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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

10 Amazing Painters Who Are Blind

Blind painterYes, you read correctly.  These 10 outstanding artists have succeeded despite their blindness:
  1. Keith Salmon:  He paints landscapes of his beloved Scotland from his memory before he went blind.
  2. John Bramblitt:  John figured out how to distinguish colors by touch, and has sold art in over 30 countries.
  3. Eserf Armagan:  Born blind in Turkey, he uses braille to establish outlines for his drawings.  His art has been featured internationally in over 20 exhibitions.
Click below for more about these and the other 7 painters.

10 Incredible Blind Painters

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

What Foods Should You Eat If You Have Macular Degeneration?

Bell pepperSo you or your loved one have Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).

What food should you eat to slow its progression, or to forestall the onset of AMD?
  • Antioxidants (including citrus, nuts, seeds, oils, red/orange fruits and vegetables, leafy greens)
  • Omega-3 fatty acids (including fatty fish, nuts, seeds)
  • Zinc and copper (including meats, shellfish, legumes. leafy greens)
What foods should you avoid?
  • Processed foods that contain trans fats
  • Tropical oils, like palm oil
  • Lard and vegetable shortening, and margarine
  • High-fat dairy foods (eggs in moderation are a good source of eye-healthy nutrients)
  • Fatty beef, pork and lamb
  • Sugar

The Best Foods for AMD

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Posted in Eye Disease - Macular Degeneration | View Post

Family Travels Around The World Before Kids Canadian family in sand dunesLose Their Sight

When Montreal couple Edith Lemay and Sebastien Pelletier found out that three of their four children had retinitis pigmentosa, meaning they were going blind, the parents decided to give their children the best gift they possibly could.  They planned to take all of their kids on a round-the-world tour focusing on visual experiences while they still could enjoy those experiences.

The focus would be on animals and plants, so they planned to start their trip in Namibia on safari.  However, their plans to embark in July 2020 were derailed by COVID restrictions.  Luckily, Sebastien's company was  acquired and he received a windfall, enabling them to not only afford the trip but to not plan it.   They finally embarked in March 2022.  The family is able to spontaneously decide how long to spend in each destination, what to do, and where to go next.

Traveling through a number of third world countries has made the children realize how lucky they are to have all of the advantages they have, despite losing their eyesight.

Canadian family taking world tour before children lose their vision

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

Guiding You: Blind Cooking with Ella Ep 2

Mango side dishOur next blind cook features Ella at Blind Mama Kitchen located in Portland, Oregon. Ella's content is focused on the food, but we do know that she loves to bake at night. At times, her lucky family gets some yummy midnight snack!

Ella occasionally shares her tips and secrets, like the ingredients to the best potato salad ever or using leftover pizza dough for cinnamon rolls.

Follow her on Facebook or Instagram.
www.facebook.com/BlindMamaKitchen/about/?ref=page_internal
www.instagram.com/blindmamakitchen/

You can try three of her recipes on YouTube.
www.youtube.com/channel/UCMRz3jOHkGKuR8ACitdDr-g/videos

Watch for Ep 3 of Guiding You: Blind Cooking!

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Posted in Independent Living Skills | View Post

Niger Becomes The First Country In Africa To Eradicate River Blindness

Niger man with river blindnessRiver blindness is a disease afflicting agricultural areas of Africa, particularly along the banks of the Niger River, and is transmitted through infected black flies.  Niger has become the first nation in Africa to get rid of this scourge.

This achievement took decades, and is largely credited to an international health fund spearheaded by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  The team hopes to continue to eradicate this disease in other African nations as well.

How Niger became the first African nation to eliminate 'river blindness'

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Posted in Blindness and Society | View Post

What Is It Like When A Blind Person Is Married To A Sighted Person?

Man carressing woman's hairBy the time most blind people are old enough to look for -- and hopefully find -- their life partner, they have usually attained a great deal of independence.  However, in most married couples, partners want to help each other and accept help from each other in a variety of ways.  So, how does this dynamic play out when one spouse is blind, particularly when they've already achieved and are happy with their independence?

