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World Sight Day Photo Competition

Picture Of Ladakhi Weaver By Julie-Anne DaviesWorld Sight Day (WSD), Thursday, October 14, is an international day of awareness held every October to focus attention on the global issue of eye health.Each year, the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness holds the World Sight Day photo competition. The IAPB has announced the 2021 winners of the photo competition. A panel of five judges has chosen ‘Ladakhi Weaver’ by Julie-Anne Davies as this year’s winning professional Photo of the Year and ‘Going to School’ by Saiful Islam as the winning amateur Photo of the Year.

“Our hope was that the competition would provide professional and amateur photographers with the opportunity to share the stories they’ve captured, and we have been blown away by the calibre of submissions, which are nothing short of exceptional,” said Simon Darvill, head of communications for the IAPB. “We thank everyone who participated and congratulate our winners.”

SDCB can help you or a loved one with vision loss or blindness; please reach out to us to learn more about our programs and services.

“IAPB announces winners of World Sight Day 2021 photo competition”

Posted in Awards - Vision Related | View Post

Beyond Blindness Empowers Children with Visual Impairments

Picture Of Mason Lopes Using A Mountbatten BraillerChildren in Orange County, California are benefiting from a non-profit organization in Santa Ana. Beyond Blindness helps kids with vision loss and blindness discover their potential. The services that they offer include early intervention, education, enrichment, and family support. Thanks to Beyond Blindness, eleven-year-old Mason Lopes has accomplished major milestones despite his optic nerve hypoplasia.

“We rely so much on our sight as adults, and when you think of kids who are developing … your ABCs and your 123s, kids learn all of that from looking at books and pictures,” said Mason’s mother, Charissa Lopes. “We were able to come to Beyond Blindness and have people who specialize in children who can’t see and to give them those tactile cues, to motivate them.”

Please reach out to SDCB to learn more about our vision rehabilitation programs and services for adults.

“Santa Ana’s Beyond Blindness helps the vision impaired go above and beyond”

Posted in Resources for Blind and Visually Impaired | View Post

Angle-Closure Glaucoma Eye Disease

Picture Of A Woman Rubbing Her EyeGlaucoma, or the “thief of sight,” is one of the leading cause of vision loss and blindness. There are more than one types of glaucoma; angle-closure glaucoma is an eye disease worth understanding better. While not the most common type, it is unique in that it can progress much faster than other forms of the eye disease. Which means it should be addressed immediately. Courtney Ondeck, MD, an ophthalmologist in the Glaucoma Service at Mass Eye and Ear, says it’s a medical emergency requiring immediate attention to relieve eye pressure and save the optic nerve from damage.

"Risk factors tend to be older age, female sex, family history, being of East Asian descent, and farsightedness," Dr. Ondeck says. "Also having a cataract—the lens starts taking up more space, which takes space from the drainage system."

Please contact SDCB to learn more about our programs and services.

“Santa Ana’s Beyond Blindness helps the vision impaired go above and beyond”

Posted in Eye Disease - Glaucoma | View Post

Prozac Could Help People With Macular Degeneration

Picture Of Person Getting Eyes ExaminedAntidepressants could be used to help treat a common eye disease one day. Researchers found that the antidepressant Prozac could help people with macular degeneration (AMD). Scientists at the University of Virginia found similarities in the antidepressant Prozac and AMD. ​​Dr. Bradley Gelfand says finding new uses for old drugs could be the future of medicine, considering that getting a new drug approved by the FDA takes 10 to 12 years.

"Prompted by this interesting observation, we did a lot of research in models of macular degeneration and found that indeed this Prozac appeared to be beneficial in those experimental models," said Gelfand. "And then we really took it a step forward by looking at real-world data from people who take Prozac, looking at their health insurance records and what we found was that people who take Prozac were protected against or, excuse me, had a reduced risk at developing age-related macular degeneration."

San Diego Center for the Blind can help you or a loved one with vision loss; please contact us to learn more.

"Antidepressant could treat leading cause of blindness"

Posted in Eye Disease - Macular Degeneration | View Post

Beauty Company Champions the Blind

Picture Of Clearlogic Beauty ProductsDid you know that 70 percent of blind or low-sighted individuals are unemployed? So it will probably come as little surprise that the vision loss community is often excluded from diversity and inclusion conversations in the workplace. After watching his mother become blind and overcome obstacles, Isaac Shapiro, CEO and founder of beauty brand Cleanlogic, was inspired to champion the blind community.

"Growing up with her, I watched how she lived independently and dedicated her career to advancing the lives of the blind or visually impaired through computer training and using adaptive technology to obtain employment," Shapiro told Campaign US. "That's why I'm a social entrepreneur, and always wanted to give back to the blind and visually impaired community."

Please reach out to SDCB to learn more about our programs and services for the blind and visually impaired.

"How beauty brand Cleanlogic is championing the blind community in the workplace"

Posted in Advocacy and Events | View Post

Broom Factory for Blind People

Picture Of Employees At The Range Broom FactoryIn 1919, Bertha Hanford established the Duluth Lighthouse for the Blind in 1919. It included a workshop and social center for blind people in Duluth, Minnesota. What's more, the members of the local blind community operated a broom factory until 1943. Hanford, who had lost her sight in 1903, wanted to offer employment for people on the Iron Range. The broom factory manufactured five sizes and styles of whisk brooms, seven kinds of house and parlor brooms, and four varieties of mops.

Please contact SDCB to learn more about our programs and services.

“Range Broom Factory: 1920 – 1943”

Posted in Blindness and Society | View Post

Hiding In Plain Sight With Blindness

Picture Of A Man Using A Cassette RecorderJames Tate Hill has published an interesting story about his high school experience while being legally blind. Hill lost his vision to what he described as "genetic burnout of my optic nerves." He shares what it was like discussing what he could or could not do with his teachers for the first time.

