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Voice Dream Reader for Visual Impairment

Picture of Voice Dream Reader developer Winston ChenWinston Chen, a developer, designed an app for people with visual impairment while living in the Arctic Circle. His Voice Dream Reader won him the prestigious Apple Design Award. Voice Dream Reader supports text-to-speech as well as visual reading for blind people or those living with low vision and dyslexia.

Chen’s Voice Dream Reader for visual impairment reads text aloud from just about any digital source. The application could greatly enhance blind people’s reading experience.

"For thousands of years, reading meant decoding phonetic symbols in black ink printed on white surfaces," Chen said. "But the human brain is not wired for that, which is why it takes years to become a proficient visual reader. In fact, our brains are wired to communicate orally. I wanted to explore how technology could allow everyone to learn more naturally -- by listening."

Please contact SDCB for vision loss and blindness support. We offer several programs that can improve your quality of life.

“After Year in the Arctic, Solo Developer Wins Prestigious Apple Design Award for Read-Aloud App for the Blind”

Posted in Assistive Technology | View Post

People With Vision Loss Can Learn Echolocation

Picture Of Blind Person With Guide DogNew research suggests that blind people can benefit from receiving instruction on echolocation. What’s more, people with vision loss can learn echolocation with just a small amount of training. Click-based echolocation helps individuals judge spaces and improve their navigation skills.

The team of researchers studied how people learn the skill. The participants in the study ranged in age, some were sighted and others were blind. The study found that all participants who were blind reported improved mobility and 83% reported better independence and wellbeing. Dr. Lore Thaler, of Durham University, said:

“People who took part in our study reported that the training in click-based echolocation had a positive effect on their mobility, independence and wellbeing, attesting that the improvements we observed in the lab transcended into positive life benefits outside the lab.”

“We are very excited about this and feel that it would make sense to provide information and training in click-based echolocation to people who may still have good functional vision, but who are expected to lose vision later in life because of progressive degenerative eye conditions.”

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

“Echolocation can help those with vision loss – study”

Posted in Independent Living Skills | View Post

Global Poverty and Blindness

Picture Of Epidemiologist Lawson UngLawson Ung graduated from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s master of science program in epidemiology and he plans to return in the fall to begin a Ph.D. program. Ung is interested in the intersection between global poverty and blindness. Ung sees the relationship between eye injury, poverty, and loss of human potential as a call to action.

Did you know that eighty percent of the global population of blind people live in low- and middle-income countries, where eye injuries are common and eye doctors are far and few between? Easily treatable conditions lead to corneal ulcers, infections, and blindness. The result: many can’t earn a living because of blindness.

“Corneal infections tend to be particularly severe. If you lose transparency of the front window of the eye, the cornea, then the ability of light to transmit to the back of the eye, the retina, is limited,” said Ung “Even tiny abrasions to the front surface of the eye can develop very quickly to blinding ulcers, blinding infections of the cornea.”

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

“Finding a call to action in global poverty and blindness”

Posted in Blindness and Society | View Post

Helping Blind Students Study Chemistry

Picture of Gummy Fruit Candies Used For Learning ChemistryVisually impaired students are often discouraged from taking science courses because they’re considered too dangerous or too visual for blind people. Bryan Shaw, a biochemist and biophysicist at Baylor University, has devised an ingenious method for helping blind students study chemistry.

While eating a blackberry at breakfast, Shaw mused on the similarities between the tiny fruit and the structure of molecules. He thought to himself that students living with blindness could benefit from learning with their tongues. Shaw and his graduate student published a paper in Science Advances about the success of using tiny 3-D models to help blind students sense and visualize protein structures using their mouths.

“When you've lost your vision completely…you need to utilize every single sense you have, and the tongue is the finest tactile sensor you have,” Shaw says.

Please contact SDCB to learn more vision rehabilitation programs.

“Gummy Candy-Like Models Can Help Students With Blindness Study Chemistry”

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

Sicilian Musician Overcame His Visual Impairment

Picture Of Blind Musician Michele RomeoMichele Romeo of Sicily has been playing guitar since he was four years old. He was quickly identified as being a musical prodigy. Unfortunately, Romeo was diagnosed with a rare ocular disease at age 13, which would rob him of his sight one day and maybe his ability to shine musically. However, the Sicilian musician overcame his visual impairment and produced an album in 2012, garnering him critical acclaim in Sicily.

In 2016 he moved to Boston to attend the prestigious Berklee College in Boston for a program specifically tailored to blind musicians. Now, he is working on a second album.

“Being blind is not the easiest thing. However, as a musician, I have benefited from it. My ears opened up. Before coming to Boston, I had no idea how to record my music. I had to depend on other people to do it, which was very frustrating. At Berklee, however, through the Assistive Lab Technology directed by Prof. Chi Kim, I learned how to use music software on my own. Having the opportunity to connect with a professor who is also blind and being introduced to entirely new paths, was incredibly important.”

San Diego Center for the Blind offers visual rehabilitation programs that can help you or a loved one. Please contact us to learn more.

“Michele Romeo Is Making More Than Music”

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

Gene Therapy Helping Blind People See

Picture Of The Human EyeScientists can now partially restore vision in some blind people thanks to a new treatment. A new gene therapy is helping blind people see, particularly those suffering from retinitis pigmentosa.

New research published in Nature Medicine describes how a man, who was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa more than 40 years ago, could now recognize shapes thanks to optogenetic therapies and special goggles. Four other patients have also had success with a similar treatment that allowed them to detect light and motion.

