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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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.

You can try three of her recipes on YouTube.

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
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