The Blind Partner's Perspective

The blind partner should realize the the sighted partner instinctually wants to help them, particularly in activity where the sighted partner perceives some degree of danger (like crossing a street), even if the blind partner has done this activity safely many times.  The blind partner should indulge the sighted partner's wish to help, and be loving, at least initially.  Perhaps after a few instances of help, the sighted partner may realize that their help is largely or completely unnecessary for that activity, and hence will be more comfortable with their spouse doing this activity without help.

The Sighted Partner's Perspective

Most sighted spouses have had little to no experience being with or living with a blind person.  They need to realize the amazing strides their blind partner has already made to achieve their current level of independence.  They should let the blind partner take the lead in asking for help when it's needed.

Read more

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Posted in Living Blind | View Post

Do Blind People Use The Same Facial Expressions As Sighted People?

Girl showing facial emotionAn analysis of 21 studies concludes that blind people have similar spontaneous facial expressions to sighted people, but significant differences when it comes to voluntarily posed expressions.

In other words, when spontaneous emotions are evoked by life's experiences, lack of sight has little impact on the resulting facial expressions of those feeling these emotions.  This is likely a result of humans' evolutionary history.  On the other hand, when people are asked to display a particular facial expression, having visually seen others display that emotion factors heavily on the ability to replicate that expression.

The role of visual experience in the production of emotional facial expressions by blind people: a review

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

Top 10 Tips for Teaching Kids Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

LearninGirl studentg in school is hard enough, without adding the challenge of blindness or visual impairment.  Of course, the best way to teach these students varies depending on the individual needs of the child.  Nevertheless, here are 10 ways to maximize the effectivene4ss of teaching blind and visually impaired students:
  1. Always use names
  2. It’s okay to use words that reference sight
  3. Don’t gesture, always verbalize
  4. Avoid asking if a student can see something
  5. Correct seating is crucial
  6. Contrast, contrast, contrast!
  7. Follow the leader
  8. Be a confident sighted guide
  9. Safety first
  10. Examine your own beliefs

10 Tips for Teaching Blind or Visually Impaired Students

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Posted in Parenting and Blindness | View Post

Youth-onset Type 2 Diabetes Soared During COVID, Risking Increased Blindness Among Children

Diabetes suppliesYouth-onset type 2 diabetes contributes to blindness in children.  Unfortunately, the prevalence of this disease has doubled in the past 20 years, and ballooned 77% during the COVID-19 pandemic.  This disease also causes heart disease and kidney failure.

Type 2 diabetes most affects children with the following characteristics:
  • female
  • overweight
  • have a family history of diabetes
  • Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC)
  • have insulin resistance
The most prevalent cause of type 2 diabetes in children is obesity. In the U.S., nearly 33% of children are overweight.

Youth-onset type 2 diabetes climbed 77% amid COVID-19, study shows

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Posted in Eye Health and Preventing Disease | View Post

10 Great Gift Ideas For Blind And Visually Impaired Folks

It's alwaDomino setys hard to figure out what someone wants or needs as a gift.  It's even harder when that person is blind or visually impaired.  So, here are ten great gift-giving ideas!
  1. Domino Set, $13
  2. Pocket Money Brailler, $7
  3. Portrait of My Father Audio Book, $25
  4. Soft Down Comforter or Fleece Throw, $ varies
  5. Voice Command Alarm Clock, $70
  6. Talking Ornament, $25
  7. Handheld Braille Labeler, $25
  8. Women’s Mesh Band Braille Watch, $50
  9. Men’s Gold Braille Talking Watch, $90
  10. Regulation Soccer Ball, $15
More info on these Gift Ideas

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

Research Shows A Correlation Between Air Pollution and Eye Disease

SmokestackA recent analysis of eight research studies shows that air pollution can cause these eye diseases:
  1. cataracts
  2. age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
  3. glaucoma
San Diego has frequent and prolonged periods of unhealthy air.  In fact, San Diego has 43.3 days of unhealthy ozone each year, compared to the federal target of 3.2 days -- meriting an “F” rating by the American Lung Association. In the last 7 years San Diego has seen its number of unhealthy air days rise by 42 percent.  Light winds and stagnant air, combined with low rainfall and 170+ days annually over 70 degrees, all mesh to create ideal conditions for unhealthy air.

Certain Air Pollutants Associated with Age-related Eye Disease

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Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post

Guiding Blind: Mobility Canes - White Cane Technique - Constant Contact, Episode 5

Last in our series about mobility canes is a look at the actual use of the white cane and the difference between 2-point touch vs. Constant Contact.