The gene therapy injection improves the light sensitivity of cells in the retina. The goggles magnify light to boost the ability of retina cells to send electrical signals to the brain.

SDCB offers several programs and services that can help improve your quality of life. Please contact us to learn more.

“Scientists make dramatic progress toward miracle of helping blind people see”

Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post

Adapting To Life With Blindness

Picture of Sayali ApteSayali Apte was 23 years old when her life changed irreversibly. A terrible accident led to permanent blindness for the young entrepreneur. The loss of vision turned her life upside down and severely impacted her mental health. One day, Apte had an epiphany: she could not restore her sight, but she could choose to persevere. Adapting to life with blindness was a process.

On her long road to recovery, Sayali’s doctors informed her that another surgery might partially restore her vision. She had had 12 surgeries before but held on to hope that she might be able to see her daughter grow up. The thirteenth surgery proved successful. When she awoke from the procedure, the heart monitor appeared before her eye. She could read her name on the medical chart. Naturally, it was an emotional moment for Apte. From depression and negativity to hope and positivity.

“When you spend so much time alone in the dark and unable to see yourself, your sense of identity goes out the window,” said Apte. “I now have a real appreciation for the power of positivity and what role the mind can play in helping the body recover from injury.”

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

“From Blindness To Boss Lady: How One Entrepreneur Turned Her Pain Into Power”

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

Braille Menu for Restaurants

Lily McCarthy fellow eighth-grader who is legally blindSighted people can easily take for granted that they have no problem deciding what to eat at a restaurant. Menus, after all, cater to people with healthy eyes. You might imagine that the same is not true for blind people and those living with vision loss.

Lily McCarthy is an eighth-grader at Beverly Middle School. When it came to her attention that she takes reading menus for granted, she thought of her classmate Nic who is legally blind. She decided to do something about the lack of restaurant menus with Braille. Her project caught the eyes of the National Braille Press, the premier Braille publisher in the United States.

"Some of the small restaurants who may think of doing it are normally prompted by a blind person asking for it,” said Brian Mac Donald, NBP president. "We want Braille to be out there for all blind people for information. That's part of our mission as a nonprofit."

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

"Overcoming obstacles: Eighth-grader's project advocates for Braille menus"

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

Software Companies Consider the Blind People

Picture Of A Website EditorMore and more software companies are changing their platforms to make it easier for people with disabilities to take advantage of content and strengthen their web presence. Wix, an Israel-based software company, provides cloud-based web development services for those who do not have a background in web design. The Wix Accessibility Wizard scans a website to find potential issues for people with disabilities and impairments, such as individuals who are blind and use screen-reader technology, as well as those who are colorblind. DIY web design platforms can now make websites making more inclusive.

"People with disabilities still very frequently run into many barriers on websites including mobile applications that are critical for them to carry out the things they need to do," said Judy Brewer, director of the Web Accessibility Initiative at the World Wide Web Consortium.

Reach out to SDCB if you would like help with vision loss or blindness.

"Website Makers Tinker With Tools to Serve Blind Users"

Posted in Accessibility | View Post

Software Updates for Blind and Vision Loss Community

Picture Of Apple SighTime AppPeople living with mobility, vision, hearing, and cognitive disabilities can benefit from the latest software update from Apple. The company behind the sleek technological devices that we are all too familiar with believes that accessibility is a human right. iPad will support third-party eye-tracking hardware to make using the devices easier for blind and vision loss communities. Apple's VoiceOver screen reader will become more intelligent by using on-device intelligence to explore objects within images. This month, SignTime was launched, a tool that enables users to communicate with AppleCare and Retail Customer Care by using American Sign Language (ASL) in the US, British Sign Language (BSL) in the UK, or French Sign Language (LSF) in France.

"At Apple, we've long felt that the world's best technology should respond to everyone's needs, and our teams work relentlessly to build accessibility into everything we make," said Sarah Herrlinger, Apple's senior director of Global Accessibility Policy and Initiatives. "With these new features, we're pushing the boundaries of innovation with next-generation technologies that bring the fun and function of Apple technology to even more people — and we can't wait to share them with our users."

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

"Apple previews powerful software updates designed for people with disabilities"

Posted in Accessibility | View Post

A Barbie Representing the Blind Community

Picture Of Helen Keller Barbie DollOf late, the company behind the iconic doll known around the world as Barbie has been releasing a “Inspiring Women” line of dolls. The lineup includes: Eleanor Roosevelt, Dr. Maya Angelou, Billie Jean King, Ella Fitzgerald, Florence Nightingale, Susan B. Anthony, Amelia Earhart, Katherine Johnson, Frida Kahlo, Rosa Parks, and Sally Ride.

The list of Inspiring Women dolls would not be complete without a Barbie representing a member of the blind community. Who better to make her debut than Helen Keller? Keller was the first deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. She was also a renowned author, speaker, educator, and disability advocate. Mattel worked closely with the National Federation of the Blind to ensure that the doll and its props are authentic and accessible to the blind/low-vision community.

"We are excited to welcome disability rights advocate, author and educator Helen Keller to our expanding Inspiring Women collection as Barbie continues to highlight strong female role models," said Lisa McKnight, Mattel's senior vice president and global head of Barbie and dolls. "Representation comes in all forms and we recognize that the blind and low vision community is often overlooked, with their stories going untold. We hope that by introducing children to Helen Keller's story of perseverance and determination, they will be inspired to dream bigger than ever before."