James also explains what it was like, his disability only months old, discovering how many people would ignore him because he could no longer see them. On another note, his blindness helped him realize a love for reading and his capacity to write a good story. He writes:

"It would be a long time before I'd learn the difference between how people felt about me and how I expected them to feel. The trick was letting go of the internalized shame related to my blindness. Revising how we see ourselves is rarely as easy as revising a short story."

San Diego Center for the Blind can help you or a loved one with vision loss or blindness. Please get in touch with us to learn more.

"Pseudonym: On vision loss and hiding in plain sight from my high school classmates"

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

Damaging DNA Could Cause Blindness

Picture Of Human EyeNew research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine published in the journal Science Advances indicates a buildup of damaging DNA in the eyes of patients with macular degeneration. The toxic DNA, researchers believe, could cause blindness. Interestingly, scientists suggest that common HIV drugs may help stem the tide of vision loss.

"Although we've known that geographic atrophy expands over time, we didn't know how or why," said Ambati, of UVA's Department of Ophthalmology and Center for Advanced Vision Science. "Our findings from human eyes show that these toxic molecules, which activate the inflammasome, are most abundant precisely in the area of greatest disease activity."

SDCB can help you; please contact us to learn more about our vision loss programs and services.

"Toxic DNA buildup in eyes with macular degeneration can cause blindness - study"

Posted in Eye Disease - Macular Degeneration | View Post

App Designed to Help Blind or Visually Impaired Youth

Picture Of Person Using 4to24 App4to24 is a free app available for iPhone and Android users to help young people with vision loss excel in life. The app is designed to help blind and visually impaired youth and parents understand what they are capable of as far as employment goes. While most young people living with vision loss are likely to pursue post-secondary education, they are less likely to land jobs in adulthood. 4to24 could bridge the gap between college and careers. The app was created by Mississippi State's National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision (NRTC).

"For kids who are blind or have low vision, we believe one of the most important things is for their mom or dad to know what their child is capable of," said Karla Antonelli, a research scientist for NRTC. "The 4to24 app gives parents the power of that knowledge so they can support and advocate for their children as they grow."

Please reach out to SDCB to learn more about our vision rehabilitation programs and services.

"MSU's National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision releases 4to24 app"

Posted in Assistive Technology | View Post

Spin Class Friendly for Blind People

Two People In Spin ClassThose who have taken part in a spin glass at the local gym know that the bikes have heads-up displays providing the rider with valuable information. However, what if the participant is living with vision loss. Rider Jasmin Sethi, who is blind, is working with Revel Ride instructor-to-be Richard Brandon to create and communicate a method to relay valuable speed, resistance, and ride positions data in real-time.

Jasmin Sethi has retinitis pigmentosa, a rare genetic disease that resulted in progressive vision loss from infancy. Along with Richard Brandon, the team created a touch signaling system to represent ride metrics that appear on the studio's computerized bike consoles.

Brandon says, "I didn't have a plan at first and I don't have any kind of certification or training for doing something like this. But Jasmin and I worked together to create a few basic signals that would help guide her through her ride. We came up with this organically, beginning with a basic premise: Jasmin wanted to get better at spinning, but she couldn't see the console. We built from there."

San Diego Center for the Blind can help you or a loved one with vision loss or blindness. Please contact us to learn more.

"How a Pair of Philly Cyclists Created a "Morse Code" to Make Spin Classes More Accessible"

Posted in Accessibility | View Post

The Cost of Virtual Education to People With Vision Loss

Picture Of A Virtual Learning Class On LaptopAccording to survey results released last year by an organization called Swabhiman, about 43 percent of students with disabilities are planning to drop out of schools because of impediments caused by online education. '

However, one of India's leading lawyers on disability rights and a specialist in accessibility, universal design and diversity inclusion, says there is much to feel hopeful about what has transpired over the last year. When all schools adopted online learning, children supported by the National Association for the Blind were already up to speed with screen-reading software on their computer systems; many were already familiar with learning on mobile phones.

"In this case, non-disabled students had problems adapting to the online mode, but blind children were far ahead of their non-disabled counterparts, subject to availability of devices, of course. They really benefited from this entire experience. During this period, many students who are blind or have vision impairment passed their 12th grade successfully and also got enrolled into international courses. Some of them have even gone on to study in Oxford," says Subhash Chandra Vashishth.

Please reach out to SDCB to learn more about the programs and services we offer.

"How online education worked in favor of people with disabilities"

Posted in Assistive Technology | View Post

Blind Judo Star Says Sport Saved Him

Chris Skelley during the announcement of the Rio 2016 Paralympics Judo squad at the University of Wolverhampton, Walsall.If you followed the 2020 Paralympics, then you may have heard of Chris Skelley's gold medal win in the sport of judo. The young athlete is still delighted with his victory, and he wants to encourage other athletes with disabilities to join the sport. Skelley's vision began to deteriorate at age 17, but he persisted in sports.

"I lost everything around me, the only thing I had left was sport. It was my saviour," recalls Skelley, who was just five years old when his parents took him to the National Lottery funded Haltemprice Judo Club in Hull.

Please reach out to SDCB to learn more about our programs and services.

"Paralympic judo star Chris Skelley says how sport saved him when he lost his sight"

Posted in Blind Athlete | View Post

Blind CIA Analysts Navigated Through Life With Guide Dogs

Picture Of Joanne CallahanJoanne Callahan was born congenitally blind, with a severely damaged optic nerve. Despite vision loss, Callahan earned a bachelor's degree at Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude. She also earned master's degrees at Stanford University. A 33-career with the CIA followed. How was she able to accomplish it all. Beyond being brilliant, the blind CIA analyst navigated through life with guide dogs. The same will be true in retirement; her eighth guide dog is named Magnum.

