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Eye Health Researcher Recognized

Close up photo of an eyDr. Carla Abbott’s combined intrigue with vision loss and physical fitness at a young age led her into the field of eye health. She investigates new treatments for retinal diseases, such as advanced retinitis pigmentosa. Dr. Abbott studied retinal circuitry for her postdoctoral at the University of Melbourne.  Afterward, she joined the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA).

At CERA, Dr. Abbott was part of the Bionic Vision Australia multidisciplinary team, which created a ‘bionic eye’ for patients with late-stage inherited retinal disease. Her work continues, now researching patients with age-related macular degeneration. Dr. Abbott’s hard work is being rewarded; she was recently named a veski inspiring women in STEM side by side participant, which supports emerging leaders in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics industry.

“I am passionate about the eye health sector, the importance of research and evidence-based practice and wish to contribute in a meaningful way to the growth and development of the sector into the future,” said Dr. Abbott.

Please contact San Diego Center for the Blind to learn more about our vision rehabilitation programs and services. We can help you regain some of your independence.

Retinal researcher has her eye on prize

Posted in Researchers and Leaders in Eye Disease | View Post

Support Needed for Blind and Visually Impaired

A child walks with a white caneResearchers know that people living with blindness face many obstacles that sighted people do not. Blind and visually impaired people are more likely to face unemployment, social isolation, and quality of life deficiencies. There is a dire need to cure blindness in our lifetime.

We can look at curing blindness in two ways: restoring lost sight or improving the life quality of men, women, and children living with vision loss. The latter is, currently, within reach, but it will take a collective effort to achieve.

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

Curing blindness: why we need a new perspective on sight rehabilitation

Posted in Blindness and Society | View Post

The Impact of Space Travel on Astronaut's Eyes

Those who dream of soaring through outer space one day may have cause for many concerns. A new study showing the effects of protracted adventures in space shows that some people may experience vision loss.

The study wasn't disheartening; the researchers found that space explorers returning home exhibited improved motor skills or dexterity, as well. The scientists examined eight Russian cosmonauts who spent seven months aboard the International Space Station.

"They actually acquired some kind of new motor skill, like riding a bike," Steven Jillings, the study's lead author.

San Diego Center for the Blind offers several programs and services for people living with low vision or vision loss. Contact us to learn more.

Space travel can lead to new motor skills but impaired vision, according to a new study of cosmonaut brains

Posted in Research, Vision Loss | View Post

Blind Musicians Thrive in Irish Folk Music

A blind musician holds a guitar in rolling Irish hillsideIn the 17th Century, being a musician was one of the only jobs an Irish person living with blindness could secure. Rather than relying on sheet music to learn how to play an instrument, music in Ireland is mostly an "oral music tradition."

Musicians hundreds of years ago engaged in one-to-one oral learning. In fact, sheet music was only used as a tool for maintaining an outline for Irish folk music; unlike Western classical music, Irish folk's complexity cannot be captured in notation. Learning the intricacies of Irish folk music can only be accomplished by ear, which opened the doors of opportunity for people living with blindness. The 1600s are long behind us, but the methods of learning have not changed.

The history of Irish folk music and the virtuosos that emerged over the centuries is rich and unique. In the 21st Century, the tradition is kept alive in The Irish Memory Orchestra and The Vision Symphony. Dr. Dave Flynn, composer and orchestra director, says:

"In 2012, I formed the Irish Memory Orchestra with the aim to create a uniquely Irish orchestra that would draw equally on Ireland's oral folk music tradition and the notated western classical tradition. Though I notate the music I compose for the orchestra, the musicians always play it by memory in concert. Some of the musicians are not classically trained, and as a result, they either cannot read music or have limited sight-reading skills. Therefore, I create audio learning files so they can learn the music by ear. I also give the musicians freedom to subtly improvise, within the traditions of Irish folk music, jazz, and popular music."

Please reach out to San Diego Center for the Blind if you would like to learn more about our vision rehabilitation services.