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

“Mattel Unveils Helen Keller Doll — the Newest Addition to Barbie's Inspiring Women Series”

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

Restoring Vision to Blind People

Picture Of Scientist Holding Artificial RetinaEvery day, researchers work tirelessly to combat vision loss and blindness. Scores of studies are underway, all with the hope of restoring vision to blind people. One such research project, led by Dr. Matthew Griffith, of the Australian Centre for Microscopy & Microanalysis and the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, involves the printing of artificial retinas. The retina is the thin layer of tissue lining the back of the eye which receives light, converts it into neural signals, and sends the transmissions to the brain for processing.

Dr. Griffith has created an electrical device from multi-coloured carbon-based semiconductors. They use absorbed light to fire the neurons that transmit signals from the eyes to the brain, essentially acting as an artificial retina for those whose eyes can no longer function in that manner.

"Worldwide, the number of people living with vision impairment is at least 2.2 billion. Our research aims to provide a biomedical solution to those experiencing blindness from retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the second being one of the leading causes of blindness in the world," said Dr Griffith.

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

“Organic, printable device could restore sight to the blind”

Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post

Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Picture Of A Disabled Person Using A SmartphoneTomorrow is Global Accessibility Awareness Day, a time to encourage mobile providers to fully grasp the upside of designing products with inclusion and accessibility at the forefront. Technology must cater to the blind, deaf, and physically impaired community. It’s worth remembering that the typewriter, the predecessor of computer keyboards, was invented to help blind people type. Remote controls were designed to allow the physically impaired people access to television.

Accessible technology not only drives innovation, it forges the road towards the next generation of technological advancement—progress. The above is not lost on Verizon, a company that understands the importance of inclusion. Ronan Dunne, CEO of Verizon Consumer, stated:

“As a sector, we're building a more connected world and are therefore uniquely positioned to shape a more equitable future. We need to ensure that disability inclusion is infused in every aspect of our business.” Adding, “we must build and design with accessibility as the guiding principle and co-create solutions with the disability community at the table.”

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

“Why The Mobile Industry Is So Central To Inclusion Worldwide”

Posted in Advocacy and Events | View Post

Combat Vision Loss With CRISPR

Doctor Comparing Vision Of Patients Before And After CRISPR ProcedureCRISPR is a gene-editing technique allowing scientists to make precise changes in DNA. The method has shown promise for blood disorders and is being tested for several forms of cancer. Researchers believe that CRISPR can help in fighting diseases and help people suffering from rare genetic disorders.

A landmark study is underway that involves two patients living with Leber congenital amaurosis, a rare genetic disorder that destroys light-sensing cells in the retina, cursing severe vision loss. The research is novel because it's the first time scientists are using CRISPR to edit DNA still inside patients' bodies. The researchers are hopeful that they can combat vision loss with CRISPR and restore the two patients' sight.

"This is the very first time that anyone's ever actually tried to do gene-editing from inside the body," said Dr. Lisa Michaels, chief medical officer at the company sponsoring the study, Editas Medicine of Cambridge, Mass. "We're actually delivering the gene-editing apparatus to the part of the body where the disease takes place in order to correct it."

San Diego Center for the Blind offers programs and services to help adults living with vision loss or blindness. Please reach out to us to learn more about our vision rehabilitation programs and services.

"Blind Patients Hope Landmark Gene-Editing Experiment Will Restore Their Vision"

Posted in Researchers and Leaders in Eye Disease | View Post

Social Distancing App for Blind People

Picture Of Blind Person Using LineChaser AppWith the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, there is hope on the horizon regarding the pandemic. However, there is still a need to keep a safe distance between you and people that are not part of your inner circle. What's more, it can be challenging for blind and visually impaired people to know that they are at least 6-feet away from others, especially when waiting in line.

A team of IBM scientists has created a social distancing app for blind people. LineChaser is a smartphone app that continuously reports the distance and direction to the last person in a queue so that the blind user can follow the person in front of them without issue. In trials, LineChaser successfully enabled visually impaired users to both find and follow a line.

SDCB offers vision rehabilitation programs and services for blind and visually impaired adults. Please contact us to learn more.

"New smartphone app to navigate blind people to stand in lines with distances"

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

Shoes for Blind and Visually Impaired People

Picture Of The InnoMake Shoe For Blind PeopleAdvancements in technology could one day make the white cane obsolete. In the past, we've covered stories about smart backpacks and robotic guide dogs. Now, computer scientists are creating shoes for blind and visually impaired people. The Austrian company Tec-Innovation's "InnoMake" shoe uses a camera-based AI image recognition system and ultrasonic sensors to detect obstacles in the path of blind and visually impaired people.

"Ultrasonic sensors on the toe of the shoe detect obstacles up to four meters away," says Markus Raffer, one of the founders of Tec-Innovation, who is himself visually impaired. "The wearer is then warned by vibrations and/or acoustic signals. This works very well and is also already a great help to me personally."

Please reach out to SDCB to benefit from our vision rehabilitation programs and services.

“Innovative shoe warns blind people of obstacles”

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

Shatter Myths and Stereotypes About Blindness

Picture Of Ingrid Barnes Sitting With Her Guide DogIngrid Barnes, 27, from Sydney, Australia, uses social media to discuss her experience with blindness. Barnes has retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic condition that can cause severe vision loss. Her condition has left her with about 3.5 percent field of vision in well-lit environments.

