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Explaining Impending Vision Loss to Your Partner
vision lossUsher syndrome is a rare recessive genetic condition and is the most common cause of deaf-blindness. There is no cure or treatment, unfortunately. Those born with the disease have hearing loss; however, vision loss usually starts in one’s adolescence in the form of retinitis pigmentosa. 

Shannon Reyenga has always been deaf, but she didn’t know that her hearing loss was the result of Usher syndrome. She has experienced poor night vision loss, a precursor to blindness in such cases, but was unprepared to learn she had the condition at a routine vision check-up at LensCrafters. Even though Reyenga’s boyfriend knew she was deaf from their first date, she struggled to share with him that she would eventually be unable to see.

“After I learned I had Usher syndrome, I thought I lost any chance of finding love. I struggled with the idea of finding someone willing to face this challenging diagnosis with me. I could hardly face it myself.

Is your vision changing? SDCB can help! Please contact us to learn more about our programs.

“Why I Didn’t Tell My Boyfriend I Was Going Blind Until I Absolutely Had To”

Posted in Adapting and Emotions After Vision Loss | View Post
Alleviating The Hardships of Blindness
blindnessLarry Misrok, 81, has a rare autoimmune disease (birdshot chorioretinopathy) that caused inflammation in his eyes, destroying a layer of his retina that left him living with blindness. He has lived with visual impairment since the 1970s, which is no easy feat. In recent years and thanks to technological advancements, Larry has regained some independence.

Today, Misrok is aided by high-tech glasses made by Aira. The spectacles do not restore a person’s vision; they allow Aira employees to see what the user should be seeing; operators guide people with vision loss through the use of a smartphone app. Several other assistive technologies exist that are making the lives of people living with blindness a little or a lot easier.

“Technology can be an extremely powerful tool for someone who is visually impaired if it is used along with a person’s other skills and abilities,” says Ryan Jones, a legally blind program manager with VFO Group, which helps companies become more accessible to users with disabilities. “These types of programs allow equal access to opportunities and careers for people who are visually impaired. They’re in just about every type of profession you can think of—except maybe airline pilot.”

Do you want to live as independently as possible? Please contact SDCB to learn how we can help you achieve that goal.

“A Vision Quest”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Middles School Student Wins Regional Braille Challenge
BrailleThe Braille Institute in California hosts the National Braille Challenge each year. The competition is meant to inspire young, visually impaired individuals to hone their reading and writing skills.

A seventh-grader placed first in the 2019 S.C. Regional Braille Challenge on February 7, 2019. Competing against 11 other students from across South Carolina, Brenson Baker won the Apprentice/Novice Level which included spelling, reading comprehension, and proofreading. The top-scoring 60 contestants in the United States are invited to compete in the final round in Los Angeles, CA, this June.

Do you know someone that requires our vision rehabilitation services and would like help? Please contact us to learn more about our programs.

“Brenson Baker wins first place at S.C. Regional Braille Challenge”

Posted in Braille | View Post
Inventor Patricia Bath and Her Fight Against Blindness
blindnessWhile February was Black History Month, today we would like to introduce you to Dr. Patricia Bath. Dr. Bath is a leader in the fight against blindness in the black community. At Columbia University she learned that African Americans were twice as likely to develop blindness, compared to other patients. Moreover, the demographic is eight times more likely to develop glaucoma.

Aside from being the first African American to finish a residency in ophthalmology, Dr. Bath was the first female faculty member in the Department of Ophthalmology at UCLA. She is the co-founder of the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness and invented the Laserphaco Probe in 1981. The device made cataracts treatments less painful and more precise.

SDCB helps people living with vision loss reach their highest level of independence. Please contact us to learn more.

“Black History: Bath brought sight to many”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Music Helps Young People Living With Blindness
blindnessDoctors determined Levi Gobin was blind in the first year of his life. Now a seventh grader, Gobin does not let his blindness hold him back. Where the teenager's vision lacks, his ears make up for the difference. At a young age, Levi’s mother discovered that he had an ear for music.

“Music particularly, seeing him have that knack for it, it really gave me hope that he’s going to live a perfectly typical life,” said Levi’s mother. “Not just typical but extraordinary because he never ceases to amaze me. He can do just about anything a sighted kid can do and he’s very talented in so many ways. Whatever he wants to do he’s going to be able to do it.”

Throughout his short life, Mr. Gobin has had his share of struggles; being a blind person in a sighted world brings with it myriad complications. However, his motivation to continue moving forward has not waned. With the aid of music and other techniques, he can keep striving to achieve his goals.

SDCB offers assistive technology classes and vision rehabilitation training courses. Please contact us to learn more.

“Middle school student uses music to cope with blindness”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Blindness Can Not Stand In the Way of This Middle Schooler
blindnessJasmine Jarrett is in middle school. She plays the trumpet in the school band and is on the honor roll. Moreover, Jasmine is a flyer for her school’s cheerleading team; a position which involves doing, exactly, what the name suggests. Her cheer squad hoists her into the air and then catches the young lady on the way down.

“I like to flip around,” Jasmine said.