How Ireland's tradition of blind musicians led to a new vision for orchestral music

Posted in Visually Impaired | View Post

Veterans Can Get Assistance for Vision Loss

a woman gets an eye examMany Veterans are experiencing vision loss due to age-related issues or combat-inflicted brain injuries. More than a million Veterans are legally blind or live with low vision. Ophthalmologists and other eye care professionals at the VA are helping veterans protect their vision.

Older Veterans are living with age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, stroke, and diabetic retinopathy. Eye care specialists must identify patients at a higher risk of vision loss to prevent sight loss. Eye care professionals are administering routine eye exams and assisting Veterans living with blindness or low vision. Due to COVID-19, Veterans can get eye exams via tele-eye screenings.

SDCB helps people living with vision loss and blindness. Please contact us to learn more about our programs and services.

3 ways ophthalmologists are making a difference for Veterans

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired | View Post

Christine Hà on Master Chef and Life

Christine Ha stands in a kitchen wearing a white chef jacketChristine Hà lost her vision to the autoimmune condition neuromyelitis optical. Despite her blindness, Hà won Master Chef in 2012 and is the owner of The Blind Goat—a modern Vietnamese gastropub in Houston, Texas.

Hà started losing her vision in college; it took eight years for her sight to fully dissipate. Nevertheless, she remained steadfast and undeterred. She has a master's in creative writing; Hà says writing helped her heal:

"When I went through my bouts of vision loss and even temporary paralysis because of the neurological condition, I felt very alone. As I began to heal, I found catharsis in writing about my experience. It renewed my love for reading and writing."

Please reach out to San Diego Center for the Blind to learn more about our programs and services. We can help you regain some of your independence.

Blind MasterChef winner Christine Hà on Gordon Ramsay, Hong Kong and navigating the kitchen without her sight

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired | View Post

Macular Degeneration Research Shows Exercise Reduces Risk

A mouse on a wheelPreventing vision loss is vital, and there are many things you can do to protect your sight, such as eating healthy. Researchers also suggest that exercise could stave off the loss of vision tied to macular degeneration. A team of scientists at the University of Virginia found evidence that working out led to a reduction in blood vessel overgrowth in the eyes of laboratory mice. 

"The meta-analysis found that there was a very significant reduction in the prevalence of macular degeneration in people who had self-reported as having engaged in some kind of exercise," said Bradley Gelfand, assistant professor at the University of Virginia's Department of Ophthalmology.

Blood vessel overgrowth causes macular generation. Exercising before the onset of the condition may protect your vision. Age-related macular degeneration affects millions of men and women worldwide and is one of the leading causes of vision loss.

SDCB can provide you with a new sense of independence. Please contact us to learn more about our vision rehabilitation programs and services.

University researchers find connection between exercise and vision loss

Posted in Eye Health and Preventing Disease | View Post

Assistive Technology Devices and Genetic Breakthroughs

A person looks out a window in black and white imageBetween advances in assistive technology for the visually impaired and breakthroughs in genetic research, there have been great strides made in recent years towards independence for people who are blind or visually impaired.

While assistive technology isn't a cure, it does allow for greater independence. Tech such as the Aira Glasses or even VoiceOver features on the iPhone are helping people take on tasks independently that may have previously been difficult. 

As for research advances, scientists have found genetic information that may help to cure visual impairments that are genetic. This would be a huge benefit to a large group of people who are visually impaired. It's not an imminent cure, but the possibilities are hopeful.  

Eye health is a chief priority at SDCB; please contact us to learn more about our programs and services.

Why Science Is Closer Than You Think To Beating Blindness

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Living With Vision Loss in a Pandemic 

Living With Vision Loss in a pandemicNot all physical impairments can be identified by strangers. Mary Mammoliti shares her experiences during the pandemic as a visually impaired person. She has only limited central vision and often relies on a sighted guide for outings. 

She has had rude comments made when she has come too close to someone without seeing them in our socially distanced world. Employees at stores have tried to keep her husband and guide from entering with her because of limits on the number of people from a household allowed into a store. She has been told she's not allowed to hold the hand of her guide. 

She urges everyone to be kind. To lead with kindness. To consider there may be something you can't "see" that is keeping someone from being able to independently follow the guidelines being set out for safety. 