2-point touch involves moving the cane in an arc from side to side, tapping it once on each side. A variation of this is "Constant Contact" in which the cane tip ALWAYS remains on the ground.

A summary of the advantages of Constant Contact includes:
  1. Lot better chance of detecting drop-offs
  2. Less wrist and arm fatigue
  3. Better job of terrain input
  4. Helps eliminate the noise of 2-point touch (tapping)
  5. Helps eliminate the risk of cane tip bouncing too high (which can cause tripping hazard).

On the flip side, using the Constant Contact technique, your cane may get stuck more frequently and it, also, can be a bit slower.

If you do decide to try the Constant Contact technique, using a marshmallow roller tip or roller ball tip will work better.

What do you prefer?

IMPORTANT NOTE: Videos are informational only and DO NOT take the place of formal training on using your white cane. If you are in need of training, contact SDCB.



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

Guiding Blind: Mobility Canes - Marshmallow-Style Roller Cane, Episode 4

Episode 4The Marshmallow-Style Roller Cane Tip, in addition to eliminating the audible sound of tapping, also provides improved tactile feedback. The cane includes a roller bearing that enables the tip to rotate, thereby making it easier to roll and eliminating the frequency of getting stuck in crevices. Also, it is a relatively inexpensive option and is durable.

On the flip side, debris may get stuck between the pieces and it is a bit heavier than other tips. If these things aren't a sticking point for you, you may enjoy this option that glides easily and can be more convenient than the regular marshmallow style or pencil style.





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

Guiding Blind: Mobility Canes - Dakota Disk Cane Review & Demo, Episode 3

episode 3In this video, an orientation & mobility specialist shows you how to use the Dakota Disk Cane Tip.

Watch as the disk glides over uneven terrain and enables YOU to traverse rough and bumpy environments.






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

SDCB Provides Help For Those Losing Their Vision

Phil PresselPhil Pressel, 85, is a longtime downtown San Diego resident who is losing his vision and needs help.  The writing was on the wall for Phil, since his mother, who lived until age 104, became legally blind herself during the last 20 years of her life.  Both Phil and his mother are used to overcoming adversity, both being Holocaust survivors.

Phil recently enrolled in San Diego Center For The Blind's Adjustment To Vision Loss Counseling.  Due to COVID restrictions, the course was offered via webinar - which made it easy for Phil and others to participate from home.

The course helped Phil to adapt to the realities of vision loss, becoming more independent in his home.  He also learned mechanisms for him and his wife to cope with the emotional toll taken by his vision loss.  Partly as a result of  SDCB's help, Phil leads a productive life - he is writing his third book, and recently swam in the Transplant Games in San Diego (Phil has had both legs amputated).

Get more info on SDCB's Adjustment To Vision Loss Counseling services


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

Guiding Blind: Mobility Canes - Using a Dakota Disk Cane Tip, Episode 2

Hiking or walking on grass, dirt, fields or snow can be a challenge for visually impaired people. Using a Dakota Disk Cane Tip, which glides over uneven terrain, you will be able to traverse those outdoor bumpy or rough environments.



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

Guiding Blind: Mobility Canes - Joni - What is a mobility cane? Episode 1


Mobility aids are important for people with vision loss. They help them maintain their independence and safety while walking and traveling. Learn more about mobility aids.



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

10 Blind Musicians Who Inspire With Their Talent and Bravery

10. Art Tatum

Art TatumArthur Tatum Jr. was born October 13, 1909and became one of the great American jazz pianists.  Arthur had impaired vision as an infant, likely related to cataracts.  In his early twenties he was attacked, leaving left him completely blind in his left eye and with  limited vision in his right eye.  He consistently downplayed his blindness, not wanting to bring any attention to it.  In fact, when he performed, he made sure he did not need to be led on stage to his piano.

Arthur's technical ability was deemed outstanding by his fellow. Many pianists attempted to emulate him.  He was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.  In addition he was posthumously awarded the 1973 Grammy for Best Jazz Performance by a Soloist.