Many cheerleaders can probably boast about a similar list of accomplishments. However, few can say that they achieve so many feats while legally blind. Ms. Jarrett can only see a couple of feet in front of her; she must hold her homework or exams two inches from her eyes to read it.

SDCB helps people living with vision loss learn how to build independence. We offer counseling, classes, support groups, and vision rehabilitation services. Please contact us to learn more about our programs.

"Rootstown Middle Schooler doesn’t let blindness slow her down"

Posted in Blind and Vision Impaired Heroes Stories | View Post
Heavy Smokers At Risk of Color Blindness
blindnessCigarettes are bad for humans in myriad ways; most people are aware of the dangers that can accompany smoking. Each year, researchers uncover new links between tobacco use and health conditions. While the majority of adults understand that smoking can result in cancer, new research suggests that those who smoke more than a pack of cigarettes a day could be playing with their vision.

A Rutgers University study found that heavy tobacco smoking can have harmful effects on "spatial and color vision" and may result in color blindness. The findings appear in the journal Psychiatry Research.

"Our results indicate excessive use of cigarettes, or chronic exposure to their compounds, affects visual discrimination, supporting the existence of overall deficits in visual processing with tobacco addiction," said Steven Silverstein from the Rutgers's Behavioral Health Care. "Cigarette smoke consists of numerous compounds that are harmful, and it has been linked to a reduction in the thickness of layers in the brain, and to brain lesions, involving areas such as the frontal lobe, which plays a role in voluntary movement and control of thinking, and a decrease in activity in the area of the brain that processes vision."

If you are struggling with vision loss, please know, you are not alone. The San Diego Center for the Blind can assist you in many ways; please click here to learn more.

“Smoking over 20 cigarettes a day can cause blindness”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Surprising Connection Between Blindness and Mental Illness
blindnessThe University of Western Australia conducted a study that led to some interesting findings which must be explored in more detail. Researchers combed through data from nearly 500,000 people in WA health registers between 1980 and 2001. They were unable to find even one person with congenital or early cortical blindness who also developed schizophrenia—or any other psychotic illness.

"It's very difficult to say what the exact mechanism is but we think that the protective effect for schizophrenia is related to some kind of compensatory cortical reorganisation in the brain that’s happening in response to having congenital or early cortical blindness," said lead author, Professor Vera Morgan. “As a result, some functions that are impaired in schizophrenia may actually be enhanced in people with congenital or early cortical blindness."

SDCBs vision rehabilitation program is recognized worldwide for helping individuals living with vision loss return to an independent lifestyle. Please contact us to learn more.

“Link between blindness and schizophrenia”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Curing Color Blindness
blindnessWhile male squirrel monkeys are not the best at seeing color, they could help scientists find a cure for human color blindness or color deficiency. The little monkeys are protanopes; they only see medium and short wavelengths of light, blues and greens and yellow; they have no receptor for reddish hues.

Jay Neitz, a color vision researcher at the University of Washington and his wife Maureen, a geneticist, created a serum to help spider monkeys see colors they have never seen before. But, a lot has to go right.

“We’ve been working on ways to improve the efficiency,” Neitz says.

SDCB’s services help the visually impaired live – daily – doing many of the things they did while sighted. Please contact us to learn more.

“Monkeys with superpower eyes could help cure color blindness”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Shame and Denial About Blindness
blindness“Books and Coffee” is an annual event that invites speakers to discuss books with students. This year, English professor Maren Linett – director of the critical disability studies program at Purdue – talked about, “Have Dog, Will Travel,” by Stephen Kuusisto.

The memoir is about Kuusisto’s life and him coming to terms to terms with living with blindness—in a less than accommodating society.

Professor Linett says that “For Kuusisto, the most disabling feature of his childhood was not his blindness, but his family’s denial of and shame about his blindness.” She adds that “This kind of disabling environment is what keeps people expending enormous psychological and physical effort to pass for ‘normal.’”

Please contact SDCB if you or someone you know is experiencing blindness.

“Living with a disability in a world that stigmatizes being disabled”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Star Shares Personal Story About Blindness from Wet AMD
blindnessSince 1976, Deidre Hall has played the character of Dr. Marlene Evans on the beloved “soap opera” Days of our Lives. While she isn’t a physician off-camera, Hall does concern herself with medical problems affecting real people. In observance of Low Vision Awareness Month (February), the daytime television star is taking the opportunity to discuss her mother’s experience with blindness resulting from Wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

“I think we should all have concerns for ourselves,” said Hall. “People tend to confuse wearing glasses with what AMD is. Age-related macular degeneration is a disease, and 1.5 million people in the U.S. are impacted by it, and it causes blindness. So, it’s a huge issue for people. As we all go through what would I rather lose, my ability to speak, my eyesight, my ability to hear, you always land on what would I do without my eyesight, and to take it for granted is a serious mistake.”

SDCB offers counseling, training, community outreach programs, and more. Please contact us for more information.

“Days of our Lives Star Deidre Hall Wants to Help Prevent Blindness from Wet AMD”

Posted in Blind and Vision Impaired Heroes | View Post
Blindness Did Not Keep Mikayla Resh from Inspiring Others
blindnessMikayla Resh experienced severe brain damage at birth; her trauma resulted in multiple disabilities including blindness, hearing loss, and spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. Sadly, Resh passed away on January 30th at the age of 24. In life, she served as an inspiration to others who are impacted by disability; she and her mother would visit schools and discuss the importance of inclusion for people with disabilities.