She has taken to the internet to shatter myths and stereotypes about blindness. Ms. Barnes says she deals with stereotyping quite frequently. She remarked that people often comment that she doesn't look blind.

"They have an assumption that young people, or people who dress well, who go out on their own with a guide dog, can't just be 'normal' people with low vision or blindness," said Barnes. "They think people can't look a certain way and have a disability."

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

“'You don't look blind' and other stereotypes people with blindness don't want to hear”

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

Visually Impaired-Accessible Artwork

Picture Of Artist Painting A MuralAn artist in Louisville, Kentucky, is creating art installations that highlight the history of the Clifton neighborhood. What's unique about the project by artist Liz Richter is that she is painting visually impaired-accessible artwork. Richter got inspiration for her art project from students at the Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB).

The art pieces presented in the Clifton neighborhood, where KSB is located, will include audio descriptions, textured surfaces, high contrast visuals, kinetic interaction, and aromas. Clifton is also home to the American Printing House for the Blind. Besides living in the neighborhood, Richter was previously a visiting artist at KSB.

"There hasn't been any public art that's really tried to consider a blind and visually impaired audience and what a better place to test out that model or to like work on that part of public art than in the Clifton neighborhood where this population exists, and not only that, where these cultural institutions exist as well that support that group of people," said Richter.

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

“Beyond what meets the eye: Clifton project creating art for those with visual impairments”

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

Apple AirTags Could Help Blind People

Picture Of Apple AirTagsEveryone misplaces their belongings from time to time. Apple has created a product that could help all of us keep track of things that are easily misplaced. Devices known as AirTags are Bluetooth trackers. Using your iPhone, you can easily track down a lost item. What's more, Apple AirTags could help blind people. In conjunction with the iPhone's VoiceOver accessibility features, AirTags could help blind people keep track of important objects.

"Misplacing items such as your white cane or Braille Display can leave you vulnerable and exposed," says David Goodwin of AppleVis, a website specializing in showing how Apple products can help blind people and those with low vision. "Being able to quickly locate them with a few taps on your iPhone should quite simply be a game-changer."

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

“How Apple's AirTags could be extra useful for blind people”

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

Visual Impairment Aided by Guide Dog

Picture Of Woman Walking With Guide DogSue Fraser’s eyesight has been diminishing for some time. Finally she found the courage to reach out for help for her visual impairment and she said it was the “best thing” she ever did. Last Christmas, Fraser received a call that she waited a long time for—two years. The phone call came from a dog trainer who told her that her visual impairment would be aided by a guide dog. She was getting “a little black lab called Rylie”.

“As soon as I saw her I thought she was beautiful,” Fraser said.

Now, Fraser is less reliant on her cane and can trust that Rylie will guide her through life. Fraser says she has found a new sense of confidence thanks to her four-legged companion.

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

“Second set of eyes 'best Christmas present ever'”

Posted in Living Independently Skills and Attitude | View Post

Braille Across America 2021

Picture Of Two Men Standing Next To Each OtherThe National Braille Press (NBP) has a long history of helping the blind community; it was founded in 1927 by Francis Lerardi, who lost his sight in 1898 at 12 years old. The NBP offers programs that empower the blind and visually impaired.

The NBP’S first Braille Across America 2021 virtual running challenge raised over $137,000 from March 17 to April 19, 2021. The Braille Across America team walked, ran and biked coast to coast—covering 13,754 miles. This was to raise awareness about the importance of braille literacy across the country. The funds raised will help support the printing of books, tests, textbooks, technology books, children’s books, airline safety guides, and other braille materials for the blind community.

“Braille books cost more than regular print books, so only a small percentage of people have access to them,” said Jose Eguiguren, a local resident and member of the Beverly Ridge Lions Club. “I believe that, if you can educate the blind community through braille, you can empower them, so I immediately wanted to get involved.”

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

“Braille Across America earns support from Lions”

Posted in Advocacy and Events | View Post

Bionic Eye Helps Blind People See

Picture Of The Human EyeA bioelectronics company has received the HealthTech Award 2020 for its bionic vision Prima System. Pixium Vision SA’s bionic eye helps blind people see. The Prima System could help blind people lead more independent lives. It elicits functional artificial vision in the form of light perception replacing partially the natural central vision loss.

“We are tremendously proud to receive this HealthTech Award 2020 for the groundbreaking work being carried out with the Prima System,” said Lloyd Diamond, Chief Executive Officer of Pixium Vision. “The Prima System has demonstrated its potential to make a significant improvement to the quality of life of patients with dry AMD and this award recognizes its capacity to improve vision.”

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

“A bionic vision Prima System allows blind people to see again”

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

Teenagers Sailed 800 Miles Despite Vision Loss

Picture Of A Sailing Boat At SeaA group of teenagers from Phoenix, AZ, are the stars of a new documentary called "Ocean of Obstacles." The film is about the teens' remarkable sailing journey across the Caribbean Sea. What novel about the expedition is the fact that teenagers navigated without vision. The teenagers sailed 800 miles despite vision loss and learned a lot about themselves along the way. "Ocean of Obstacles" should be an inspiration for all, as it shows the genuinely remarkable feats blind people can accomplish.

"We all got a chance to be the ones at the wheel... any opportunity, we all got a chance to do it," said Morgan Marquis, who was just thirteen at the time of the expedition in 2018. "It showed me it doesn't matter where in life that I am. I'm always going to do whatever I want to and it's not a matter of can I do it, it's a matter of do I want to."