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Posted in Blind and Vision Impaired - Famous | View Post

10 Blind Musicians Who Inspire With Their Talent and Bravery

 

9. Diane Schuur

Diane SchuurDiane Schuur is an American jazz singer and pianist, born in 1953.  Retinopathy of prematurity caused her to be blind from birth.  She has performed with several other blind singers in this blog, including Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, and Jose Feliciano.  She has also performed at the White House.

Diane's album she recorded with B.B. King reached #1 one on the Billboard Jazz Charts.  She appeared 11 times on NBC's The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

In 1996 she appeared with Elmo on Sesame Street explaining how blind people can cope and thrive in a sighted world.

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Posted in Blind and Vision Impaired - Famous | View Post

10 Blind Musicians Who Inspire With Their Talent and Bravery

8. George Shearing

George ShearingGeorge Shearing is a British jazz pianist who was born with congenital glaucoma and later emigrated to the United States. George lost his sight completely when he was a teenager, and he started to play music when he was a child. George was signed by a record label when he was 19, and he released his debut album “Piano Solos with Rhythm” in 1950. Since the release of his debut album, George has achieved much success, recognition, and many awards, and he is considered to be one of the most celebrated jazz pianists ever. George wrote jazz standards including:
  1. Lullaby of Birdland
  2. Conception
In 2007 he was given the OBE award and knighted by Queen Elizabeth.  He pioneered a piano technique known as "The Shearing Sound".  He passed away in New York City at the age of 91.


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Posted in Blind and Vision Impaired - Famous | View Post

10 Blind Musicians Who Inspire With Their Talent and Bravery

7. Nobuyuki Tsujii

Nobuyuki TsujiiNobuyuki Tsujii is a Japanese musician who was born with poor eyesight from microphthalmia. Nobuyuki lost his vision completely when he was a child, and he started to play the piano when he was a teenager. Nobuyuki was signed by a record label when he was 21, and he released his debut album “Journey” in 2001. Since the release of his debut album, Nobuyuki has achieved much success, and he is considered to be one of the most successful musicians in Japan. Some of Nobuyuki’s most popular songs include:
  1. Arabesque 1 & 2
  2. Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1

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Posted in Blind and Vision Impaired - Famous | View Post

10 Blind Musicians Who Inspire With Their Talent and Bravery

6. Andrea Bocelli


Andrea BocelliAndrea Bocelli is an Italian singer and a composer who was born with congenital glaucoma. Andrea started to play music when he was a child, and he started to sing with a music band when he was a teenager. In the 1990s, Andrea started to pursue a solo career, and he has achieved a lot of success and recognition ever since. Andrea has earned a lot of prestigious awards, and his album “Canto” is considered to be one of the best-selling albums of all time. Some of Andrea’s most popular songs include:
  1. Time to Say Goodbye
  2. Vivo Per Lei

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Posted in Blind and Vision Impaired - Famous | View Post

10 Blind Musicians Who Inspire With Their Talent and Bravery

5. Gilbert Montagne


Gilbert MontagneGilbert Montagne is a musician and a composer who was born with congenital glaucoma. Gilbert lost his vision completely when he was a child, and he started to play music when he was a teenager. Gilbert was signed by a record label when he was 20, and he released his debut album “Voyage” in 1967. Since the release of his debut album, Gilbert has achieved a lot of success and recognition, and he is considered to be an influential figure in the French music industry. Some of Gilbert’s most popular songs include:
  1. The Fool
  2. Ce Qu’il Faut Pour Vivre
  3. Un Homme Heureux
  4. C’était Pas Prévu Dans Le Programme

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Posted in Blind and Vision Impaired - Famous | View Post

10 Blind Musicians Who Inspire With Their Talent and Bravery

4. Ronnie Lee Milsap

Ronnie Lee MilsapRonnie Lee Milsap was born almost completely blind due to a congenital disorder. Ronnie started to play music when he was a teenager, and he learned to play the guitar with his own method of music notation. Ronnie was signed by a record label when he was 22, and he released his debut album “Ronnie Milsap” in 1971. In the following years, Ronnie achieved great fame and recognition, and he is considered to be one of the most successful American country music singers. Ronnie had 40 #1 hits on the Billboard country chart.  Some of Ronnie’s most popular songs include:
  1. (There's) No Gettin' Over Me
  2. Lost In The Fifties Tonight (In The Still Of The Night)
  3. She Keeps The Home Fires Burning