Mikayla’s mother founded Mikayla’s Voice, a nonprofit organization with the aim of empowering children with disabilities and educating others about diversity and inclusion.

"I promised her before she died that I would make sure that her voice was louder than ever," Kimberly Resh said.

SDCB’s Assistive Technology Center and Store have the tools to help you become independent. Please contact us to learn more.

“Mikayla Resh, an inspiration for people with disabilities, has died. Family and friends vow to keep her voice alive.”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Considering Child Rearing While Living With Vision Loss
vision lossMost people living with vision loss eventually have children; the rates are only slightly lower than sighted individuals. However, many blind people contemplate if child rearing makes sense. Such a person’s concerns often stem from discouragement from other sighted people. While the opinions of the misinformed should never stand in someone’s way, several things are beneficial to consider before starting down the path to mother or fatherhood. Such as your mobility, home management, problem-solving, and advocacy skills. 

Please contact SDCB to find out more about all the ways we can help you reach your own highest level of independence.

“So, You’re Blind, and You Want to Have Kids”

Posted in Vision Loss | View Post
Color Blindness Has An Impact On The World
blindnessColor vision deficiency or color blindness affects millions of people. Most people living with the condition have trouble differentiating between specific shades of reds and greens, or blues and yellows, according to the American Optometric Association. While some people are born with the condition, the condition can arise from disorders like glaucoma or injuries.

A retired University of Maine at Fort Kent forestry and environmental studies professor wrote a chapter about color vision deficiency in a new textbook “Handbook of the Changing World Language Map.” Professor David Hobbins has had an interest in this subject matter since the 1980s. But, he said:

“What really prompted me to study color vision deficiency was in 2008 when I handed a color image to my class in the field and they had to do some interpreting.”

“One of my students said, ‘Dave, I can’t read it,’” Hobbins said. “The labels (on the handouts) were red on a green forest. That got me to starting [sic] to read about color vision deficiency.”

Do you want to live as independently as possible? Please contact SDCB to learn more about our services.

“Retired UMFK professor shares color blindness findings in textbook”

Posted in Eye Disease | View Post
Wrestling With Retinitis Pigmentosa
retinitis pigmentosaIt is safe to say that participating in any sport, blind, is not without added difficulty. A 16-year-old sophomore in high school acutely understands that reality but does not eschew a challenge. Agie Mai Sowe is ever-ready to try new things, in spite of being considered legally blind. The young athlete is a member of her school’s wrestling team. Sowe is almost entirely blind in her left eye, and her vision is failing in her right eye.

“I have this eye condition called retinitis pigmentosa, which is where you lose sight at the back of your eye,” she said after a recent practice in the Cardinals’ wrestling room. “As you get older, the light slowly starts fading away.”

Please contact SDCB if you or someone you know is struggling with vision loss. We offer many services that can help you find your way.

“Sun Prairie sophomore wrestler Agie Mai Sowe doesn't let blindness slow her down”

Posted in Blind Athlete | View Post
Treating Visual Impairment In Children
visual impairmentDiseases of the eye are not reserved for the elderly, children also struggle with blindness and visual impairment. Amblyopia, astigmatism, color blindness, Strabismus, and Pediatric glaucoma are just some of the eye conditions that can impact children’s eyes.

While such disorders can affect life quality, early intervention can help. The American Academy of Ophthalmology points out that early diagnosis and treatment are critical to improving eye health and assisting children to see better. In some cases, treatment can even restore sight.

At SDCB, we help adults, with blindness or vision impairment, to be independent. Please reach out to us to learn more about our services.

“Early diagnosis, treatment key to improving eye health in children”

Posted in visual impairment | View Post
Active and Able Despite Blindness
blindnessThose who enjoy watching the Winter Olympics are familiar with the unique and unusual sport known as curling. People who have had an opportunity to try it know that it is more challenging than it appears; and, that is with perfect vision. Now, imagine engaging in the activity living with blindness.

Louise Gillis, 70, is almost entirely blind and yet, she curls every Monday and Wednesday at the Sydney Curling Club. She also paddles with the Sydney Harbour Dragon Boat Club and volunteers with the Special Olympics.

“There is life after vision loss,” said Gillis, “We’re active people. We are able. We’re showing our abilities, not our disabilities.”

San Diego Center for The Blind can be your guide to living independently. Please contact us to learn more.

“Blindness doesn’t stop Sydney senior from living active life”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Seeing Again After Fourteen Years of Blindness
blindnessAfter 14 years living without sight, Rev. Philip Dunn can see again! He received a cataracts diagnosis in 2003. Some months later, another eye condition silently crept up, macular degeneration; the disease led to blindness. This past summer a cataract ruptured forcing Rev. Dunn into surgery to have it removed. Following the procedure his doctor said that he may see some light when the eye patch comes off; but, the Reverend saw quite a bit more.