"Having a guide dog, you can move so much more quickly," Callahan said. "And you have someone who has skin in the game with you, as it were. They don't want to get hit by a car. They don't want to have anything bad happen to them."

SDCB can help you or a loved one with vision loss or blindness. Please contact us to learn more.

"Former CIA analyst shares adventures with guide dogs over 33-year career"

Posted in Blindness - Animals | View Post

Vision Loss Advocate Won ​​A MacArthur Foundation Grant

Picture Of Joshua MieleJoshua Miele was blinded at the age of four when his neighbor poured sulfuric acid on him. For the last forty years, he has been advocating for the blind and visually impaired. Miele has also worked on several projects to improve the lives of those living with vision loss. Those projects include:
  • Fire tablets that are Braille-compatible, and a "Show and Tell" feature on Echo devices that can identify different foods and pantry items
  • "Tactile maps" for the Bay Area's BART train—known for ferrying tech workers to and from San Francisco and the suburbs—that users can explore with their fingers and an audio smart pen
  • “YouDescribe,” a platform that crowdsources audio descriptions for popular videos
Due to his contribution to the blind community, the vision loss advocate won a MacArthur Foundation grant. Miele is one of 25 to be awarded $625,000. He told the NYT in 2013:

"I want to be famous for the right reasons, for the work I've done, and not for some stupid thing that happened to me 40 years ago."

Please reach out to SDCB to learn more about our vision rehabilitation programs and services.

"MacArthur Fellow Joshua Miele Creates Technology for the Blind"

Posted in Advocacy and Events | View Post

CRISPR Restores Some Vision

Picture Of A Persons EyeLeber congenital amaurosis (LCA) is a rare genetic disease that begins to rob people of their sight at birth. Over time, vision loss worsens and leads to people becoming legally blind. Thanks to the gene-editing technique known as CRISPR, LCA patients have regained some of their vision.

Data from the Casey Eye Institute at the Oregon Health & Science University and the gene-editing biotech startup Editas Medicine indicates that two patients who took part in a trial can now see better. Carlene Knight (55) says her vision has become more clear and brighter. Knight said:

"I've always loved colors. Since I was a kid, it's one of those things I could enjoy with just a small amount of vision. But now I realize how much brighter they were as a kid because I can see them a lot more brilliantly now. It's just amazing."

Please contact SDCB to learn more about our programs and services.

"Patients with Vision Loss See Color Again After Landmark CRISPR Experiment"

Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post

Accessible Pharmacy Services for Blind People

Picture Of Prescription Bottle Sitting On A SmartphoneAccessible Pharmacy Services is not like your average pharmacy. The company does not accept walk-ins or cater to your average person, in fact, its patient base does not include sighted people altogether. Accessible Pharmacy's mission is to make medication management easier for those living with blindness.

The company delivers medication with labels that convert text to speech. Accessible Pharmacy Services for blind people provides an array of products and assistance "so that the blind can identify their medications privately and independently." What's more, customers receive free home delivery for prescriptions, medical devices, and over-the-counter medications.

"We decided to create a company where accessibility and reduction of barriers would be our primary focus with an incredibly welcoming sense of hospitality," said Alex Cohen, 45, company co-founder and professor of marketing at West Chester University outside of Philadelphia.

San Diego Center for the Blind offers many programs and services; please contact us to learn more.

"Specialty Pharmacies Cater to the Blind and Those With Impaired Vision"

Posted in Accessibility | View Post

Balls 4 Eyeballs

Picture Of Balls 4 Eyeballs CofoundersCooper and Ethan Waisberg love playing tennis. They also love their grandmother, so much so that when she developed glaucoma, the two young men wanted to come to her aid and help other blind people in the process. Their way of helping: starting an organization with the mission of raising money to help fight blindness. The brothers said:

"Anyone who plays tennis loves the sound, and smell when a pressurized can of new balls pops open. But serious players know new balls lose some of their bounce within a couple of hours. In many cases, that means a new tin of three balls each time. But what happens to the used ones?"

Balls 4 Eyeballs collects used tennis balls and resells them at much lower prices than new ones. Cooper and Ethan donate the proceeds from used tennis ball sales in honor of their grandmother.

SDCB can help you or a loved one with vision loss or blindness. If you would like to learn more about the services we provide, then please contact us today.

"Once considered trash, used tennis balls are being sold to raise money for eye health"

Posted in Advocacy and Events | View Post

A Blindenstadt is a City for Blind People

Picture Of Blindenstadt Marburg GermanyLiving in any city or town can present many obstacles for the blind or visually impaired. Those living with blindness need to be vigilant to navigate through the world safely. What if there was a city that was designed to cater to the needs of blind people. Well, in fact, there is just such a place!

Marburg in Germany is a Blindenstadt. It's a city for the visually impaired. On top of being home to a ground-breaking educational institute for blind people, Marburg has adapted over the years to make life for those living with blindness as easy as possible. Some of the features that aid blind and partially sighted people include beeping traffic lights, ridges and bumps that act as tactile signals of hazards or barriers on floors and streets, and buildings that have raised maps and floor plans. City landmarks provide visitors with miniature bronze models allowing individuals the ability to feel each landmark.

"Linking together technological innovations, and the human and social factor, is hugely beneficial," says Bahaddin Batmaz, a blind software developer and accessibility trainer in Marburg. "If you're not constantly wondering how to cross the road, you're less stressed. You're not already totally overwhelmed by this stupid road, and then you're also more open for innovation, and more accepting of others."

Please reach out to SDCB to learn more about our programs and services.

"The school that created a city for the blind"

Posted in Accessibility | View Post

New App Concept Could Help Visually Impaired People Choose Clothing

Picture Of Smartphone And SweaterBlind people may find a new concept beneficial for managing their wardrobe. The award-winning app concept could help visually impaired people choose clothes. The Closet app won first place in the Universities Canada Innovative Designs for Accessibility (IDeA) competition. The contest asks students to come up with innovative solutions for people with disabilities who experience accessibility barriers. Closet will help people match clothes, determine clothing color, read wash label QR codes, and help users to read Braille on tags.