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Posted in Blind and Vision Impaired - Famous | View Post

10 Blind Musicians Who Inspire With Their Talent and Bravery

3. José Feliciano

Jos FelicianoJosé Feliciano is a Puerto Rican singer and musician who lost his vision at the age of five. José used music as a means of expression when he grew up, and he was inspired by the protest songs of Bob Dylan. José published his first studio album “The Rhythm and the Blues” in 1968. In the following years, José achieved much success, and he became a respected figure in the world of music. Some of José’s most popular songs include:
  1. Light My Fire
  2. California Dreaming
  3. Feliz Navidad
  4. Chico And The Man

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Posted in Blind and Vision Impaired - Famous | View Post

10 Blind Musicians Who Inspire With Their Talent and Bravery

2. Ray Charles

Ray CharlesRay Charles was a musician, pianist, and a composer who was born with poor eyesight, possibly due to glaucoma. Due to his poor vision, he was unable to attend school, so he had to educate himself by listening to the radio. Ray published his first single “Confession Blues” in 1950. In the following years, Ray became one of the biggest figures in the world of music, and earned the nickname “The Genius”. Ray released a large number of acclaimed albums, and his album “Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music” is considered to be one of the most influential albums in the history of music.

Some of Ray’s most popular songs include:
  1. "I Can’t Stop Loving You”
  2. “Georgia On My Mind”
  3. “What I’d Say”
Ray has been awarded 18 Grammys. The 2004 biopic "Ray" was a testament to his life and accomplishments.  His honors include:
  1. Kennedy Center Honors
  2. the National Medal of Arts
  3. the Polar Music Prize
In 1986, he was one of the inaugural inductees at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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Posted in Blind and Vision Impaired - Famous | View Post

10 Blind Musicians Who Inspire With Their Talent and Bravery

In the field of music, it’s not only the musicians who can see that achieve success. In fact, there are many blind musicians who have paved their way to fame and recognition with their amazing performances and compositions. These musicians have managed to use their lack of sight as a means of inspiration and an advantage rather than a roadblock. These artists have displayed remarkable courage and perseverance in spite of all the difficulties they face on a daily basis...

1. Stevie Wonder

Stevie WonderStevie Wonder, who is a true icon in the world of music, was born with an eye condition which left him completely blind after the age of six. Although Stevie had grown up with the fear of being an outcast due to his disability, he overcame all these fears by the time he turned 21. Stevie has achieved enormous success in his career, and his album “Songs in the Key of Life” is ranked as the 34th highest-selling album of all time. His most popular songs include:
  1. “I Just Called to Say I Love You”
  2. “Part-Time Lover”
  3. “You Are the Sunshine of My Life”
  4. “Superstition”
  5. “Signed Sealed Delivered I’m Yours”

Stevie is a respected figure all over the world, and he is also known for being a great philanthropist.

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Posted in Blind and Vision Impaired - Famous | View Post

Understanding Blindness

Understanding BlindnessAs you might suspect, there is an enormous amount for the lay person, especially one who is not blind or visually impaired, to learn and understand about blindness.  Mark Hollins' new book "Understanding Blindness" provides insightful answers to questions many of us have, such as:
  1. Do congenitally blind people have mental images?
  2. How are they sometimes able to detect an object without touching it?
  3. Is the visual part of a brain doing anything in a blind person?
This book delves into such questions, plus examines how blindness affects the eye, brain, perception, cognition, attitudes, emotions, and more.

Understanding Blindness

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Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post

12 Blind Leaders

 
Helen Keller and Robert IrwinEver wonder who among our society's leaders are blind or visually impaired?  Well, the list is long, but here are 12 of them.  Among them is Dale Chihuly, the world-famous glass artist whos works are featured in his very own museum in the shadow of Seattle's Space Needle, as well as the Bellagio Casino in Las Vegas, the Atlantis Hotel in the Bahamas, and many more installations throughout the world.

Also included is Robert Irwin, pictured to the right with Helen Keller, who was the first Executive Director for the American Foundation For the Blind.  He was also a pioneer of the Braille system.


12 Blind Leaders You Should Know (Who Aren’t Helen Keller)

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Posted in Blind and Vision Impaired - Famous | View Post

Where In The World Is Blindness The Worst?