"I went in the kitchen, my wife said, 'Honey, you took the patch off.' I said, 'Yeah.' She said, 'What do you see?' I said, 'I can see you!' She was the first face I saw in 14 years,” Dunn said.

SDCB’s Assistive Technology Center and Store offer tools to help you become independent. Please contact us to learn more.

“Charleston reverend regains sight after 14 years in the dark”

Posted in Blind and Vision Impaired Heroes Stories | View Post
Prevent Vision Loss With Regular Examinations
vision lossSome of the more common eye conditions that can result in vision loss affecting older people include cataracts, age-related macular degeneration or AMD, and glaucoma. It is common for aging people to require glasses to see objects up close, it is a fact that most of us are aware of as being a part of getting old.

While presbyopia – a condition characterized by having difficulty focusing on objects near to you – is a relatively easy condition to correct, that is not the case for more significant disorders. Dr. Rishi Singh, a staff physician with the Cole Eye Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, says “cataracts are the most common cause of visual blindness across the world.” Adding that “we have lots of effective treatments for all these conditions. No patient should feel like they would go blind from any of these conditions. All of them are treatable, and with the proper evaluation and diagnosis and management they can all save sight in these patients over time.”

Our services help people living with vision loss to be independent. Please reach out to us for more information.

“What Seniors Need to Know About Vision Loss”

Posted in Eye Health and Preventing Disease | View Post
Young People Living With Visual Impairment Experience Disney
visual impairmentDisney movies have long been a significant part of children’s lives. However, many young people have never had the joy of watching famous Disney characters dancing across the screen, particularly kids living with visual impairment. But, that is about change!

Tactile Vision Graphics has a contract with the Disney Corporation to create an activity book for children featuring our most cherished Disney animated friends. The interactive materials feature pictures with raised outlines so children with visual impairments can experience the magic of Disney.

"The blind user will actually be able to see, for want of a better word, what Mickey Mouse looks like," said Emmanuel Blaevoet of Tactile Vision Graphics.

SDCB’s programs give the visually impaired the ability to travel, go to school, prepare meals and manage finances — on their own! Please contact us to learn more.

“Disney contracts with Windsor company to produce activity books for the blind”

Posted in visual impairment | View Post
What We Think We Know About Blindness
blindnessBlinding eye diseases can affect just about anyone; people living with blindness come from all walks of life. One photographer went on a journey to find out what we can learn from people living with vision loss. Michael Nye's book, "My Heart Is Not Blind: On Blindness and Perception" focuses viewer's’ attention on a diverse group of people living with blindness.

“My Heart Is Not Blind offers compelling accounts of survival, adaptation, and heightened understanding, inviting us to reconsider what we think we know about blindness in order to gain a deeper understanding of perception,” writes Trinity University Press.

SDCB’s vision rehabilitation program is recognized worldwide for its effectiveness in helping individuals return to an independent lifestyle. Please contact us to learn more.

“Blindness and Perception: Book, Exhibit Shine A Light On The Visual Experience”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Helping Others Go Anywhere With Blindness
blindnessJeffrey Crouch and his twin brother were born with blindness. It meant he could not have the luxury of a traditional education setting due to accessibility issues. Mr. Crouch attended the Great Lakes Cyber Academy, an online program; and, after graduation, he had hoped to earn a bachelor's degree in psychology. Unfortunately, a medical emergency would stand in his way, ultimately prompting Jeffrey to choose a new career path.

He now plans to begin a 9-month program to learn how to help other blind people regain their freedom.

"I'm going to Louisiana Center for the Blind to do an apprenticeship in orientation and mobility, which is teaching blind people how to use a white cane and have independence to travel anywhere they want," said Crouch

If vision loss is making your ability remain independent more difficult, please contact SDCB for help. We invite you to find out more about all the ways we can assist you in reaching your own highest level of independence.

“Flushing man doesn't let blindness stop him, plans to teach people like him”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Blindness Brings A Different Kind of Vision
blindnessBlindness is sure to make a person’s life more challenging in several ways, but some people are not willing to let vision loss stand in their way. Chris Downey, 45, spoke recently with Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes about life as an architect since he lost his vision. After brain tumor surgery left Downey completely blind a social worker spoke with him about career alternatives. However, Mr. Downey was determined to continue on his current trajectory.

Ten years following his operation, Downey has “a different kind of vision!”

We invite anyone living with vision loss in California to reach out to SDCB for support. Our services help the visually impaired live doing many of the same things they did while sighted.

“Architect goes blind, says he's actually gotten better at his job”

Posted in Blind and Vision Impaired Heroes Stories | View Post
Utilizing Adaptive Tools for The Blind
blindAnyone who can overcome adversity can be a source of great inspiration to younger generations and old. Individuals leading productive lives in spite of disabilities are no exception. Meet Millad Bokhouri, a 31-year-old who just graduated with a Master of Public Health Degree and Certificate in Healthcare Management. He accomplished such a feat even though he has been blind for the past six years. Bokhouri sat down for an interview recently and discussed how he manages, and some of the more common questions sighted people ask him about living with blindness.

People often tell Millad that it must be scary, to which he counters, “Of course it’s scary. But what they’re missing is they haven’t learned the adaptive tools a blind person utilizes in being fully independent.”