“We realized how heavily we rely on visual cues and our sight to navigate everyday tasks,” said Liana Meere, a recent graduate from Carleton University’s Industrial Design program. “[Getting dressed] is something that you don’t realize could be a huge barrier to independence for people with visual impairments.”

San Diego Center for the Blind offers several programs and services for the visually impaired community. Please contact us to learn more.

“Carleton students design award-winning concept to help visually impaired people”

Posted in Assistive Technology | View Post

Guide Dog Helps a Blind Man Escape the World Trade Center

Picture Of Michael Hingson With Guide Dog RoselleIt’s been twenty years since one of the most tragic events in America’s history, 9/11. Many lives were lost, but fortunately, some individuals were able to escape the towers before they fell. One such instance, a guide dog helps a blind man escape the World Trade Center. When the tower that Michael Hingson worked in was struck, he managed to navigate his way from the 78th floor to the street with the help of his guide dog Roselle. Hingson remembers:

“When Tower 2 collapsed… I heard a voice in my head as clearly as you hear me that said, ‘Don’t worry about what you can’t control. Focus on running with Roselle and the rest will take care of itself.’ And I had this sense of peace that we’d be ok if we worked together. And that’s a lesson I learned and it’s a lesson I try to pass on.”

SDCB can help you or a loved one with blindness or vision loss, please contact us to learn more about our programs and services.

“20 Years After 9/11, A Survivor Shares How Lifelong Blindness Guided His Narrow Escape”

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

Robotic White Cane for the Blind

Picture Of Man Using Robotic White CaneThe creation of a new robotic white cane for the blind community was funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Eye Institute (NEI) and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB). The white cane features a color 3D camera and an inertial measurement sensor to help the visually impaired navigate safely indoors.

“Many people in the visually impaired community consider the white cane to be their best and most functional navigational tool, despite it being century-old technology,” said Cang Ye, Ph.D., lead author of the study and professor of computer science at the College of Engineering at the Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond. “For sighted people, technologies like GPS-based applications have revolutionized navigation. We’re interested in creating a device that closes many of the gaps in functionality for white cane users.”

Please contact SDCB to learn more about our vision rehabilitation programs and services.

“NIH-funded modern “white cane” brings navigation assistance to the 21st century”

Posted in Assistive Technology | View Post

New App Spots Glaucoma Early Signs

Picture Of Woman Using Glaucoma App On IpadGlaucoma can cause irreversible vision loss and even blindness if the condition goes untreated. The eye disease affects 3 million Americans. It's essential to catch the signs of glaucoma early on. Doctors recommend getting an annual eye exam with an ophthalmologist if you are over the age of 40 or have a family history of glaucoma. Now there is a new app that can help patients spot the early signs of glaucoma.

"By the time a glaucoma patient sees a physician, almost 50 to 75 percent of them have moderate to severe visual field loss which they're not aware of," said Dr. Meghal Gagrani, a glaucoma fellow at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Please reach out to San Diego Center for the Blind to learn more about our programs and services.

"Glaucoma App: How to spot the early signs"

Posted in Eye Disease - Glaucoma | View Post

Blind Consultant Working On See

Picture Of Jason Momoa On SeeApple TV Plus' show "See" brings the world of blindness to life for viewers. What's more, there is a blind consultant working on "See" to help steer producers in the right direction regarding the authenticity of the Blind world. Joe Strechay teaches the actors about what it's like being blind and teaches them the mannerisms of people living with blindness. "See," starring Jason Momoa, is now in its second season.

"[We're trying to] bring it [the world of blindness] and create it and make it practical, and make sure that what we do is in that world of blindness," said Strechay. "[Not] the world of blindness as we know it—a world of blindness where generations and generations of people have been blind and those social and cultural norms of eye contact disappear, [and] how we signal and communicate how we move is in that world."

Please reach out to SDCB to learn more about our programs and services.

"How Joe Strechay Helps Brings The World Of Blindness To Life In 'See'"

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

US Blind Athlete Won Gold

Picture Of Paralympic Swimmer Anastasia Pagonis With Gold MedalAnastasia Pagonis began losing her vision at age 12 due to genetic retina disease and autoimmune retinopathy. Her doctor suggested that she might try swimming because she could no longer play soccer. Last week, the US blind athlete won gold at the Tokyo Paralympics in the 400m freestyle swim. On top of being a world-record-setting athlete, Pagonis uses social media to educate people about adaptive sports and the visually impaired community. Pagonis has one event left in the Paralympics, the 100m free on Friday, Sept. 3.

"I don't have to be the stereotype of blindness. … I can do my own makeup. I can be an influencer. I can be a professional athlete," she told The Washington Post. And Pagonis says she will continue "showing other people with disabilities, or people who are just different, that they can do it."

SDCB can help you or a loved one with vision loss or blindness. Please contact us to learn more.

"Anastasia Pagonis, 17, breaks own world record, wins US' first gold medal of Tokyo Paralympics"

Posted in Blind Athlete | View Post

New Eye Test Can Predict a Condition that Causes Blindness

Picture Of A Woman EyesArtificial intelligence has been revolutionizing the field of medicine in the last decade. Now, AI is being used for an eye test that can predict a condition that can lead to blindness. The retinal imaging device is called Detection of Apoptosis in Retinal Cells (DARC). A new study showed that DARC could identify areas of the eye showing signs of geographic atrophy. GA is a common condition that can cause reduced vision and blindness. Professor Francesca Cordeiro, Chair and Professor of Ophthalmology at Imperial College London, said: ​​

“Geographic atrophy is one of the leading causes of reduced vision, and in some cases blindness, in the developed world. It can significantly impact patients’ quality of life as tasks such as reading, driving and even recognizing familiar faces become more difficult as the disease advances. As life expectancy in developed countries continues to increase, the incidence of GA has grown. Early detection is a key defence against this disease but as symptoms develop over several years, the condition is often picked up once the disease has progressed to a more advanced stage.”