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

"Despite vision loss, Valley teens sail across Caribbean Sea"

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

Robotic Guide Dog for the Blind

Picture Of Man Testing The Robotic Guide DogYesterday we shared a story about a new AI-powered backpack that could help blind people navigate the world without the aid of guide dogs. Along the same vein, researchers at the University of California Berkeley are working on a robotic guide dog for the blind. The scientists strongly believe that their technological creation will be far more reliable than actual dogs. The Robotic Guide Dog for the blind will use guiding software that is downloaded into the device automatically.

"Using a robotic guide dog, we can directly deploy our code from one robot to another," said project leader Zhongyu Li. "As time goes by and the hardware becomes more affordable, we can actually use this kind of dog to help, to serve, humans."

If you are struggling with vision loss or blindness, please contact SDCB to learn more about the services we offer.

“Robotic Guide Dog can lead blind people around obstacles”

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

Smart Backpack for Visually Impaired People

Picture of physical setup of the MIRA Guidance System for the BlindGuide dogs are instrumental for many visually impaired people in navigating their way through the world. White canes also help blind men and women detect obstacles that may present challenges. In the near future, a backpack could be the chosen means of navigating for people with diminished fields of vision. The MIRA Guidance System for the Blind, a smart backpack powered by Intel for visually impaired people, is being tested.

Intel's advanced AI software and processors have been housed in a laptop carried inside a backpack. A vest with a camera sends information to the computer, which in turn sends audio notifications related to the user's immediate environment via a Bluetooth earpiece.

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

"Cutting Edge Intel AI-Powered Backpack Could Replace A Guide Dog For Blind People"

Posted in Assistive Technology | View Post

Blind and Visually Impaired Students Protest

Picture Of Blind And Visually Impaired ProtestersIn Rhode Island, blind and visually impaired students protested in front of the House Chambers at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium, calling for a permanent line item in the state budget to aid services for blind students. The rally came about after the Department of Education pulled a $684,000 federal grant from the Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities.

“This decision impacts students like myself and students in this crowd today. You have the power to fix it, please use it,” Jackson Troxell said.

SDCB can help your or a loved one; please contact us to learn more about our programs and services.

“Blind, visually impaired students in RI rally for new state funding”

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

Visually Impaired Man Racing for Charity

Picture Of Visually Impaired GamerSpeed Of Sight is a charity which provides car racing track days for disabled people. This month, Drew Hanslow will be driving 200 laps of the Nürburgring circuit on the video game Gran Turismo Sport to raise money for Speed of Sight. The visually impaired man is racing for charity.

The charity was co-founded and run by blind race car driver and multiple World Record holder, Mike Newman. Speed of Sight gives race car driving experiences for adults and children living with disabilities.

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

“Visually impaired man to race 200 laps for Greater Manchester sight charity”

Posted in Advocacy and Events | View Post

Technology Aiding Visually Impaired People

Picture Of Visually Impaired Man Wearing Back PackpackThere are almost 253 million visually impaired people globally; 36 million of which are blind. Assistive technology is instrumental in the lives of people living with vision loss and blindness.

There are many forms of technology aiding visually impaired people, many of which can be accessed in one’s smartphone. Still, many people still rely heavily on their white cane and guide dogs. However, a new AI-powered backpack, which is a portable assistive solution for people with visual impairment, could replace the need for guide dogs and canes one day.

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

“AI and other disruptive techs are aiding visually impaired people to navigate with ease”

Posted in Assistive Technology | View Post

Menus4All is a Valuable Resource for the Blind

Picture Of Menus4All HomepageMenus4All is the most extensive collection of accessible restaurant menus. The blind and vision loss community can utilize Menus4All to access more than 50,000 restaurant menus from establishments in 12,000 cities across the country. The menus available on the website can be accessed using smartphones, screen readers, and Braille refreshable displays. All menus support common low vision settings.

Menus4All is a valuable resource for the blind. For the estimated 30,000,000 Americans living with blindness and visual impairments, Menus4All is an alternative method of accessing menus to your favorite restaurants or eateries you visit for the first time.

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

"Menus4ALL – Contact Free Accessible Menus"

Posted in Assistive Technology | View Post

Eylea Slowed the Progression of Diabetic Retinopathy

Picture Of A SyringeResearch published in JAMA Ophthalmology shows that anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) injections such as Eylea slowed the progression of diabetic retinopathy. However, the injections were not found to significantly slow vision loss more effectively than standard treatments. The results come from two years worth of data in a four-year study.

The researchers are concerned with how many patients receiving Eylea progressed to proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) or center-involved diabetic macular edema (CI-DME). The former is when retinal vessels grow abnormally, while the latter involves fluid leaking out of the retinal blood vessels, threatening vision loss and blindness.

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

"Therapy Slows Diabetic Retinopathy but Vision Loss Benefit Same as Standard Care"

Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post

Women’s Eye Health & Safety Month

Picture Of A Woman Looking At MountainsDid you know that women are at a higher risk for some eye diseases than men? The most recent research available shows that women have borne the more significant burden of visual impairment for the majority of conditions studied. April is Women’s Eye Health & Safety Month.

Women’s Eye Health is a helpful resource created in partnership with the National Eye Health Education Program and Women in Ophthalmology. The website offers women valuable information about eye diseases and preventing vision loss.

If you are struggling with vision loss or blindness, please contact San Diego Center for the Blind. We offer many programs and services that can help.