At the San Diego Center for the Blind, we offer counseling, classes & support groups, and vision rehabilitation services. Please contact us to learn more.

“For West Chester man, blindness not a burden”

Posted in Blind | View Post
National Glaucoma Awareness Month
glaucomaDid you know that roughly 120,000 Americans have lost their vision because of glaucoma? During National Glaucoma Awareness Month it is vital that you talk to your family about the condition. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness across the globe. Since glaucoma is practically asymptomatic, at first, it is critical to have regular, comprehensive eye examinations. The sooner glaucoma is spotted, the sooner treatment can commence. This January, we can all help raise awareness about this severe eye disease.

Please contact the San Diego Center for the Blind to learn more about our vision rehabilitation program. We can help you lead a more independent lifestyle.

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

Posted in Glaucoma | View Post
New Guide System for Vision Loss
vision lossThe “white cane” may one day have an upgrade. As scientists continue to trudge down the path toward autonomous cars, one man is fulfilling his dream of a “self-driving” cane. Kelvin Crosby is an entrepreneur who created the start-up "Smart Guider." The product:  a “self-driving” cane for the blind and visually impaired. It has a motorized wheel that can guide users around obstacles.

“If a car can go 65 miles-per-hour, why can’t I make a blind cane and put all of the technology in a stick? That’s where the vision came from,” said Crosby, who is legally blind due to Usher Syndrome Type II. “At the end of the day, if I want to be successful in life, I need to be independent.”

At SDCB, we offer vision rehabilitation services that rebuild independence. Please contact us to learn more.

Blind Entrepreneur Has Vision for Improved Guide System

Posted in Vision Loss | View Post
Identifying New Causes of Hereditary Blindness
blindnessMirabile dictu, a team of researchers discovered 261 new genes tied to blindness and other eye diseases. The findings could help in identifying new causes of hereditary blindness. The research is part of the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium, the goal of which is to single out a function for every gene in the mouse genome.

“In 2018, if someone has a form of hereditary blindness, we can identify the cause 50 to 75 percent of the time,” said Ala Moshiri, associate professor of ophthalmology and vision science in the School of Medicine and Eye Center at the University of California, Davis. “In the remaining cases, we know the mutation is there, but we don’t know where to look. Now eye centers that do DNA sequencing can call back patients and screen them for these new genes.”

The findings appear in Nature Communications Biology.

If you are need of assistance for blindness or visual impairment, please contact The San Diego Center for The Blind at your earliest convenience. Our comprehensive vision rehabilitation program is the next step to rebuilding your independence.

“Team Links 261 Genes to Blindness and Vision Problems”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Telling the Story of the Blind Community
blindFran Underhill is a volunteer carer for Guide Dogs Queensland; along with her husband, she tends to service dogs when their person is away. But, Fran is also an author who recently penned a series of children's books about a blind teddy bear named Edward and his guide dog Tuesday. Sally Balwin, is the general manager of Braille House, a 121-year-old organization providing reading material to people who are blind. She says that there are not enough authors writing from the perspective of persons living with a disability.

"The blind community, or anybody with a disability, their story is important," says Balwin.

Please contact SDCB if you live in Southern California and are struggling with sight loss. We offer vision rehabilitation services that rebuild independence.

“Edward and Tuesday, a sightless teddy and his trusty guide dog, show blindness is no barrier to adventure”

Posted in Blind | View Post
Braille Institute of America Celebrates its 100th Anniversary
BrailleIt is a big year for the Braille Institute of America, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit founded in 1919. As the organization celebrates its 100th anniversary, it will also open the new Braille Institute facility, a high-tech 14,735-square-foot building that will continue to serve Orange County residents as it has done so since 1934. Moreover, three institute students were given the honor of riding atop the Lions Club International float at this year’s Rose Parade on January 1st.

“We’ve acquired land and different houses and put together regional operations there, but we really want a new, single center that’s state-of-the-art,” said Peter Mindnich, president of the Braille Institute of America. He added, “We’re preparing for our next century of service. When we talk about our students, we don’t see boundaries; rather, we imagine possibilities.”

Men and women living with blinding eye conditions can benefit from the many programs offered at the San Diego Center for The Blind.

“Braille Institute to mark centennial with new Anaheim Center and Rose Parade appearance”

Posted in Braille | View Post
Program Puts People Living With Blindness Back to Work
blindnessGeorgia’s Business Enterprise Program harnesses the entrepreneurial skills of people living with blindness. Edward “Eddie” Mial, Jr. is one of 75 visually impaired small-business operators who are part of the program. Most of the businesses operate in government facilities. Studies indicate that people with disabilities have a higher level of employer loyalty and rate of retention, says Robin Folsom, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, which runs the program.

People living with blindness are invited to learn more about the programs offered at SDCB. Please contact us to learn how we can help improve your life quality.

“Blindness doesn’t hold back DeKalb shopkeeper”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Sleeping With Contacts Carries Risk of Blindness
blindnessEye care is of the utmost importance. People who wear contact lenses, please be advised, sleeping while wearing the lenses carries significant risks including blindness. Those who wear their contacts around the clock face dangerous infections and blinding ulcers in the eyes. A new report in the Annals of Emergency Medicine presents six patients who developed corneal infections after wearing their contact lenses to bed on a regular basis.