“Our study is the first to show that DARC technology can be used to predict whether a patient is at risk of developing GA. These findings will help clinicians intervene with treatments to slow down vision loss and manage the condition at an early stage. We also hope that this technology can be rolled out onto high street opticians and used as a screening test in primary care settings.”

San Diego Center for the Blind can help you or a loved one with vision loss or blindness. Please contact us to learn more.

“AI-supported test can predict eye disease that leads to blindness”

Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post

Music Videos for Visually Impaired People

Picture Of Rapper Stoneface And William Cooper And Trophy SniperAudio descriptions help blind and visually impaired people to experience the joy of Hollywood films. Visually impaired people can enjoy audio descriptions describing what is on the screen on major video-streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Interestingly, the same could not be said about music videos until now. Rappers Stoneface and William Cooper have a new single called “Silent Killa;” what’s more, the accompanying music video will include audio descriptions. It’s a significant accomplishment for Stoneface because he is blind. He lost his vision from sustaining a gunshot wound to the head. Hopefully, more artists will start making music videos for visually impaired people.

“For my entire career, I literally never knew what was actually happening in my music videos, or any music video,” said Stoneface. “It was no different than simply listening to the song’s audio while everyone else enjoyed what was being presented on the screen. You have absolutely no idea what this means to me. I have finally enjoyed a music video — 100 percent blind man has watched and enjoyed a music video, just listen to how that sounds. Truly amazing.”

Please contact SDCB if you would like to learn more about the programs and services we offer.


Posted in Assistive Technology | View Post

Blind and Visually Impaired Hike

Picture Of The Colorado Rocky MountainsTomorrow, a group of blind and visually impaired people will achieve a remarkable feat. The Audio Information Network of Colorado (AINC) will lead the team of 10 to summit a 12,456-foot peak at Keystone in Arapahoe Basin. The blind and visually impaired hike will be done in partnership with No Barriers USA. The free event helps AINC reach its mission, “to empower individuals to be self-sufficient, connected to the community, and continuously learning.”

The inspiration for the Keystone hike is this year’s marking of the 20th anniversary of Erik Weihenmayer’s summit of Mt. Everest. Weihenmayer was the first blind person ever to reach the top of Everest.

Please contact SDCB to learn more about our vision rehabilitation programs and services.


Posted in Advocacy and Events | View Post

RightHear App for the Blind

Picture Of Person Using RightHear App For Blind PeopleSeveral different navigation applications can help blind people. Those include AccessNow, AroundMe, Autour, and BlindSquare. However, not many can assist blind people in navigating indoor spaces. One Israeli start-up hopes to change that with the RightHear app. The application can help visually impaired users navigate through malls, hospitals, grocery stores, restaurants, museums, and universities. RightHear is available in 26 languages and is free for Android and iOS users.

"In a supermarket, for example, the app can navigate to the bakery section or the vegetable aisle. In a mall, it can take you to a particular store or area," said Idan Meir, RightHear Co-founder & CEO.

Don't hesitate to get in touch with San Diego Center for the Blind to learn more about our programs and services.

"RightHear app is making public spaces accessible for blind people"

Posted in Assistive Technology | View Post

New Accessible Radio Set Designed for the Blind

Picture Of RNIB DAB+ And FM RadioBlind and partially sighted people can now benefit from a new accessible radio set designed for blind and partially sighted people. Created by the Royal National Institute of Blind People, the DAB+ and FM radio offers users easy-to-use tactile buttons and clear voice prompts. Blind people will also benefit from audible confirmations when buttons are pressed. What's more, the DAB+ and FM radio has a dual alarm with a snooze function, sleep timer, and supports USB, making it compatible with RNIB's Talking Book Service, giving users access to over 34,000 fiction and nonfiction books.

"We are thrilled to launch the new RNIB digital radio. It is important to RNIB that blind and partially sighted people can purchase accessible products without having to break the bank, which is why we are pleased to launch this affordable model", said RNIB Senior Retail Products Manager, Jennie Mather. "We continually review customer feedback to help us improve our products and strive to make a difference."

SDCB offers several vision rehabilitation programs and services. Please get in touch with us to learn more. 

"RNIB launches its own accessible FM and DAB+ digital radio"

Posted in Assistive Technology | View Post

Digital Experiences for Blind Audiences

Picture Of ArtEcho Echolocation ProjectThe Smithsonian Museum created an Open Access Challenge to help users explore online museum collections from the Smithsonian's Open Access collections. Seven teams were commissioned; the winning team included a group of Parsons Design and Technology alumni. The team, led by Zhizhen (Jerry) Tan, created ArtEcho, which will provide broader access for blind echolocation users to perceive the Smithsonian and other museums' 3D objects directly through sounds.

"I was inspired to create audio-based digital experiences primarily for sightless audiences' direct perception, and the Smithsonian challenge gave me a chance to interpret how a digital museum experience might enable people to interact with objects beyond just sight," explains Tan. "ArtEcho is a web-based virtual reality museum that allows you to perceive museum objects from Smithsonian 3D digitization library and their stories through imagery, sound, verbal narration, and simulated echolocation based on the teachings of Thomas Tajo."

Please contact SDCB to learn more about our vision rehabilitation programs and services.

"Parsons Design and Technology Alumni Win the 2021 Smithsonian Open Access Challenge"

Posted in Assistive Technology | View Post

The World’s Fastest Blind Sprinter

Picture of David Brown the worlds fastest blind sprinterThe Swiss sportswear brand On has produced films profiling gifted athletes and adventurers. The films show the human side of the athlete and delve into social issues. Some of you may have seen the two-year-old On film about Olympic gold medalist Nicola Spirig from Switzerland. In 2020, On covered a couple's epic mountaineering trek through a mix of stirring live-action and animation.