“Women’s Eye Health: What You Need to Know About Higher Risks”

Posted in Eye Health and Preventing Disease | View Post

Blind People Wear Sunglasses for a Reason

Picture Of A Blind Woman Waiting For A TrainMost seeing people have seen a blind individual wearing sunglasses. Some may have wondered why someone would wear darkened lenses when they can’t see. Blind people wear sunglasses for a reason. Did you know that only 15 percent of people with eye disorders have total blindness? The rest have a limited amount of vision.

Blind people wear sunglasses to protect their eyes from bright lights and glares. It helps those with limited vision see better, they are not worn to hide one’s eyes. What’s more, UV rays can still do damage to the eye, regardless of whether or not a person can see.

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

“What Seeing People Should Know About Blind People Wearing Sunglasses”

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

Retinal Risk Assessment Software

Graphic Rendering Of An EyeIntel is teaming up with Sankara Eye Foundation and Leben Care to release a comprehensive retinal risk assessment software that can spot retinal failure linked to diabetes much earlier, thus giving eye doctors a better chance of preventing blindness. Spotting the signs of eye problems earlier is the best shot at preventing blindness. The initial results are promising, of more than three thousand patients scanned, 742 were found to be at risk. AI is proving to play a huge role in the future of eye health.

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

"The Intel-Powered Solution that Could Eventually Eliminate Diabetic Vision Loss"

Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post

Vision Impairment, Blindness, and Mortality

Drawing Of An EyeA meta-analysis published in The Lancet Global Health shows that those with severe vision impairment had a higher risk of all-cause mortality compared to those with normal vision. The link between vision impairment, blindness, and mortality is pronounced. Those with even mild vision impairment had a 29% higher risk for mortality compared to people with normal vision.

“It’s important these issues are addressed early on because losing your vision affects more than just how you see the world; it affects your experience of the world and your life,” says Ehrlich. “This analysis provides an important opportunity to promote not only health and wellbeing, but also longevity by correcting, rehabilitating, and preventing avoidable vision loss across the globe.”

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

"Vision Impairment is Associated with Mortality"

Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post

Preventing Glaucoma-Related Blindness

Picture Of Eye ExamRegular eye check-ups can help in preventing glaucoma-related blindness. With glaucoma, many individuals are unaware that they are losing their vision. Seeing an eye doctor every year can help you identify the problem early and prevent blindness. Neglecting the importance of eye health can have pernicious consequences.

“Eyesight or human vision is one of the most important senses. As much as 80 percent of what we feel comes through our sense of sight. By protecting the eyes, people will reduce the chance of blindness and vision loss while also staying on top of any developing eye diseases, such as glaucoma and cataracts.

“A healthy brain function requires a healthy vision. The brain is our most essential organ, and it allows us to control other organs. Normal and healthy vision contributes to improved learning and comprehension for a better quality of life,” says Dr. Daniel Laroche, director of Glaucoma Services and president of Advanced Eyecare of New York.

Please reach out to San Diego Center for the Blind to learn more about how we can help you with vision loss or blindness.

“Glaucoma is a leading cause of preventable blindness: Don’t skip eyecare check-ups”

Posted in Eye Disease - Glaucoma | View Post

Diabetic Vision Loss and Blindness

Picture Of Person Having Eyes ExaminedUnmanaged type 1 and type 2 diabetes can lead to severe eye problems, causing diabetic vision loss and blindness. People with diabetes are at risk of diabetic macular edema (DME), the most common cause of blindness in people with diabetic retinopathy. Uncontrolled high blood sugar levels over a long period can damage the blood vessels of the retina.

People with diabetes must keep track of their DME. Monitoring the progression of the condition helps one’s doctor in finding an effective treatment.

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

“Should You Track Your Diabetic Macular Edema Symptoms?”

Posted in Eye Disease - Diabetic Retinopathy | View Post

Tear Gland Dysfunction Leads To Blindness

Picture Of A Teary Eyed ManScientists have used stem cells to grow tear glands and successfully transplanted them into mice. This scientific advancement could help individuals with tear duct conditions such as Sjögren’s syndrome and dry-eye syndrome. Tear gland dysfunction leads to blindness in severe cases. Tears lubricate our eyes; when eyes are too dry, it can cause ulceration of the cornea.

“The chemical message that comes from the neurons to your tear glands is adrenaline. So, to really show that we had functional tear glands, we needed to show that they would respond to adrenaline,” said Professor Hans Clevers.

Please contact SDCB to learn more about our programs and services for the visually impaired.

“Crying human tear glands grown from stem cells”

Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post


Picture Of An ElectricianKeep safety and energy savings on tap year-round with these simple tips for your home water heater.
  1. Set the water heater thermostat to 120°F or less to save energy and reduce the risk of scalding. (If your dishwasher lacks a booster heater, a setting of 140°F may be needed.)
  2. Hand-test water temperature before bathing or showering. A child’s bath water generally should be no hotter than 100°F.
  3. Securely install water heater restraints to wall studs to prevent movement or toppling during an earthquake, as required by state law.
  4. Keep flammable products away from the water heater and vent system to help prevent fire hazards.
  5. Keep the area around the water heater clean and well-ventilated.
  6. Fix leaky faucets to prevent heated water from dripping away.
  7. Use cold water to wash clothes and rinse dishes when possible.
  8. Run full loads in the clothes washer and dishwasher.
  9. Install low-flow devices on faucets and showerheads — less water, less heating.
  10. Wash clothes in cold water. It lowers microfiber pollution and cold water uses less energy. Up to 90% of the energy cost goes towards heating the water.
For more energy-saving and safety tips visit

Posted in Independent Living Skills | View Post


Picture Of Stressed Man Looking At CellphoneIf you have outstanding bills, and you are a CARE or FERA customer, you may be eligible for debt forgiveness through SDG&E’s Arrearage Management Payment (AMP) Plan. This plan offers qualified, current SDG&E customers financial assistance to help reduce past due account balances.