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

"Are You Blind?" Navigating a Socially Distanced World With A Visual Impairment

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Assistive Technology For Blind Musicians

A director holds a baton to direct an orchestraKyungho Jeon has always loved music. As a child, his teachers warned that he wouldn't be able to join an orchestra because he wouldn't be able to see the conductor's movement and directions. Kyungho is blind. 

But he loved music too much to give up. He became an accomplished marimba soloist, but still couldn't join an orchestra. 

To overcome this obstacle, Kyungho joined with Human Instruments to design a haptic baton that would allow blind and visually impaired musicians to follow the movement of the conductor while not changing anything that the rest of the orchestra or conductor normally do. 

San Diego Center for the Blind has a long history of helping people regain their independence. Please contact SDCB to learn more about our programs and services.

A blind musician can feel a conductor's movement, thanks to a high-tech baton

Posted in Accessibility | View Post

Supporting Family Losing Eyesight

A man with glasses and a backwards baseball cap hugs his granddaughter outsideWhen a parent or family member is experiencing vision loss, there are many ways you can be supportive. From helping with transportation to tracking down resources that will help them continue to live independently, there are ways to help. 

It may be that supporting the person through learning new skills, using adaptive technology or helping to modify their home to keep it safe and accessible will be welcome. It's also possible your parent will just need a listening ear.

San Diego Center for the Blind offers Southern Californians many vision rehabilitation services. If you have a parent struggling with vision loss, we invite you to contact us to learn more.

How to Help a Parent Cope with Vision Loss

Posted in First Steps After Vision Loss | View Post

Blind Travel Easier with AI 

Would a suitcase shaped robot help you feel more confident traveling as a person with visual impairment? A group of companies in Japan thinks it will! 

The idea came to fruition thanks to a visually impaired staff member at IBM in Japan who wondered how to make the travel experience easier for people with visual impairments.

The companies have joined together to create an "AI suitcase" that would give directions, alert the user to approaching danger, locations they want to visit and more. They plan to roll out the device this year indoors before refining the technology for outdoor use. 

San Diego Center for the Blind has a long history of helping people regain their independence. Please contact SDCB to learn more about our programs and services.

This AI suitcase could help visually-impaired people to travel

Posted in Accessibility | View Post

Inclusive Art Welcomes All Subjects

Artist Yvonne Shortt is visually impaired. She has noticed a distinct lack of representation of people like her in works of art. Though many museums and art worlds are trying to become more inclusive with specific programs allowing people to touch works of art or experience art in a different manner, there are few art subjects who are blind or visually impaired. 

About her work, Yvonne says, "I want my niece to know she's not alone. I want to know I'm not alone. There are millions who use a cane or dog as guides and I'm painting for them, those who come in contact with them, and myself." 

Her work can be seen in New York. 

Please contact SDCB if you would like assistance with visual impairment. We offer many programs and services.

Visual impairment at Subjects

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired | View Post

LEGO Creates Braille Bricks 

A sketch of a jumble of colorful LEGO blocksAfter being asked by multiple organizations for blind and visually impaired, LEGO has taken the step to develop Braille bricks.

The bricks will include every letter, number and symbol used in Braille to help children learn to read Braille. 

A recent study showed that less than 10% of children who are blind are learning Braille. Many of the current tools available for children to learn on are expensive or ineffective. LEGO Braille bricks will be something many children are already familiar with and will have an affordable price tag! 

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

LEGO is releasing sets of Braille bricks for visually impaired children

Posted in Braille | View Post

Breakthrough in Age Related Vision Loss

A close up image of nerves, a tangle of confusionFor the first time, stem cells have been identified in the region of the optic nerve.

Researchers believe these cells are present in the optic nerve at birth. One researcher says, "without these cells, the fibers may lose their resistance to stress, and begin to deteriorate, causing damage to the optic nerve, which may ultimately lead to glaucoma."

Understanding these cells and the role they play may ultimately lead to better treatment options for age-related vision loss. 

Eye health is a chief priority at SDCB; please contact us to learn more about our programs and services.

Researchers discover stem cells in the optic nerve that enable preservation of vision

Posted in Research, Vision Loss | View Post

Does Screen Time for Kids Impact Vision? 

two little boys sit together watching TV, likely increasing screen time during the pandemicMany parents are wondering about the impact screen time has on the eyes of their children. With more online learning, parents working from home while managing childcare and the general situation at the moment, many kids are using screens more than normal. 