  1. World map of blindnessIndia and China represent 49% of the world's blindness and vision loss, while comprising 37% of its population.
  2. The only country with more than 27% of its population suffering from vision loss is Nepal, a neighbor of both India and China.
  3. Virtually every country in the Western hemisphere has fewer than 15% with vision loss.
  4. The U.S. has 3.7% vision loss.
  5. The only major country with a lower rate of vision loss than the U.S. is our neighbor Canada.
Country Map & Estimates of Vision Loss

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Posted in Blindness and Society | View Post

What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Bearded manDiabetic retinopathy results in vision loss and blindness those with diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy affects blood vessels in the retina (the light-sensitive layer of tissue in the back of your eye).

Diabetes patients should get a comprehensive dilated eye exam annually. Diabetic retinopathy may not display any symptoms initially — but finding it early can help you  and your doctor take actions to protect your vision. 

Learn more about Diabetic Retinopathy

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Posted in Eye Disease - Diabetic Retinopathy | View Post

What Is Macular Degeneration?

Elderly coupleAge-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the U.S.' most common cause of legal blindness. AMD's most common symptoms are blurred vision and vision loss. AMD has two main types
  1. dry macular degeneration, typically caused by the center of the retina deteriorating
  2. wet macular degeneration, typically caused by leaky blood vessels growing under the retina

Learn more about Macular Degeneration

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World Health Organization's Fact Sheet on Blindness and Vision Impairment

Student in AfricaThe WHO has created a useful fact sheet on blindness and visual impairment.  It includes interesting facts, definitions of visual impairment, prevalence, causes, impact, and more.

Here are a few useful facts:
  • 2.2 billion people are visually impaired
  • Most of these people are over 50 years old
  • The economic impact of visual impairment is about $244 billion
Blindness and vision impairment fact sheet

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Tech For The Visually Impaired

Blind man with phone and caneHere are some cool technologies to help those with blindness or visual impairment:
  1. VoiceOver: A screen reader app which verbally describes your screen's contents.
  2. Siri:  A very popular voice recognition system that lets you speka to your phone and have it speak to you.  You can text, call, surf, and much more.
  3. TalkBack:  A screen reader app.
  4. Google Assistant:  an AI “virtual helper”.  Navigate your phone with voice.

Complete list of 30 Apps, Devices and Technologies for People With Vision Impairments

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A Man with a Different Kind of Vision

60 Minutes - A Different Kind Of VisionImagine a sport where NO one can see where they are going. That sport is rowing … and Chris Downey especially loves it because it puts him on equal footing with his fellow crew members. That’s because Chris is blind.

We learned about this blind architect back in 2019  and now, Lesley Stahl from 60 Minutes, is back with an update.

One thing in particular impresses us about about Chris: he’s ADAPTIVE. For every situation, he finds a way to adapt, to turn lemons into lemonade.

That’s why Chris never accepted that he’d have to give up his career after he became blind. He decided with the right “tools” that he’d be just fine. For example, he found a tactile printer that can read and emboss drawings, so he can read the plans almost like braille. But what is really fascinating is he started to “hear” buildings. Similar to bat echolocation, Chris can hear and feel his surroundings. He believes this makes him a much better architect.

Of course, it wasn’t easy getting to that point. After brain surgery, Chris went from being fully sighted to totally blind. But, with some soul searching, he made up his mind to set an example for his son that if you want something, you really have to work at it. And Chris wanted his life, blind or not.

Chris also needed to learn how to navigate to be independent:
  • how to safely work in the kitchen
  • how to navigate public transportation
  • how to use screen reading software
  • how to get around in the world on his own

The best part of his story is the unique twist his career took after he ended up losing his job during COVID. Miraculously, his blindness became an asset. Watch this amazing video to learn what happened.

If you live in San Diego and you are blind, recently blind, or are experiencing vision change, contact the San Diego Center for the Blind. We can help you to live an independent life. Contact SDCB


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Mobile Technology For The Visually Impaired

Woman with phoneMost smartphones now have an extensive array of accessible features.  YOU can speak to your phone, and have it speak back to you.  You can even adjust the voice's tone, speed, accent, and gender.  Your phone likely has a magnifier, with adjustable magnification and lighting.