"The excess risks of developing corneal infection with overnight wear of contact lenses has been recognized for many years," explained Dr. Oliver Schein, a professor of ophthalmology, and vice-chair for quality and safety with the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

San Diego Center for the Blind can assist people living with blindness. Please contact us to learn more.

“Wear Contacts 24/7? You Risk Infection, Blindness”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Evicting A Music School for the Blind
blindAfter more than 100 years, The Lighthouse Guild asks the Filomen M. D’Agostino Greenberg Music School, to find a new home. The music school has served blind and visually impaired musicians in Manhattan since 1913. The school works with 120 children and adult students. Moreover, the institution is an archive of some 25,000 Braille and large-print musical scores, second only to the Library of Congress.

“This decision was difficult because the school has been a part of the fabric of Lighthouse Guild for over 100 years,” wrote Dr. Alan Morse, president of the Lighthouse Guild, an organization with a mission to assist the blind.

If you are blind or live with visual impairment, please reach out to SDCB for assistance.

“Why a School for Blind Musicians Is Being Evicted at Christmastime”

Posted in Blind | View Post
Vision Loss Impacts Cerebral Cortex
vision lossResearchers at Ruhr-Universität Bochum found that genetic vision loss impacts the organization of the cerebral cortex and memory ability. The research, published in the journal Cerebral Cortex, shows that in the months after blindness emerged in mice with a genetic defect, the density of neurotransmitter receptors required for memory encoding was altered in all areas of the cortex that process sensory information. What’s more, the hippocampus was profoundly affected; it is an area of the brain that plays a significant role in memory processes.

"After blindness occurs, the brain tries to compensate for the loss by ramping up its sensitivity to the missing visual signals," explains Denise Manahan-Vaughan, who led the study. “Our study shows that this process of reorganization is supported by extensive changes in the expression and function of key neurotransmitter receptors in the brain. This is a major undertaking, during which time the hippocampus' ability to store spatial experiences is hampered."

SDCB offer many programs designed to assist people living with vision loss. Please contact us to learn more.

“How the brain reacts to loss of vision”

Posted in Vision Loss | View Post
Blind Sailors Need No Human Assistance
blindIn the past, blind people who wanted to sail had to rely on sighted crewmembers. Today, technology allows adaptive sports athletes the ability take to the seas without human assistance. Blind people can do more than just sail, they can race! A new technology, called the Homerus Autonomous Sailing System, enables blind sailors to race without any sighted crew onboard. The system allows people to sail by sound.

If you are blind or have a vision impairment, please contact SDCB for assistance. We offer several innovative programs that can improve life quality.

“Sailing Blind”

Posted in Blind | View Post
New Treatment for Child Blindness
blindnessLeber congenital amaurosis (LCA) is one of the most common causes of childhood blindness. The findings of a small clinical study published recently in Nature Medicine highlights the results of a new therapy that improved the vision of children living with LCA. Study participants were treated with an intraocular injection of an oligonucleotide, an RNA molecule.

“It was very dramatic to see one of the patients improve from only being able to differentiate light or dark to reading many letters on an eye chart at two months following the first injection,” noted lead study investigator Artur Cideciyan, Ph.D., a research professor of ophthalmology at the Scheie Eye Institute in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “So, we performed a thorough interim analysis of all results from all patients.”

Please contact the San Diego Center for The Blind to learn more about the programs we offer.

Injectable RNA Therapy Dramatically Improves Vision in Child Blindness

Posted in Blindness | View Post
The Blind Boys of Alabama
blindRising to fame during the tumultuous and unfortunate Jim Crow Era, the Blind Boys of Alabama band has been inspiring people with their American gospel music since 1939. The music group came out of the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind. Since the group's inception, the Blind Boys of Alabama has won five Grammy Awards and a Lifetime Achievement Grammy award. Over the years the ensemble has performed for three presidents and collaborated with Willie Nelson, Mavis Staples, Stevie Wonder, and Peter Gabriel.

“The Blind Boys are a blind group, and they are Grammy winners, lifetime achievement winners, and they have proven that a disability doesn’t have to be a handicap,” said Ricky McKinnie, the group’s business manager and one of its singers. “It’s not what you can’t do; it’s about what you can do that makes a difference.”

If you require assistance with visual impairment or vision loss, please contact the San Diego Center for the Blind.

“Gospel legends in for Christmas show”

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Hundreds of Children Living With Color Blindness
blindnessWhen Dr. Elizabeth Martin learned that her son was struggling with color blindness, she informed his school teacher. Naturally, adjustments were made in class to cater to the child’s color deficiency. However, Dr. Martin was concerned that some of her son’s classmates may also be color blind. She spoke with the school district superintendent; and, a plan was developed to test 11,000 students in grades K-12 throughout the semester.

“I volunteered to help the nurses test and realized many of these kids had no idea they were colorblind,” Martin said.

Please contact SDCB if your life is impacted by vision loss. We offer many programs that can assist you in regaining your independence.

