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Blind and Visually Impaired African-American Leaders

Harriet TubmanHere are some African-American leaders who happen to be blind or visually impaired:
  • Harriet Tubman:  She pioneered the Underground Railroad and freed over 300 slaves.
  • Dr. William Townsend:  He was the first licensed black optometrist and a Civil Rights leader in Arkansas
  • Martha Louise Morrow Fox:  She taught at Piney Woods Country Life School, the first school in Mississippi that taught Black blind students.
  • Haben Girma:  She was the first deafblind student to attend and graduate from Harvard Law School. 

Celebrating Black History Month | Blind and Visually Impaired Leaders in History and Today

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Posted in Blind and Vision Impaired - Famous | View Post

Great Jobs For Blind People

Visually impaired woman working at computerPeople who are blind or visually impaired can do almost any job, but here are some of the best choices:
  • Teachers, college professors and guidance counselors
  • Social workers and psychologists
  • Doctors, nurses and occupational and physical therapists
  • Masseuses and chiropractors
  • Rehabilitation teachers and counselors
  • Customer service representatives
  • Restaurant and store workers
  • Factory workers
  • Freelance writers, journalists and TV and radio broadcasters
  • DJs and musicians
  • Attorneys, judges and politicians
  • Executive directors and managers
  • Coaches and athletes
  • Authors and motivational speakers
  • Chefs
  • Architects
  • Researchers, engineers and scientists
  • Artists and photographers
What Kinds of Jobs do People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired Do?

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Emotionally Adjusting To Vision Loss

Living With Vision LossResearch has shown that when someone loses some or all of their vision, there are seven distinct phases of emotional adjustment that they typically go through:
  1. Phase One: Trauma
  2. Phase Two: Shock and Denial
  3. Phase Three: Mourning and Withdrawal
  4. Phase Four: Succumbing and Depression
  5. Phase Five: Reassessment and Reaffirmation
  6. Phase Six: Coping and Mobilization
  7. Phase Seven: Self-Acceptance and Self-Esteem
The Process of Adjusting to Vision Loss

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

Your Eyes Can Display Signs Of Alzheimer’s

Open eyeNew research shows that your eyes can aide doctors in diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease, even before other symptoms appear.  By looking into the optic nerve and retina, doctors can potentially identify Alzheimer's years before they might otherwise, permitting early intervention and treatment that could forestall the onset of serious symptoms involving memory and behavior.  It also gives the patient time to opt for healthier lifestyle choices, particularly diet, which can affect the course of the disease.

Alzheimer’s first signs may appear in your eyes, study finds

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How You Can Adapt To Vision In Only One Eye

Women with vison in one eyeIf you have monocular vision -- in only one eye -- perhaps from an injury or illness, here are some of the ways you can cope:
  • Ensure that paths around your home are kept clear
  • Periodically feel for objects, walls, etc. to get a better sense of your location
  • Turn your head frequently from side to side to get a better picture of your surroundings
  • Place colored tape at the edge of stairs
  • Use handrails when possible
  • Practice reaching for different objects to get a better idea of their distance from you
  • Turn your head from side to side to expand your field of vision
  • Walk on a straight line to improve your balance
  • Play catch with someone
  • Improve lighting in your home
  • Better organize your home and ensure everything is in its prescribed place
  • Learn to recognize the shapes and sizes of items and objects you use frequently
  • Store all meds in one place; ensure that their labels are easy to read
  • Use caulking, raised rubber, or plastic dots to mark the settings on the controls of your microwave,  stove, oven, and toaster, so you're able to determine the setting even if you're having difficulty seeing it
Coping With Living With One Eye

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

Study Shows Behavioral Effects of Permanent Cortical Visual Impairment On Children

Child getting eye examPermanent cortical visual impairment (CVI) causes visual impairment.  According to a study in Development Medicine & Child Neurology, children with CVI typically display these behavioral characteristics:
  • Residual vision
  • Inconsistent visual performance
  • Better vision in familiar surroundings
  • Use of touch to identify objects
  • Better ability to identify colors than form
  • Poor head elevation, especially in those with the most visual impairment

Behavioural Characteristics Of Children With Permanent Cortical Visual Impairment

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Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post

What Are The Most Common Types Of Vision Problems?