Phones with exceptional accessibility include:

  • Kyocera Kona
  • Kyocera Verve
  • Odin VI


Cell Phones, Tablets, and Other Mobile Technology for Users with Visual Impairments

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Social Etiquette With Blind And Visually Impaired People

People being socialMany sighted people are uncomfortable or confused about how they should communicate with people who are blind or visually impaired.

Here are a few helpful guidelines:
  1. Introduce yourself. Not everyone recognizes voices or remembers them.
  2. Don't shout. Visually impaired or blind does not mean hearing impaired.
  3. Don't leave a person who is blind, talking to themselves. Let them know when you are leaving.
  4. Don't use hand signals. People with severe visual impairments can't see waving or pointing hands.
  5. Don't omit words like, "See" or "Look". People with visual impairments are not offended by these words and understand that these words are part of normal conversations.
  6. Do feel free to photograph someone who is blind or visually impaired. Everyone likes to capture special moments to save and show to others.
  7. Do speak directly to a person who is blind. Don't speak to a family member or friend and ignore the person who is blind. Remember they can speak for themselves.
  8. Don't push, pull or grab a person who is blind. This can cause accidents and is often embarrassing.
  9. Do offer your arm for assistance. A person who is blind would rather take your arm than have you take their arm.
More social etiquette tips

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The Only Blind Nobel Prize Winner

Jose SaramagoJosé Saramago is the only blind Nobel Prize winner.  In 1998, he won the Nobel Prize in Literature for his "parables sustained by imagination, compassion and irony [with which he] continually enables us once again to apprehend an elusory reality."

Saramago has sold over 2 million books in his native Portugal alone, and his books have been translated into 25 languages.

In one of his books, "Blindness", Saramago uses absolutely no proper nouns.  Rather, he refers to characters simply by a unique characteristic.

More about José Saramago

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What Does It Really Mean To Be Legally Blind?

BlindfoldIt's actually not your doctor who defines whether or not you are legally blind.  It's the United States government.  This designation is critical to the ability to receive disability benefits and other accommodations.

Whereas normal vision is 20/20, blindness is legally defined as having 20/200 vision (or worse) in your better eye, or having a field of vision under 20 degrees.

Incidentally, of people with eye disease, only 15% are totally blind, meaning they can see no light at all.

What Does It Mean to Be Legally Blind?

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Can Medical Marijuana Help Glaucoma?

Medical marijuanaThe American Glaucoma Society does not consider medical marijuana to be an acceptable form of treatment for glaucoma.  Nevertheless, 25% of glaucoma specialist surveyed reported a role for patients' use of medical marijuana (MMJ).  Even more are routinely asked about MMJ by their patients, or are requested to provide prescriptions.

76% of glaucoma specialists would welcome further information and education on the role of MMJ in treating glaucoma.

Attitudes and Perceptions Toward the Use of Medical Marijuana by Glaucoma Specialists

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50 Best Movies with Blind Characters

50 Best Movies with Blind CharactersEvery one of us, sighted or not, have our favorite movies we've watched with blind characters.  So many of these films have main characters who provide inspiration to the blind, visually impaired, and everyone else.

Here are the top blind films of all time:
  1. Ray (2004)
  2. A Patch of Blue (1965)
  3. Scent of a Woman (1992)
  4. The Book of Eli (2010)
  5. Wait Until Dark (1967)
Click below for the rest of the list...  How many have you seen?

50 Best Movies with Blind Characters

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12 Cool Gadgets For The Blind

Blind gadgetsImagine being blind or visually impaired and having access to these amazing products.  Well, they all are available now:
  1. Braille smartphone
  2. Braille Rubik Cube
  3. Safe mug
  4. Smart walking stick
  5. Tactile flash cards
  6. Tactile wristwatch
  7. And more...
12 Ingenious Gadgets & Technologies Designed for the Blind

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17 Braille Innovations That Don’t Exist Yet… But Should!

17 Braille innovationsThere are so many assistive technology devices available to help the blind and visually impaired.  With many more to come.  Here are some idea on Braille-related innovations we'd like to see hit the market soon.  Some are already in development or testing, while other are simply ideas at the moment.

Some of these devices revolve around converting text to Braille.  Others relate to Braille functionality, like Braille tape or blood pressure monitor.

17 Braille Innovations That Don’t Exist Yet… But Should!

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