for themselves.
  3. Provide specific directions like, "The desk is five feet to your right," as opposed to saying, "The desk is over there."
  4. Give a clear word picture when describing things to an individual with vision loss. Include details such as color, texture, shape and landmarks.
  5. Touch them on the arm or use their name when addressing them. This lets them know you are speaking to them, and not someone else in the room.
  6. Treat Blind people as individuals. People with visual disabilities come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. They each have their own strengths and weaknesses, just like everyone else.

Here are some things NOT to do:
  1. DON'T shout when you speak. They can't see but often have fine hearing.
  2. DON'T be afraid to use words like "blind" or "see." Their eyes may not work, but it is still, "Nice to see you."
  3. DON'T pet, feed, or distract a guide dog. They are not pets; they are working companions on whom a Blind person depends.
Do's and Don'ts When Interacting with a Person who is Blind

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Posted in Blindness and Society | View Post

Anyone Can Learn Braille Online

Braille graphicIt might seem like Braille can only be learned in person.  But now in this post-pandemic world, where seemingly everything can be line virtually, you can now learn Braille online.

You can get free, online Braille training through places like UEB Online.  Different modes are available for sighted students, visually impaired students, and blind students.  Introductory and advanced braille mathematics training is even available.

Accessible Braille Training

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Posted in Braille | View Post

How Can Blind People Pay With Cash?

CurrencyThese days, you can pay for most things with a credit card,  debit card, Apple Pay, online, Venmo, Zelle, and more.  But for those times when cash is required or preferred, how do blind people distinguish between different denominations?

Here are a few techniques:
  1. Use an app called "nant money reader" to scan currency and determine its denomination
  2. Fold bills differently.  For example, don't fold $100 bills, fold others horizontally, vertically, or in one corner or two.
  3. In many other countries (besides the US), bills are of different sizes, depending on the denomination (the higher the value, the larger the bill).
  4. Buy a wallet with multiple pockets, one for each bill type.
Obviously, distinguishing coins is easier, given that they each have their own size, and some have ridged edges.

How Do Blind People Know Which Banknote To Use?

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Posted in Independent Living Skills | View Post

10 Ways To Prevent Vision Loss

Eye ExamYou have a surprising degree of control over maintaining your vision.  Here are some important things you can to to ward off vision loss and blindness:
  1. Have a comprehensive dilated eye exam.
  2. Maintain your blood sugar levels.
  3. Know your family's eye health history.
  4. Eat right to protect your sight.
  5. Maintain a healthy weight.
  6. Wear protective eyewear.
  7. Quit smoking or never start.
  8. Be cool and wear your shades.
  9. Give your eyes a rest.
  10. Clean your hands and your contact lenses—properly.
Tips to prevent vision loss - CDC

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Posted in Vision Loss | View Post

Which Sport Was Developed Specifically For The Blind?

GoalballOnly one sport was specifically created for blind people -- goalball.

Created in 1946, goalball was designed to help World War II veterans who had lost their sight.  Players must be legally blind, but to ensure a level playing field, they all must wear opaque eyeshades.  The game is played like soccer, but players throw the ball instead of kicking it.  The object is to get the ball in the goal, at either end of the 18 meter field.

Players remain on their hands and knees.  They can hear the ball, for example, with three metal bells inside.

Men's goalball was introduced to the Paralympics in Toronto on 1976.  Women's goalball made its debut in New York in 1984.

History of Goalball

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Posted in Blind Athlete | View Post

The Emotional Toll Of Blindness

Man in mental health support groupLosing one's sight is difficult.  One important aspect is the toll it takes on one's mental health.

Blindness can increase:
  • Loneliness
  • Social isolation
  • Worry
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
25% of adults who lose their vision experience depression or anxiety.  Younger adults have five times the risk of severe depression or anxiety when losing their sight.

Vision Loss and Mental Health

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Posted in Adapting and Emotions - Living with Vision Loss | View Post

How To Translate Braille To Text

Braille appA blind person, visually impaired person, or sighted person may have the need to convert braille to text - so it can be read more easily, read aloud (by a person or screen reader), copied and pasted, or for other reasons.

Braille Scanner is a free app which permits the user to photograph any document or surface containing braille, and it quickly converts the braille to text.  United English braille is currently supported, with others coming soon.