The latest film to drop is "Untethered," a 21-minute visual essay about "the world's fastest blind sprinter," David Brown. Mr. Brown is a U.S. Paralympian and the current 100-meter world record holder at 10.89 seconds. For nearly a decade, Brown has worked with mentor and running guide Jerome Avery to become a champion; a four-inch tether attaches the two athletes. "Untethered" explores the spiritual bond between Brown and Avery.

Please contact SDCB to learn more about our programs and services.

"On, the Sports Brand, Tells the Story of 'the World's Fastest Blind Sprinter"

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

The National Federation of the Blind

Picture of Blind men working on boxes for Elizabeth Arden cosmetics at the Lighthouse, an institution for the blind in New York City 1944Blind workers were not covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which set standards for safety and pay. Historian Felicia Kornbluh explores the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) 's efforts to organize visually impaired people during the 1950s to fight for their rights.

The NFB was created in the 1940s, becoming the first national organization in U.S. history led exclusively by blind men and women. In those years, the NFB contended that people who were blind needed to have a seat at the table when it came to crafting and implementing policies and programs that concerned blind people. Until the NFB came into the picture, self-styled professionals (not blind or visually impaired) acted as advocates for the sight-loss community.

Many organizations were resistant to having blind people helping to draft public policy when it came to their wellbeing. The head of the National Rehabilitation Association argued, "blind people like other handicapped people sometimes have unreasonable ambitions."'

Eventually, the NFB's work would be taken up in the late 1960s by the disability rights movement as a whole. The organization's efforts had a hand in the creation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Please contact SDCB to learn more about our vision rehabilitation programs and services.

"How Blind Activists Fought for Blind Workers"

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired | View Post

The American Printing House for the Blind

Picture Of Hand Reading BrailleThe American Printing House for the Blind (APH) has a long history of helping the blind and visually impaired community. The non-profit's humble beginnings go back to 1854 when Morrison Heady, a blind Kentucky resident, started collecting donations in order to print a raised letter version of John Milton's Paradise Lost. Today the organization is dedicated to empowering blind and visually impaired people by identifying obstacles in blind students' education. APH provides innovative products, materials, and services that support visually impaired people throughout their lifetime.

"Over the last few years, APH has expanded our products and services beyond our K-12 offerings to support individuals who are blind or visually impaired, and the professionals who serve them, throughout their lifetime. We are committed to meeting the needs of students, adults, parents, teachers, educators, advocates, and others we serve." – Sara Brown, Public Relations Manager, APH.

Please contact SDCB to learn more about our programs and services.

"Research & manufacturing products for blind & visually impaired people is APH's main focus"

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The World’s Leading Infectious Cause of Blindness

Picture Of Dr Agatha AboeDr. Agatha Aboe has a mission: stop the world's leading infectious cause of blindness—trachoma. Untreated, ​​trachoma can lead to permanent damage to the cornea, causing vision loss and blindness. Over the course of two decades, Dr. Aboe was instrumental in reversing and preventing trachoma in Ghana. ​​

"I thought, this is not right. In this present day, no one should be allowed to go blind from trachoma," Aboe said. "So I was challenged once I went to these trachoma-endemic areas, to do whatever I can — do my best, and get others on board — and together, help eliminate this disease from Ghana."

In 2018, the World Health Organization declared that Ghana had eliminated trachoma as a public health problem. Now, Dr. Aboe is working to help other African and Asian countries achieve the same goal by implementing the same strategies used in Ghana.

Please reach out to SDCB to learn more about our programs and services.

"This Woman Helped Eliminate a Blinding Disease in Ghana. Now, She's Helping Other Countries Do the Same."

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

Tactile ASL Translational User Mechanism

Picture Of Tactile ASL Translational User MechanismSamantha Johnson is a bioengineering student at Northeastern. She created the Tactile ASL Translational User Mechanism (TATUM) – a robotic arm – to help deaf-blind people communicate without an interpreter. While deaf people can communicate using ASL visually, deaf-blind people need to touch the signs; this requires an interpreter to be present to sign what others are saying because most people don't know how to sign. In the future, TATUM could allow the deaf-blind community the ability to speak privately; this could be helpful in settings like doctor's offices.

"When I was watching the interpreter sign, I asked, 'How do you communicate without the interpreter?'" and the answer was simply, "'We don't,'" Johnson recalls.

Please contact SDCB to learn more about our vision rehabilitation programs and services.


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

Amazon Provides Blind People Access to Talking Book Service

Picture Of An Amazon Alexa Smart SpeakerThe Royal National Institute of Blind People's (RNIB) Talking Books service offers the visually impaired thousands of audiobooks sent out to customers in CD or USB format or as digital downloads. The RNIB first launched the service in 1935. Now, Amazon provides blind people access to the RNIB Talking Books service via its virtual home assistant, Alexa. By asking "Alexa, open RNIB Talking Books," blind users will be able to choose from more than 30,000 audiobooks.

"We are extremely pleased to announce that Talking Books customers can now access the 34,000 books in the RNIB Library by asking Alexa," said David Clarke, the RNIB director of services.

Please reach out to San Diego Center for the Blind to learn more about the programs and services we offer.

"Amazon's Alexa offers free audiobooks to people with sight loss"

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

Blind Guide Dog Leads the Blind

Picture of Gay in her guide dog harness leading Ken and Abel across a streetAll guide dogs loyally serve their owners by helping them get around and avoid obstacles. However, one guide dog continued to serve his owner log after he could see clearly. In the 1970s, seven-year-old golden Labrador Abel gradually went blind but never let his blind owner know as Abel continued to lead the way across the city.