“Roanoke City Schools discover hundreds of students may be color-blind"

Posted in Blindness | 1 Comment(s)
Take a Leap of Faith to Find a Cure for Blindness
blindnessBrothers Bradford and Bryan Manning are living with Stargardt disease, a type of macular degeneration affecting central vision. The brothers are committed to helping fund blindness research; they started a charitable apparel company called Blind Brothers – 100 percent of profits go to retinal research. This Christmas, the Mannings are inviting people to "shop blind." Their website states:

"The ethos behind Shop Blind is simple: we blacked out our website so that you won't be able to see any of the items we normally sell. The premise of Shop Blind is 'trust' — we’re asking you to trust us to get a product we think you will LOVE without ever having seen it; the same way we place our trust in others to accomplish everyday tasks many often take for granted."

If you need assistance with vision loss, then you have come to the right place. SDCB offers several innovative programs to assist people living with visual impairment.

“Would you shop blind (for a cause)?”

Posted in Blind and Vision Impaired Heroes Stories | View Post
Shattering The Myths About Blind Parents
blind parentsWhy do people have such completely inaccurate ideas about blind parents? It's a question that someone joining a Facebook group for blind parents might ask. Despite there being about 10 million blind people in the United States, it is possible for someone with vision loss to go their entire life without forming a meaningful relationship with other blind members in their community. Stacy Cervenka, who serves as the Chair of the National Federation of the Blind’s Blind Parents Group, opens a dialogue about the common myths and misconceptions the general public has about blind parents.

“I often think that there is an advantage to Greg and I both being blind: At least no one thinks that only one of us is doing all of the parenting!” 

Please reach out to SDCB to learn more about the programs we offer for people living with sight loss.

“Myths and Misconceptions About Parents Who Are Blind”

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Overcoming Vision Loss With Leader Dogs
blindnessLeader Dogs for the Blind is a guide dog training school in Michigan founded in 1939 by Lions Club members. Over the decades, the organization has paired more than 14,000 guide dogs with the visually impaired. Blooming Prairie Lions Club member Paul Dale has retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease causing vision problems and blindness. Mr. Dale and his Leader Dog, Summit, recently met with a group of fourth graders to discuss how his guide dog helped him overcome vision loss.

"Pretty much every kid in the classroom got to pet her once. Her head was in the air and her tail a wagging."

We invite people living with vision loss to contact the San Diego Center for the Blind. We offer several programs that can help improve your quality of life.

“Lion Paul Dale And Leader Dog Teach Students About Blindness”

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Heathrow Airport Caters to People Living With Visual Impairment
visually impairmentAira, a free-to-use app, connects airline passengers living with visual impairment directly to a trained professional agent for guidance on navigating through Heathrow airport. Those who use Aira can get help finding specific locations, such as gates and special assistance facilities. The airport is also SignLive-friendly, this app connects passengers to trained British Sign Language translators on demand.

“We are transforming the assistance service we provide to our passengers and empowering them to be as independent as possible when they are travelling through Heathrow,” said Jonathan Coen, Director of Customer Relations and Service at Heathrow Airport. “We have already invested £23 million in an upgraded contract with our special assistance partner, OmniServ, and introducing new equipment, training and technology to help improve our service. Aira takes us one step further – and will deliver a better travel experience for the 6,000 passengers each year that would otherwise feel less independent and less prepared when they begin their journey via Heathrow.”

If you require assistance for visual impairment or vision loss, please contact the San Diego Center for the Blind.

“Heathrow Airport using Aira app to support visually impaired passengers”

Posted in Businesses and Organizations Supporting Blind | View Post
Blindness Can Result From Corneal Grafts
blindnessPrion diseases result from abnormal prion proteins accumulating in the brain. The proteins form lesions that can precipitate progressive neurodegeneration. One such condition of this type is Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease or sCJD, which researchers believe can be passed on to patients receiving corneal grafts from the donor. Blindness will ultimately develop in up to 42% of sCJD patients.

The research team notes:

“Corneal grafts from prion-infected patients have led to two probably and three possible cases of iatrogenic prion transmission.”

These findings could guide scientists on the quest for developing early diagnostic tests for sCJD.

If you are struggling with visual impairment or blindness, please reach out to SDCB for help.

Prion Disease May Be Transmitted by Eye Surgery

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Laser Pointers Can Cause Blindness
blindnessLaser pointers are commonplace in homes with cats; felines will chase the red or green dot for hours if given the opportunity. While the devices may be scads of fun for cats, severe problems can crop up when directed toward the human eye. Laser stands for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation; if the beam hits the retina, it can lead to blind spots and blindness. The damage can happen in seconds—users beware!

“The damage could probably happen in just a few seconds," said Optometrist Dr. Andrew Hunt. “If they hit the retina, they can cause damage.  We can get retinal holes that can lead to permanent blind spots in our vision.”

SDCB offers many programs that can help people living with blindness. Please contact our team to learn more.