Braille Scanner – Translate Braille Documents

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Posted in Assistive and Vision Loss Technology and Products | View Post

Which Country Has Had A Blind President?

Abdurrahman WahidPerhaps the only country ever to have had a bling leader is Indonesia.  Its fourth president, Abdurrahman Wahid, was completely blind in his left eye and partially blind in his right eye, due to glaucoma.

Previously an Islamic religious leader (fun fact: Indonesia is the largest Islamic country, with 231 million people), Wahid was elected president in 1999.  However, he was impeached and removed as president on July 23, 2001.  He had also founded the National Awakening Party.

To date, Wahid is Indonesia's only president with disabilities.

Abdurrahman Wahid

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Posted in Blind and Vision Impaired - Famous | View Post

10 Best Games For The Blind and Visually Impaired

Chess boardPlaying board games and other games with others is fun!  But if you're blind or visually impaired, it can be difficult or frustrating.

Here are the top 10 games which have been adapted for use by the blind or visually impaired.  In many cases, braille has been incorporated.  Large fonts are another innovation, as are other tactile techniques.
  1. Monopoly
  2. Bananagrams
  3. Checkers
  4. Playing Cards
  5. Chess
  6. Scrabble
  7. Uno
  8. Dominoes
  9. Puzzle
  10. Dice Games

The 10 Best Adapted Games for the Blind or Visually Impaired

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Posted in Assistive and Vision Loss Technology and Products | View Post

What You Should Know About Guide Dogs

Man with guide dogGuide dogs help those with blindness or visual impairment to travel safely.

Here are some things guide dogs CAN do:
  • Guide people across streets
  • Guide people through crowds
  • Guide people around obstacles
  • Find certain objects
  • Stop in case of danger, such as an approaching vehicle
  • Indicate where steps and curbs are
Here are some things guide dogs CANNOT do:
  • Show people where to go or how to get there
  • Understand when it is safe to cross a street
  • Continue to be effective if they are not used every day
Bear in mind that to get a guide dog, a blind or visually impaired person must attend a special guide dog school that will assign them a dog and train them to care for it and use it to guide them.

Dog Guides for People with Vision Loss

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Posted in Blindness - Animals | View Post

What Are The Symptoms Of Sight Loss?

Woman's blue eyeIt can be scary losing your site, or thinking that you are.  Here are causes of sight loss:
  1. Glaucoma
  2. Macular degeneration
  3. Cataracts
  4. Diabetic retinopathy
  5. Retinitis pigmentosa
  6. Inflammation of the optic nerve
  7. Inadequate blood supply to the retina

Here are things to look for which might be signs of sight loss:
  1. Double vision
  2. Blurry vision
  3. Seeing flashes of light
  4. Seeing floaters or “spider webs”
  5. Seeing halos or rainbows around lights
  6. Seeing what looks like a curtain coming down over one eye
  7. A sudden decrease in vision
  8. Sudden sensitivity to light and glare
  9. Sudden eye pain
  10. Itching or burning eyes
  11. Red eyes
  12. White areas in the pupil
  13. Changes in the color of your eye
Of course, if you experience these symptoms, please see your eye doctor.

Signs Of Sight Loss

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Posted in Vision Loss | View Post

7 Leading Causes of Blindness

Students in AfricaMore than 2.2 billion people suffer from near or distance vision impairment. In nearly half of those instances, this vision impairment might have been prevented or has yet to be addressed.

Here are the 7 leading causes of blindness and visual impairment:
  1. uncorrected refractive errors
  2. cataract
  3. age-related macular degeneration
  4. glaucoma
  5. diabetic retinopathy
  6. corneal opacity
  7. trachoma

Blindness and vision impairment

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Posted in Eye Disease | View Post

Top Blindness Conferences

ConferenceInterested in learning more about blindness and visual impairment?  Want to gain insights into new research, assistive devices, therapies, statistics, trends, and more?