When the discovery was made and the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association issued a new guide dog to Ken Williams, he fought to keep Abel. From then on, the new guide dog Gay would lead both Ken and Abel around the city.

Contact SDCB to learn more about our vision rehabilitation programs and services.

"Loyal guide dog who was going blind didn't let owner know and kept guiding him"

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

Association for Blind Athletes

Picture Of Someone Playing Beep Baseball​​The Wichita Association for Blind Athletes helps visually impaired residents get socially and recreationally involved in their community. Co-founded by Ira Mills, WABA has found numerous ways to do that, including creating a beep baseball team, the only team of its kind in Kansas. Beep baseball involves all players, except the pitchers and catchers, being blindfolded and identifying the ball by its chirping sound. Mills has been coaching the Wichita Falcons for the last four years. This year is the second time the Falcons The Wichita Falcons are competing in their second National Beep Baseball Association World Series.

"We're still rookies in this thing and I'm expecting a lot of competition," Mills said. "A lot of these guys have been around a lot longer, put in a lot more practice, have a lot more players on their roster and they can really hit the ball. It's going to be a very high-speed game."

Please reach out to SDCB to learn more about our programs and services.

"Playing and loving it: Wichita beep baseball team offers social connection for visually impaired"

Posted in Blind Athlete | View Post

Study On Color Blindness

Picture Of Colored Electrical WiresEnChroma, the creators of specialized glasses for color blindness, announced the results of a workforce survey highlighting the obstacles that tens of millions of workers with color blindness face every day. Surprisingly, nine of 10 participants in the study on color blindness stated that identifying colors plays a role in their job. What's more, 75 percent reported that color blindness slows them down at work, 65 percent have issues interpreting color-coded materials, and over 20 percent can't do tasks requiring accurate color identification.

"This study is critical for educating HR, safety and accessibility managers about color blindness and how, by implementing some simple guidelines, they can make the workplace more accessible for all employees," said Erik Ritchie, CEO of EnChroma. "Color blind people are just as successful and productive as any employee, but they can use a hand to reduce the everyday nuisances and obstacles they experience related to color in the workplace."

Please contact SDCB to learn more about our programs and services.

"Seventy-Five Percent of Color Blind People Experience Challenges at Work, EnChroma Study Finds"

Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post

Induction Stovetop for Blind People

Picture Of Ugo Induction Stovetop For Blind PeopleA new induction stovetop for blind people uses voice commands and haptic feedback to make cooking safer and more accessible. Dorian Famin, a French industrial designer, created Ugo, a two-part induction stovetop, in order to help streamline work in the kitchen for the blind and vision loss community. Ugo recites step-by-step recipes to users to aid blind people's cooking experience. The Ugo stovetop also includes wide, easy-to-grip handles, ensuring safe carrying and boosting the stove's tactile attributes.

Please contact SDCB to learn more about our programs and services.


Posted in Assistive Technology | View Post

Blind Swimmer Withdrew from Paralympics

Picture Of Olympic Stadium In TokyoBecca Meyers, 26, was born with Usher syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes hearing and vision loss. Meyers is a six-time Paralympic medalist. She won three gold medals and a silver at the 2016 Rio Games, and a silver and bronze at London 2012. Meyers was expected to compete in next month's Tokyo Paralympics. However, the USOPC denied her request to have a personal care assistant (PCA) in Japan. As a result, the blind swimmer withdrew from the Paralympics.

"Team USA and USOPC know that I am deaf and blind," Meyers told ESPN. "I need a personal care assistant who I can trust. They are claiming that because of COVID restrictions, I can't get approved for a PCA. But I really don't believe that it's just because of COVID. They chose to ignore my needs. They chose to ignore my request for my team."

Please reach out to San Diego Center for the Blind to learn more about our programs and services.

"Deaf-blind swimmer Becca Meyers is denied personal care assistant, withdraws from Tokyo Paralympics"

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

Wearable Computer Vision Device for Blind People

Picture Of Wearable Vision DeviceA wearable vision device for blind people could help prevent collisions. A new study showed that people who have visual impairments could reduce their chance of collisions or falls by 37 percent due to wearing such devices. The study, led by vision rehabilitation researchers at Mass Eye and Ear, a member of Mass General Brigham, was published in JAMA Ophthalmology.

"Independent travel is an essential part of daily life for many people who are visually impaired, but they face a greater risk of bumping into obstacles when they walk on their own," said Gang Luo, PhD, an associate scientist at the Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass Eye and Ear, and an associate professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School. "Although many blind individuals use long canes to detect obstacles, collision risks are not completely eliminated. We sought to develop and test a device that can augment these everyday mobility aids, further improving their safety."

Please contact SDCB to learn more about our vision rehabilitation programs and services.

"Wearable Devices Can Reduce Collision Risk in Blind and Visually Impaired People"

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Blind People Can Overcome Obstacles With Help

Picture of Arturo Soto With His Guide Dog VangieLiving with vision loss or blindness is not easy, but blind people can overcome obstacles with help. Arturo Soto graduated high school this spring, despite having lost his vision in early 2020. Naturally, the sudden loss of vision left Soto feeling discouraged. What’s more, he began to withdraw from his friends and began isolating. However, Soto has a new lease on life thanks to his new guide dog Vangie.

Before he was paired with Vangie, a 2-year-old yellow lab, Soto relied on a white cane to detect obstacles. Soto says that he became frustrated by constantly bumping into objects and other people. Vangie has solved a lot of the problems that Soto had been experiencing.

“I call her my super dog,” Soto said of the 2-year-old yellow Lab. “She’s a great listener ... she’s a partner in crime. I owe a lot to her because she’s given me new strength.”

Please reach out to SDCB to learn more about the programs and services we offer for visually impaired and blind people.