Common household item could cause eye damage and blindness

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Couple Finds Key to Reversing Blindness
blindness.jpgA research team is using gene therapy to combat blindness and give some patients the gift of sight. Jean Bennett and Albert Maguire – a husband-and-wife research team at the University of Pennsylvania – gave Misty Lovelace the ultimate gift, thanks to a treatment they developed. Lovelace has, or had, a genetic condition called Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA), but thanks to the Maguire’s treatment she can see again. The procedure is better known today under the name Luxturna. Lovelace said:

“It’s just, wow, like hitting the lottery. They did it. They opened the doors for everybody.”

If your life quality is impacted by visual impairment or blindness, please contact SDCB. We can help you regain your independence.

A New Treatment for Blindness Comes From Gene Therapy

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A Gift for Color Blindness
blindnessWhile color blindness is not the most severe form of visual impairment, it has a serious impact on the lives of millions of people. Recently, Humboldt County Sheriff's Deputy Jeff Dishmon was given a life-changing gift from his co-workers. Deputy Dishmon is color blind, so his colleagues joined forces and purchased him a pair of EnChroma glasses. The smart lenses correct color blindness! When asked what he sees, he responded, "A different world."

SDCB is here to help people who are living with vision loss; please contact our team to learn more.

“Take a look at this: Color blind cop sees color for the first time!”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
A Better Way to Combat Blindness
blindnessTreating eye conditions like glaucoma and macular degeneration often involves the use of eye drops: but is that the most effective method for preventing blindness? Researchers in Singapore contend that an eyepatch – laden with microneedles – could be more beneficial to patients than eye drops; the new way of administering drugs to treat eye diseases may be the future.

“This work provides a new strategy for efficient drug delivery into the eye,” Chen Peng, a professor in the School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at Nanyang Technological University, told Digital Trends. “With simple pressing of the eye patch on the eye, the detachable tiny needles can penetrate the ocular surface tissue, and serve as implanted micro-drug-reservoirs. The biphasic drug release kinetics enabled by the double-layered micro-reservoirs largely enhances the therapeutic efficacy.”  

SDCB is fully equipped to help you or a loved one lead an independent life despite blindness. Please contact us to learn more.

“Sticking these tiny needles in your eye may help fight blindness”

Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post
Playing Outside Can Prevent Visual Impairment
visual impairmentIn the 21st Century many young people spend the bulk of their time staring at smartphones and computers. Children today who spurn outdoor activities may be putting their vision at risk. While short-sightedness, or myopia, is often attributed to genetics, experts say otherwise; researchers say that children who do not spend enough time outdoors are at a higher risk of visual impairment.

"There is not much you can do about when your child is born … but periods indoors doing indoor activities does increase your risk of myopia," study co-author Katie Williams. "A healthy balance of time outdoors and a balance during early education is important."

Please contact SDCB if you require assistance for vision loss or impairment. We offer several innovative programs that can improve your life quality.

“Children Really Need to "Go Play Outside" to Prevent a Serious Eyesight Problem, Researchers Warn”

Posted in Eye Health and Preventing Disease | View Post
Teacher Living WIth Color Blindness Gets Life Changing Gift
blindnessTyler Henderson is a chorus teacher who is colorblind. His students pooled their resources and purchased special glasses which allow Mr. Henderson to experience color. Henderson’s students had to determine which kind of color blindness he had so they could get the proper lenses. Color blindness or color vision deficiency is the decreased ability to see color or variations in color.

“I was really, really overwhelmed," said Tyler Henderson. "I couldn't really hold it in and the only thing that I tried to say to as many of them as possible was that I loved them."

Please reach out to SDCB if you need assistance, we offer many programs designed to aid people living with visual impairment.

“Students surprise colorblind teacher with the gift of color”

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Blindness Will Not Shatter Dreams
blindnessCody Marbutt, a Kishwaukee Community College student, is not letting blindness stand in the path of achieving his goals. Marbutt is studying audio production; he hopes to do voice-overs and narrate audiobooks in the future. What’s more, the 23-year-old student is also a talented pianist. On November 2, Marbutt spoke to elementary students about living with vision loss and read Braille to the youngsters.

"I learned that if you're blind, that doesn't mean you can't do stuff that other people can do," said a fifth-grade student, Liza Kovalev. "He plays piano better than me and I've been taking piano lessons since I was 4."

SDCB can assist people struggling with visual impairment; we offer several programs that can help you or your loved one with day-to-day tasks.

“Blind college student provides inspiration to Bell Graham students”

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Finishing Education Despite Blindness
blindnessA student at Texas Tech lost his vision after undergoing surgery to remove a brain tumor.  Colin Baxter, 22, a senior at Texas Tech, underwent a 14-hour surgery to remove some of a tumor that (among other things) put pressure on his optic nerve causing him to go blind. Following the surgery, Baxter woke up to find he was now living with blindness. In spite of his unfortunate discovery, Colin decided he was not going to let his disability prevent him from finishing his education.

“Being a history major, I’m not the first blind person and I won’t be the last, so it's just kind of making a conscious decision, you can be angry or disappointed and I’m just happy to be alive,” Baxter said.

If vision loss affecting your life quality, SDCB offers many programs that can help.

“Texas Tech student returns for senior year after battle with blindness”

Posted in Blindness | 1 Comment(s)
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