Here are some of the top conferences regarding blindness and visual impairment in the United States (and Canada):

The PRPH2 and Autosomal Dominant Macular Dystrophy Workshop
March 29-31, 2023
Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines
San Diego, CA

California Transcribers and Educators for the Blind and Visually Impaired
63rd annual CTEBVI conference
April 20-23, 2023
San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront
San Francisco, CA

62nd Annual Conference and Convention of the American Council of the Blind
June 29 to July 8, 2023
Schaumburg, IL

the American Council of the Blind
14th International Conference on Low Vision Rehabilitation
July 24-27, 2023
Denver, CO

Deafblind International World Conference 2023
July 22-28, 2023
Ottawa, Canada

Getting In Touch With Literacy conference
November 29 - December 2, 2023
St. Pete Beach, Florida


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Posted in Advocacy and Events | View Post

45 Interesting Statistics About Blindness

Bar chart 3dHere are a few fascinating statistics about blindness and visual impairment in the United States.  Click below for even more.
  1. 12 million Americans over the age of 40 are visually impaired
  2. 1.3 million of them are legally blind
  3. 150+ million people use glasses or corrective eyewear
  4. 4.88 million Americans age 50 and older have dry eyes
  5. 24.4 million Americans age 40 and older have cataracts
  6. 1+ million people visit doctors for an eye infection each year
  7. 2.4 million eye injuries occur each year
How Many People Are Blind In The U.S.? Plus Over 45 Blindness Statistics

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Posted in Blindness and Society | View Post

11 Well-Known Blind And Visually Impaired Athletes

SwimmerGet inspired by these amazing athletes who succeeded despite their blindness or visual impairment:
  1. Marla Runyan - She finished 8th in the women's 1,500 meter run at the 2000 Olympics, representing the U.S.
  2. Erik Weihenmayer - 1st blind person to summit Mount Everest
  3. Trischa Zorn - swimmer
  4. Craig MacFarlane - wrestling, track and field, swimming, snow skiing, water skiing and golf
  5. Craig Aucoin - triathlete and bicyclist
  6. Steve Bate - climber
  7. Lisa Banta - goalball
  8. Anthony Clarke - judo
  9. Zohar Sharon - golf
  10. Henry Wanyoike - marathon
  11. Chris Holmes - swimming

Famous Visually Impaired and Blind Athletes

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Posted in Blind and Vision Impaired - Heroes Stories | View Post

10 Great Watches For The Blind And Visually Impaired

Braille watchAll of these amazing timepieces are available for sale on Amazon, most fairly affordable:
  1. ATOMIC! Talking Watch
  2. WobL Vibrating Kids Watch
  3. Economical Square Talking Watch
  4. VibraLITE Mini 12-Alarm Vibrating Watch
  5. Man's Modern 4 Alarm Talking Watch
  6. TimeOptics Women's Talking Gold-Tone Day Date Alarm Watch
  7. Reizen Watch
  8. VISIOYO English Talking Watch
  9. Eone Bradley Steel Mesh Watch
  10. DOT Watch
Top 10  Watches for People who are Blind or Visually Impaired

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Posted in Assistive Technology | View Post

Learning to Cook as a Blind Person

Blind woman cookingNews flash: blind people need to eat! Therefore, they often need to cook.  Hopefully more than just microwaving food.

This raises a number of questions, including:
  1. How to measure?
  2. How to fill pots, pans, and containers with the right amounts?
  3. How to tell one food item from another (e.g., spices)?
  4. How to pour without spilling?
  5. How to make sure your food is done?
  6. How to avoid getting cut, burned, or hurt?
Luckily, all of these questions and others have easy answers -- particularly when tasks are broken down into more manageable sub-tasks.  The article below provides some of the answers.  For example:

Make sure the cutting edge of your knife blade is facing downward before you cut or slice. You can identify the cutting edge of the knife blade without touching it. Since the cutting edge is usually curved, try rocking the knife blade forward and backward on the table top to determine when the cutting edge (which will rock) is facing downward.

How Does a Blind Person Cook?

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Posted in Independent Living Skills | View Post

7 TV Shows With Blind Characters

Television with appsHere are 7 television shows which feature characters who are blind:
  1. All the Light We Cannot See (upcoming Netflix series)
  2. Blind Justice (12-season series about a blind NYC police detective)
  3. In the Dark (CW crime drama series)
  4. Lovers of the Red Sky (Korean TV series adapted from a novel)
  5. Nico (Spanish TV series about a boy who is blind)
  6. See (Apple+ TV series starring Jason Momoa, science fiction drama)
  7. Zatoichi (a Japanese series)

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Posted in Arts and Culture, TV, Movies | View Post
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