AMP is a 12-month payment plan that forgives 1/12 of a participant’s debt after each on-time payment of the current month’s bill. After 12 on-time payments of each current month’s bill, the participant’s debt will be fully forgiven up to a maximum of $8,000. Enrolled participants are protected from disconnection while participating. Find out if you qualify at or call an SDG&E AMP Service Specialist at 1-888-204-3576.

Find out if you qualify for other SDG&E Assistance programs at

Although business customers are not eligible for AMP, we may be able to offer flexible payment arrangements. Call our Business Care Center at 1-800-336-7343 for payment arrangements, energy-saving tips and pricing plan options, or visit

Posted in Independent Living Skills | View Post


Picture Of A FamilySpending more time at home this winter and spring means energy use could be higher and your monthly bill may be, too. SDG&E has some helpful tips on ways to save on your energy bill. We know that every little bit helps, especially now.
  1. Being on the right pricing plan can make a difference on your bill. Compare pricing plans to ensure you are on the best plan for your household at
  2. Use appliances before 4 p.m. or after 9 p.m. when demand for power is lower.
  3. Use your exhaust fans sparingly. Your bathroom fans and oven hoods are overlooked sources of heat loss in the winter and spring because they can pull warmth from your home.
  4. Get a more predictable bill by signing up for the Level Pay Plan at Level Pay averages your bill every three months; you don’t pay less or more.
  5. Let the sunshine in. Take advantage of the world’s best furnace — the sun! Open your curtains during the day to naturally heat your home.
  6. When you’re asleep or not home, turn your thermostat back 7 to 10 degrees for eight hours and save around 10% a year on your heating and cooling costs.
  7. Check your home’s insulation. It’s like a winter coat for your house. The heavier it is, the warmer your home will be.
  8. Hot air rises so run your ceiling fan clockwise, at the lowest speed, to help push the warmth back down to you.
  9. Use less hot water as it takes energy to heat up water; wash your clothes in cold water and install low-flow faucets and showerheads.
  10. Move furniture and belongings away from heating vents so they can deliver all the heat you’re paying for.
Visit for more energy-saving ideas.

Posted in Independent Living Skills | View Post

COVID-19 Affects Glaucoma Patients

Picture Of Man Standing In Front Of COVID-19 CellThe COVID-19 pandemic has affected the lives of billions of people across the globe. For more than a year, the healthcare system has been severely bogged down, making it extremely difficult for individuals to receive eye disease treatments. COVID-19 affects glaucoma patients especially, and they are at risk of vision loss and blindness without access to essential treatments. A new survey shows that many people have not received a professional diagnosis for the condition; those with a diagnosis have struggled to attend medical appointments. Karen Osborn, Chief Executive Officer of Glaucoma UK, said:

"We know that many people will be doing their very best to maintain their eye health during the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the results of this survey highlight that more can be done to support people at this challenging time. Now more than ever, it is important that people with glaucoma keep their medical appointments, collect their prescriptions and use their eye drops as prescribed. Any disruption to care can lead to vision loss and permanent, irreversible blindness.

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

"Survey Suggests That People Living With Glaucoma are Potentially at Increased Risk of Sight Loss and blindness due to COVID-19 Pandemic"

Posted in Eye Disease - Glaucoma | View Post

Bionic Cornea Could Cure Blindness

Picture Of Bionic Eye ArtworkTechnological advancements have led to the development of bionics for those with lost limbs or hearing impairments. In the near future, we could see the use of bionic corneas for curing blindness. There are several projects underway to develop a functional bionic cornea.

One example of a bionic eye is the "Argus II." The device is surgically implanted in the retina; video glasses transmit to the implant allowing people with retinitis pigmentosa to see their surroundings, objects, and large texts. While the development of a bionic cornea could cure blindness one day, such devices will likely be costly.

We invite you to reach out to SDCB to learn more about our vision rehabilitation programs and services.

"Bionic Cornea Are a New Horizon in Curing Blindness"

Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post

Researchers Discovered A New Blindness Gene

Picture Of A DogRetinal dystrophy affects as many as two million people globally. There are no effective treatments available for the common cause of blindness. However, genes therapy could one day be used to treat retinal dystrophy. Researchers discovered a new blindness gene, IFT122, in canines with retinal dystrophy, which could lead to novel treatments for dogs and people.

"Retinal dystrophy has been described in over 100 dog breeds, with related investigations helping to identify new genes associated and pathogenic mechanisms with blindness across different breeds. IFT122 is a good example, offering a potential explanation for unsolved human cases as well," Professor Hannes Lohi states.

Please contact San Diego Center for the Blind to learn more about the programs and services we provide for the visually impaired and blind.

“A new blindness gene uncovered in a canine study”

Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post

A Day in the Life of a Blind Child

Picture Of A Childs EyeLast Sunday, Feb. 28, was World Rare Diseases Day. The company Novartis, the maker of ophthalmological treatments, released a video that seeks to show the general public a day in the life of a blind child. The animated film, “He who did not see the stars,” focuses on a rare ophthalmic disease, such as Hereditary retinal dystrophies (HRD). Novartis states:

“Hereditary retinal dystrophies (HRD) represent a group of rare diseases affecting the retina. These pathologies are due to the alteration (mutation) of genes (more than 250 to date) involved in the functioning and regulation of cells of the retina. Progressive and gradual loss of vision which may progress to blindness.”