“Blindness isn’t an obstacle to success”

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

Accessibility for Visually Impaired and Blind People

Sight Tech Global 2021 FlyerSight Tech Global is an event about AI and the future of accessibility for visually impaired and blind people. Accessibility for visually impaired and blind people is crucial to progress. The next event will take place December 1-2, 2021. At last year’s event, Apple and Microsoft announced a remarkable tool that could enhance the lives of blind people—“scene description.” The AI cloud-based technology could inform users as to what was located in the room they are in. The tool could serve as a set of eyes for those who have lost their vision.

This year’s Sight Tech Global will focus on sight description heavily. The tricky question that will be asked at this year’s event is: “How do highly advanced, AI-based technologies actually become compelling, affordable products that folks who are blind or visually impaired readily adopt?”

Contact SDCB to learn more about our vision rehabilitation programs and services.

"Announcing Sight Tech Global 2021"

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Blind Woman Rides Coast-to-Coast

Map Of Bike Path Across The CountryOver the years, many people have ridden their bikes from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. However, it’s truly an impressive feat when the person riding the bike is living with a disability. We are all watching as one blind woman rides coast-to-coast this summer.

Shawn Cheshire is a U.S. Army veteran and former paramedic who lost her vision. She has taken to her bicycle to break social barriers and stigmas surrounding the blind community. Cheshire began her journey on May 17 in Florence, Oregon. Now, roughly 3,800-miles later, she is expected to ride into Virginia Beach on the Atlantic coast sometime today.

“I lost my vision from a traumatic brain injury while working as a paramedic in the back of an ambulance. I don’t remember the accident,” said Cheshire. “Now that I’m blind, no longer sighted, there are these thought processes of what blind people can and can’t do and I don’t like that. I don’t want to feel like I have to live a limited life because I’m blind.”

Please reach out to SDCB to learn more about our vision loss programs and services.

“Blind woman’s coast-to-coast bike ride stops in Roanoke”

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

Young Man is Not Deterred by Blindness

Picture Of Hari Roberts With His HorseHari Roberts lives an action-packed life; he’s been riding horses for ten years and is currently studying Equine Care and Management at Coleg Cambria. Roberts has been blind since birth, but the young man is not deterred by blindness.

Hari is a thrill-seeker who does dressage, but he also has taken part in several other intense sports such as triathlons. He plans to do a high-ropes course in the near future. Hari said:

“A few people are surprised when they find out what I am doing because it is unusual to them, but I’ve shown from a young age that being blind is no barrier if you’re motivated and truly believe in yourself.”

Please reach out to SDCB if you are struggling with vision loss or blindness. We offer many programs and services that can help.

“Thrillseeker Hari won’t let blindness stop lifelong dream to work with horses”

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

The Relationship Between Poverty and Blindness

Picture Of Patients After Cataract SurgeryDid you know that nearly 90% of the world’s blind live in low-income countries? What’s more, the leading cause of blindness in such countries is, more times than not, preventable. Blindness due to cataracts, for instance, is avoidable.

The relationship between poverty and blindness is both a cause and consequence of each other. Ending the cycle requires highly complex strategies that transcend mere funding. In fact, people living in low-income countries need first to understand that blindness is not a normal part of life—that vision loss can be prevented.

Please contact San Diego Center for the Blind to learn more about our programs and services.

“To end extreme poverty, we must also end blindness”

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired | View Post

Invention Helps Blind People Detect Light

Picture Of Mary Jameson Using The OptophoneEdmund Edward Fournier d’Albe was an Irish writer, inventor, and physicist. On June 25, 1912, d’Albe demonstrated a new invention at the Optical Society Convention in London. He called the machine an “exploring optophone,” he contended that his creation helps blind people detect light or “hear” light instead.

The optophone houses a cell that relies on the photoelectric properties of selenium. A pair of headphones allowed users to listen for modulations in tone as the cell detected light; it allowed listeners to distinguish between light and dark spaces.

d’Albe claimed that the optophone was a new mobility tool that would help blind people safely explore their environments. The device could even detect the light and dark spaces of letters on paper. Mary Jameson started using the optophone in 1918, and she could read 60 words per minute by 1972.

Please contact SDCB to learn more about our vision rehabilitation programs and services.

“A Century Ago, the Optophone Allowed Blind People to Hear the Printed Word”

Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post
USA Qualifies For The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games

USA Qualifies For The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games

USA Qualifies For The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic GamesBoth men’s and women’s USA goalball teams punched their tickets for the the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games goalball in Tokyo.  Goalball is a sport designed specifically for visually impaired athletes.

Each team is one of only ten worldwide to qualify.  In fact, the drawing to determine each team’s group was held in Tokyo in May.  The USA men’s team, which earned silver in the 2016 Olympics, will be in Group A, along with world champions Brazil, hosts Japan, African champion Algeria, and defending Olympic gold medalists Lithuania.

The USA women’s team, bronze medalists last Olympics, are grouped in Pool B along with defending Olympic champion Turkey, host Japan, Egypt, and Brazil.

Please contact San Diego Center for the Blind to learn more about our programs and services.

USA Qualifies For The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games

Posted in Blind Athlete, Blind and Vision Impaired - Heroes Stories | View Post
Famous Blind and Visually Impaired Athletes

Famous Blind and Visually Impaired Athletes

Famous Blind and Visually Impaired AthletesRead inspirational stories about some of history’s best blind and visually impaired athletes.  They overcame physical and emotional challenges in addition to societal obstacles and lowered expectations.

Erik Weihenmayer climbed Mount Everest.  Completely blind Craig MacFarlane won 103 medals in 6 summer and winter sports.  Another Craig, Craig Aucoin, finished seven triathlons and biked across Canada.  And of course, Marla Runyan became the first blind athlete to participate in the Olympic Games, reaching the finals of the women’s 1,500 meters in 2000 in Sydney.

SDCB can help you or a loved one with vision rehabilitation programs and services. Please contact us to learn more.

Famous Blind and Visually Impaired Athletes

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