EyeHere are the most common vision problems in adults:
  • Blurred vision (called refractive errors)
  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Glaucoma
  • Cataract
  • Diabetic retinopathy
Here are the most common vision problems in children:
  • Blurred vision (called refractive errors)
  • Crossed eyes (called strabismus)
  • Lazy eye (called amblyopia)
Here are the most common blurred vision problems (also called refractive errors):
  • Nearsightedness (called myopia) is when you can see clearly up close but blurry in the distance.
  • Farsightedness (called hyperopia) is when you can see clearly in the distance but blurry up close.
  • If you are older than 40 and have trouble reading small print or focusing up close, this is usually due to a condition called presbyopia. One in every three people 40 years or older in the U.S. will need glasses to read smaller print.
  • Astigmatism is another condition that causes blurred vision, but it is because of the shape of the cornea.
Types of Vision Problems

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Posted in Blindness - Vision Impairment | View Post

How Can Schools Accommodate The Needs Of Blind And Visually Impaired Students?

Girl studentFrom elementary school through university, here are some of the accommodations schools can -- and in some cases do -- make for students who are blind or visually impaired:
  • Notes, handouts, and texts distributed in tape, braille, or electronic format
  • Verbal descriptions of visual aids
  • Raised-line drawings and tactile models of graphic materials
  • Braille lab signs and equipment labels; auditory lab warning signals
  • Adaptive lab equipment (e.g., talking thermometers, talking calculators, light probes, and tactile timers)
  • Computer with screen reader (e.g., JAWS), vocal output, braille screen display and printer output
What are typical accommodations for students with blindness?

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Posted in Accessibility | View Post

Blindness Conferences in California

ConferenceHere are some of the conferences in California in the next 12 months which deal with blindness and visual impairment:

CSUN 2023 Assistive Technology Conference:  Anaheim, CA, March 13 - 17, 2023

California Council of the Blind Conference and Convention, Hilton Sacramento Arden West, Sacramento, 3/31 - 4/2/2023

CTEBVI conference:  San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront, April 20-23, 2023

California Council of the Blind 85th Annual Conference and Convention:  DoubleTree by Hilton Fresno Convention Center, 2233 Ventura Street, Fresno, CA, June 5 - 9, 2023

Abilities Expo Los Angeles:  Los Angeles Convention Center, March 15-17, 2024

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Posted in Advocacy and Events | View Post

A Bionic Eye is Now A Reality!

diabetic retinopathyScientists in at least 7 companies, including 2 in the U.S., have begun implanting retinal prostheses in individuals with eye disorders like retinitis pigmentosa or age-related macular degeneration, but only when the optic nerve and visual cortex are unaffected.

These "bionic eyes" enable the patient to see by stimulating the sensation of vision in their eyes.  In these patients, the outer cells of the retina are typically damaged, but the inner cells may be fully or partially intact.  Therefore, these optical prostheses essentially bypass the outer cells and transmit signals directly to the inner cells, enabling the patient to see.

Of the 7 companies offering such a solution, none has implanted their device in more than 30 patients - a title held by Sylmar, CA-based Second Sight Medical Products - so these products are still in their infancy.  However, there is much promise for the future.

Retina Prosthesis

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Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post

How To Travel Well If You Are Blind

airplane passengerIf you are blind or visually impaired, here are several options for how to travel by plane or other means:
  • Use a human guide, usually by holding their arm
  • Use a white cane, especially to detect and avoid obstacles
  • Use a service dog
  • Use assistive aids, usually optical or electronic aids
  • Use no aids at all
Your selection of one of those options typically relies on:
  • How visually impaired you are
  • Your familiarity with the route you are traveling
  • Lighting conditions
  • Your own preferences
Travel Tools and Techniques of People Who are Blind or Who Have Low Vision

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Posted in Blindness and Society | View Post

7 Amazing Blind People

Architecture by Christopher DowneyRead profiles of these 7 amazing, inspirational blind people:
  1. The First Blind Athlete in the Olympics
  2. The Blind Surfer
  3. The Blind Painter
  4. The Blind NASCAR driver
  5. The Blind Chef
  6. The Blind Photographer
  7. The Blind Architect

7 Amazing Blind People

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7 Amazing Blind People - #1
The First Blind Athlete in the Olympics

Marla Runyan - runnerMarla Runyan contracted Stargardt's Disease at 9 years old.  This type of macular degeneration caused her to become legally blind.  Nevertheless, she became a standout track and field athlete, first at San Diego State University in 1987, later in the1992 Summer Paralympics in Barcelona, and then at the 1996 Paralympics in Atlanta where she earned silver in the shot put and gold in the pentathlon.