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

“Ophthalmic diseases: a video immerses us in the daily life of a blind child”

Posted in Eye Disease | View Post

March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month

Picture Of Women Using Laptop Smartphone And TabletPrevent Blindness – the oldest eye health and safety non-profit in America – designates March as Workplace Eye Wellness Month. In 2021, the organization would like to focus on digital eye strain.

Amid a global pandemic, most Americans use their digital devices – smartphones, tablets, and computers – more frequently and for longer durations. Symptoms of digital eye strain include burning eyes, itching eyes, dry eyes, blurred vision, and headache.

Prevent Blindness has launched the Screen Time-Out awareness campaign. The initiative encourages us to schedule regular breaks throughout the day from our devices.

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

“Prevent Blindness Declares March as Workplace Eye Wellness Month”

Posted in Eye Health and Preventing Disease | View Post

Smartphones Could Prevent Glaucoma Blindness

Picture Of A SmartphoneOne of the hallmarks of glaucoma is elevated levels of intraocular pressure (IOP) in the eye. It would be useful to have a non-invasive method of checking a person’s IOP and could lead to early detection of glaucoma, which could prevent blindness down the road. A group of researchers suggests that using smartphones to scan our eyes could help detect eye diseases. Using soundwaves generated for our smartphones could prevent glaucoma blindness. Dr. Khamis Essa, Director of the Advanced Manufacturing Group at the University of Birmingham, says:

“We discovered a relationship between the internal pressure of an object and its acoustic reflection coefficient. With further investigation into eye geometry and how this affects the interaction with soundwaves, it [sic] possible to use a smartphone to accurately measure IOP from the comfort of the user’s home.”

Please contact SDCB if you require assistance with vision loss or blindness. We offer a number of programs and services that can help.

“Smartphones could help to prevent glaucoma blindness”

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

New Technology for Low Vision and Blindness

Picture Of Man Using Technology For BlindnessMillions of Americans are affected by macular degeneration, glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa and diabetes-related eye diseases. These conditions can lead to low vision and blindness. Those living with blinding eye diseases can experience loss of independence, and often have to rely on others for support. However, scientific advancements have led to the development of new technology for low vision and blindness. Some of those include OrCam MyEye Pro, WeWALK, eSIght, and IrisVision.

"There are devices that try to take advantage of whatever little vision the person has to try to get them to see better, and there are devices that try to use other senses because their vision sense is essentially gone,” says Calvin W. Roberts, M.D., host of On Tech & Vision With Dr. Cal Roberts, a podcast series from Lighthouse Guild.

SDCB can help you or a loved one regain your sense of independence. Please contact us to learn more about our programs and services.

"Fantastic New Tech for People With Low Vision or Blindness"

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

Prevent Blindness Eyes On Capitol Hill Event

Picture Of Capitol Hill“Eyes on Capitol Hill,” an annual advocacy event, brings patients, caregivers, public health workers and medical professionals with their elected officials. The goal is to educate lawmakers about eye diseases that cause vision loss and blindness. The Prevent Blindness Eyes on Capitol Hill event will be held virtually this year, on Wednesday, Feb. 24, and Thursday, Feb. 25.

“From its founding in 1908, Prevent Blindness has continued to be, at its core, a public health advocacy organization,” said Jeff Todd, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness. “By working to give those who are directly affected by vision issues the opportunity to educate our government representatives directly on the importance of eye health, the Eyes on Capitol Hill event continues to carry on that mission.”

Please reach out to SDCB to learn more about our programs and services. We can help improve your life quality.

"Prevent Blindness to Hold ‘Eyes on Capitol Hill’ Advocacy Event Feb. 24-25"

Posted in Advocacy and Events | View Post

Treating Blindness With Cell Transplant Therapy

Picture Of Women Living With BlindnessSome 11 million Americans are losing their vision due to macular degeneration. Unfortunately, the leading cause of blindness has no approved treatment options. However, thanks to new advancements in science, doctors are now treating blindness with cell transplant therapy.

Cheri McDaniel has the progressive eye disease macular degeneration. Every year since her diagnosis her eyesight has worsened. She was recently treated with the cell transplant therapy OpRegen. The therapy was a success: it stopped the deterioration of her vision and her vision has improved.

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

“Cell transplant therapy could be a treatment for leading cause of blindness”

Posted in Eye Disease - Macular Degeneration | View Post

COVID-19 Makes Life Harder for the Visually Impaired

Visually Impaired Person In Grocery StoreAll of our lives have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is safe to say that those impacted the most are people living with vision loss or other disabilities. Simply put, COVID-19 makes life harder for the visually impaired. The pandemic has forced sighted people to lend their hand to the visually impaired due to contraction fears. How do you know if you are six feet away from someone when you are blind?

Children living with vision loss have to rely on verbal descriptions over video chats to learn new skills, which is less than ideal. People living with sight loss are all too familiar with social isolation and mobility limitations, but the pandemic has severely exacerbated such realities.

"Everybody's feeling kind of shut in right now and out of touch with people, but we already have that isolation. So for us, it just has deepened even more," said Diane Wilkinson, who has retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative retinal disease.

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

"Visually impaired face new challenges navigating a world remade by COVID-19"

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