She blossomed out of paralympic competitions to win gold in the 1,500 meters at the )able-bodied) Pan American Games in 1999.  At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Runyan became the first legally blind athlete ever to compete in the Olympics, finishing eighth in the 1,500 meters -- the best finish by an American woman ever in that event.

7 Amazing Blind People

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

7 Amazing Blind People - #2
The Blind Surfer

Derek Rabelo - surferDerek Rabelo was born with congenital glaucoma. Despite that, when Derek was only three he got his first taste of surfing.  He became hooked, and now the Brazilian is an avid surfer.

At age 20 he went with his church to surfing mecca Hawaii, where he honed his skills.  Derek is the inspiration behind the 2014 documentary film "Beyond Sight," which earned an admirable rating of 8.5/10 from IMDb.

7 Amazing Blind People

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7 Amazing Blind People - #3
The Blind Painter

Blind painterJohn Bramblitt became completely blind at age 30 in 2001.  His vision loss stemmed from epilepsy.  However, John found an outlet for his pain through, of all things, painting!  He actually paints using his sense of touch.  He can feel the difference between different colors.  Among his artistic accolades is YouTube's "Most Inspirational Video of 2008", as well as three Presidential Service Awards.

7 Amazing Blind People

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7 Amazing Blind People - #4
The Blind NASCAR Driver

2 NASCAR cars on racetrackMark Anthony Riccobono is blind.  At 5 years old he had only 1% of normal vision, and it continued to deteriorate.

Nevertheless, in January 2011 Mark achieved something many sighted people can only dream of - driving a Ford Escape solo around the NASCAR track at Daytona International Speedway!

Mark used two technologies to enable him to safely complete this mission.  First, DriveGrip, which is a pair of  gloves which send vibrations over the driver's knuckles to tell him how much to turn the wheel.  Second, SpeedStrip, which is a a cushion down the back and legs of the driver which tell him how much to accelerate.

7 Amazing Blind People

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7 Amazing Blind People - #5
The Blind Chef

Chef preparing breadChef Christine Hà got a diagnosis of neuromyelitis optica  in 2004.  She then began losing her sight, and was legally blind 3 years later.

Anyone who loses one sense becomes more reliant on their other senses.  This is especially true for a chef.  Christine learned to use her senses of taste, smell, and even feel to cook even more than before to create amazing dishes.  In 2012 she won the MasterChef TV Show, including a $250,000 prize. plus a deal to create a cookbook.

7 Amazing Blind People

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

7 Amazing Blind People - #6
The Blind Photographer

Photographer from the rearPete Eckert became blind as an adult with retinitis pigmentosa.  He didn't let that interfere with his passion for photography, sculpture, and industrial design.  After losing his sight he actually expanded his art, shooting ethereal double exposures and vivid light paintings with his Mamiyaflex TLR. camera.  Since he was once sighted, h can visualize the image he wants to create in his mind and uses his other senses of sound, touch, and memory to make a photograph. "I am a visual person. I just can't see," he says.

7 Amazing Blind People

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7 Amazing Blind People - #7
The Blind Architect

Architecture by Christopher DowneyIn 2008, Christopher Downey completely lost his sight due to a tumor wrapped around his optic nerve.  As an architect and architectural consultant, this could have marked the end of his career.  But Christopher turned the lemon into lemonade.  Working with a blind computer scientist who created method of printing online maps using a tactile printer, Christopher began designing buildings and environments which are sensitive to the needs of the blind and visually impaired.

Christopher and his work have recently been featured on CBS News and twice on 60 Minutes.

7 Amazing Blind People

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

How And Why To Donate Used Eyeglasses

Eyeglasses on an eye chartIf you wear eyeglasses, you know how expensive the frames and lenses can be, even if you have vision insurance.  Not everyone can afford glasses.  So, when you get new glasses, donate your old ones, so that someone who cannot afford glasses can have them.  You already know the huge impact the right eyeglasses can have on your life.  And therefore one the life of someone less fortunate than you.

Here are some nonprofits and other organizations to donate glasses to:
  • Lions Club International
  • New Eyes
  • ReSpectacle
  • VSP Global Eyewear Donations
  • Goodwill
  • Warby Parker
  • The Salvation Army
Here are some bricks and mortar stores where you can drop off your used glasses:
  • Walmart Vision Centers
  • Lions Clubs
  • LensCrafters
  • Costco
  • Pearle Vision

Here are some national and international nonprofits which accept eyeglasses donations:
  • Optometry Cares
  • SEE International
  • Essilor Vision Foundation
  • Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity
  • RestoringVision

5 Ways (or Places) to Donate Your Old Glasses

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Posted in Resources for Blind and Visually Impaired | View Post

How To Provide Top Notch Service To Blind Customers

Blind man on speakerphoneIf you own or work for a company (or nonprofit), it's probably important to you to provide excellent customer service to all of your prospects and customers.  If you don't have a plan for how to provide great service to blind and visually impaired customers, You should.

Here are some key factors to consider in serving blind and visually impaired customers:
  1. Be Proactive:  Anticipate blind customers' needs and make plans to meet them.
  2. Ensure Accessibility:  Your website, social media, marketing materials, PDFs, and more should be accessible and ADA compliant.
  3. Train Your Customer Support Staff:  Provide your staff with training on how to be empathetic, patient, and effective in dealing with blind customers.
  4. Ask Customers What They Need:  The best way to know what any customer needs, especially a blind or visually impaired one, is to simply ask them!  Make sure your customer support staff know to do this - both during and after support is provided.
  5. Include the Visually Impaired in Marketing Materials:  Where possible, include photos of blind people and relevant text in marketing materials.

5 Ways to Help Your Company’s Visually Challenged Customers

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Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired | View Post

How Employers Should Treat Blind And Visually Impaired People

ConferenceThe Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against people who are blind, visually impaired, or have other disabilities.  Here are some of its requirements:
  • Employers may not ask applicants about their vision or treatment
  • Applicants are not required to disclose visual impairments
  • After an employer has offered a job to an applicant, and the applicant discloses their vision impairment, the employer may then ask the applicant about their vision limitations and what accommodations they need
  • An employer may only ask an employee about their vision impairment when it knows about the impairment, observes performance issues, and believes those issues are related to the visual impairment
  • Employers must keep confidential any medical information it discovers about an applicant or employee

Blindness and Vision Impairments in the Workplace and the ADA

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Posted in Blindness and Society | View Post

The 4 Categories of Blindness

2 blind people with canes and a sighted personContrary to popular perception, there is a spectrum of different types of blindness.  Some people are completely blind, while others may be able to see some lights, shapes, or nearby objects.  The cause of blindness could stem from the eye or the brain.

Here are the 4 key types of blindness:
  1. CVI, or cortical/cerebral visual impairment, is the leading cause of modern day blindness in children.
  2. Retinitis pigmentosa is a genetic disorder, which affects up to one in 4,000 people in the U.S.
  3. Macular degeneration is another one of the leading causes of vision loss, affecting an estimated 10 million people in the U.S.
  4. Retinopathy of prematurity is an eye disease which occurring in babies born prematurely.

Four prevalent, different types of blindness

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Should Sighted People Simulate Blindness Through Blindfolds?

Blindfolded man - fuzzy imageWell-meaning sighted people sometimes will spend time blindfolded, simulating what it's like to be blind, in an effort to better understand blindness.  Sometimes these initiatives are personal, other times they are suggested by a teacher, trainer, speaker, etc.

Typically, when sighted people spend time blindfolded, and trying to live life as a blind person would, they gain a deeper empathy for blind people and some of the issues they face.  However, these simulations typically represent what it's like to BECOME blind much more than they represent what it's like to BE blind.

In order for such blindness simulations to minimize the negative effects, such as discrimination, and accentuate the positive effects, these experiences should include training on and some mastery of certain skills blind people require, and they should include meaningful interaction with people who are actually blind.

The Perils of Playing Blind: Problems with Blindness Simulation and a Better Way to Teach about Blindness

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Medical Breakthrough Restores Part Of Blind Man's Vision

EyeThe burgeoning field of optogenetics, using gene therapy to control nerve cells using light, has been successfully used to partially restore sight to a blind man.

As reported by the Nature Medicine journal, scientists reengineered eye cells to make them more sensitive to light.  Though it has only been done on one 58-year old male patient with retinitis pigmentosa, this technique shows promise in using gene therapy to help restore sight to other blind people.

Scientists partially restore blind man's vision with breakthrough gene therapy

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Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post

#1 Cause of Blindness

Fuzzy image of girl reading with her dogThe leading cause of blindness throughout the world is cataracts.  Cataracts are also the leading cause of vision loss in the United States.  Cataracts cause a clouding of the eye's lens, and can occur at any age, including at birth.

There are readily available treatments for the removal of cataracts, but some people are unable to take advantage of these treatments due to lack of insurance coverage, cost of the treatment, lack of awareness of treatments, or simply the choice of the patient.

It is estimated that over 30 million Americans have cataracts.

Common Eye Disorders and Diseases

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Posted in Eye Disease - Cataracts | View Post

Blind People Actually Have Higher IQs!

Eye Health ResearchA study published July 3, 2020 and conducted in South Africa and Austria shows that blind people have an IQ 14 points higher than average, and visually impaired people scored 3 points higher.  The opposite result was found for verbal comprehension.  Several other studies confirm these results.

Blindness, or more specifically, the way individuals react to blindness by compensating for a lack of external information causes blind people to increase their internal, working memory.  Working memory has been shown to be critical for intelligence.  This further underscores the theory that working memory, and therefore intelligence, can be modified.

Does Blindness Boost Working Memory? A Natural Experiment and Cross-Cultural Study

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Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post

Searching For A Job If You Are Blind

Anthony MelenaAnthony Melena graduated from UCLA in 2019, just before the pandemic, flush with the hope of finding the ideal job.  The fact that he was blind did not deter him.  After all, he had successfully graduated high school, gained admittance to the #1 public university in the country, and graduated from it.  Surely the UCLA moniker on his resume would open a lot of doors.

To one extent, it did,  Anthony got his share of interviews.  However, due to the pandemic, they were via Zoom - which made it easier for him to attend those interviews.  However, they failed to pan out, one by one.

Luckily, Anthony received training which made him realize a few key points.  He needed to realize that:
  1. He needed to sell himself as a complete package, not just a collection of skills.
  2. Who you know is often as important as what you know.
  3. He needed a support structure.
  4. He needed to work in his interview and human interaction skills.
Fortunately, Anthony now has a job he loves!

The missing piece in my job search puzzle

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Posted in Blindness and Society | View Post

How To Watch The Super Bowl If You Are Blind

Football on TV with snacks on coffee tableSome 100 million Americans will watch the upcoming Super Bowl 2/12 between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs, taking place in Glendale, AZ.

Here are some hints on how to enjoy the game if you are blind:
  1. Turn on the TV (especially for others who are sighted or have partial vision), but use radio for the audio. especially play-by-play descriptions.  ESPN radio is a good choice.
  2. Search for descriptive video services such as Aira.
  3. Listen to pre-game and halftime entertainment, particularly concerts (Rihanna is the halftime performer) and the national anthem (country music star Chris Stapleton).
  4. Enjoy the party, snacks, and beverages!

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

Top Ten Fun Facts About White Canes

White cane near feetWe've all seen people using white canes to get around.  But how much do we really know about them.  Here are 10 fun facts about white canes:
  1. You can take your white cane through TSA security at an airport, but it has to go through the X-ray machine.
  2. White canes were pioneered by George Bonham, who, in 1930, suggested painting canes used by blind people white with a red stripe so that motorists and others would better notice them.
  3. New technology embedded in white canes causes them to vibrate to warn users of nearby obstacles and hazards.
  4. In 1944 Richard Hoover created the method of of holding a long cane in the center of the body and swinging it back and forth before each step to detect obstacles.  This is still called the “Hoover Method.”
  5. Only 2 - 8% of visually impaired people use white canes. Others utilize their useable vision, a guide dog or a sighted guide.
  6. There are 3 kinds of white canes: a) Standard mobility cane, used to navigate; b) Support cane, used by people with visual impairments who also have mobility challenges; c) ID cane, a small, foldable cane used by people with partial sight to let others know they have a visual impairment.
  7. Orientation & Mobility specialists, who train people who are blind to use white canes, have to spend 120+ hours blindfolded while using a white cane.
  8. White canes today are typically made from aluminum, fiberglass or carbon fiber, and can weigh under 7 ounces.
  9. The Braille Institute holds a yearly Cane Quest, where kids aged 3-12 compete to quickly and safely navigate a route in their community using their white canes.
  10. Some states ban the use of white canes by people who are not legally blind so they can get the right-of-way to cross a street.
10 fascinating facts about the white cane

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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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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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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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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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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
  • 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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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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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.


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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
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