A pediatric optometrist with Texas Children's Hospital shares some thoughts on how to protect your children's vision while using screens. She suggests implementing the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes look 20 feet in the distance for at least 20 seconds. This helps to break the "stare" that so many of us fall into when using screens and helps with dry eyes as well. 

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

Is additional screen impacting eye health of kids? 

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Eye Health During Pandemic

a young woman with long brown hair stands in front of a wall of eye glassesVision experts have had to adapt quickly to address patients' needs during this unprecedented time. COVID-19 has put everyone's safety at risk and led to a more significant reliance on virtual eye health consultations. A group of optometrists has shared the steps being taken to protect their patients' eyesight and overall well-being. Optometrist Nikki Sharma says:

"We have introduced a color-coded triaging system to help us identify patients who require urgent/essential eye care and those who need remote care consultations. Once an appointment is booked, my colleagues contact the patient to ask the relevant COVID-19 questions and triage them. The color of the slot in the diary is altered from green (pre-triaged) to blue (triaged), making it easier to identify patients who need to be contacted."

"When the patient attends their appointment, they are asked the COVID-19 questions again. The triage form is handed to me prior to the appointment. This is useful as I can highlight the patients who need extra care. The initial triage form was filled with numerous questions and required an extensive phone conversation, however after some rejigging we have been able to create a form which is still thorough, but more concise and less time-consuming. Working together on all of the new processes, including the triaging system, we've shown what we are capable of."

Eye health is a chief priority at SDCB; please contact us to learn more about our programs and services.

We need to bring eye care into the 21st century

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Use UV Protective Sunglasses for Eyes

A young woman wearing sunglasses looks away from the cameraMany Americans think of sunglasses as fashion accessories, but they are so much more. It's vital to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays that can cause sunburns and vision loss. Wearing sunglasses that prevent 100 percent of UV rays can prevent eye problems like cataracts.

"So many people right now think it's the fashion but it's the preventative behind the fashion. We want to make sure we are preventing cataracts and macular degeneration, things like that," said Melissa Zalewski with The Rib Mountain Eye Center.

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

Taking care of your eyes in the summer

Posted in Eye Health and Preventing Disease | View Post

Researching Cataract Eye Surgery and Diabetic Retinopathy

A close up view of an eye held open for eye surgeryA new study delves into the connection between cataract surgery and diabetic retinopathy with type 2 diabetics.

Yih-Chung Tham, Ph.D., of the Singapore Eye Research Institute and colleagues found that common surgery could increase patients' risk of developing the condition. The research paper, "Association of Cataract Surgery With Risk of Diabetic Retinopathy Among Asian Participants in the Singapore Epidemiology of Eye Diseases Study," appears in JAMA Network Open.

"The findings of this population-based cohort study suggest that prior cataract surgery was associated with a higher risk of developing DR among individuals with diabetes. Further validation is warranted to confirm this association," the researchers wrote.

Please contact SDCB if you would like assistance with visual impairment. We offer many programs and services.

Cataract Surgery Increases Risk of Diabetic Retinopathy

Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post

Eye Exams Critical for Early Diagnosis

A woman's bright blue eye up closeMacular degeneration is a leading cause of blindness among the elderly. Often irreversible, annual eye examinations can make all the difference in protecting you or a loved one from experiencing vision loss. Researchers led by Baylor College have created a plan for tackling one of the most common forms of macular degeneration.

"Various combination therapies have been explored in clinical trials. For example, targeting PDGF (Fovista) or the angiopoietin pathway. However, no major breakthrough has been reported. In fact, a phase III trial combining anti-VEGF and PDGF failed to demonstrate improved efficacy," said co-corresponding study author Dr. Yingbin Fu, associate professor and Sarah Campbell Blaffer Endowed Chair of Ophthalmology at Baylor.

San Diego Center for the Blind has a long history of helping people regain their independence. Please contact SDCB to learn more about our programs and services.

Combating drug resistance in age-related macular degeneration

Posted in Eye Health and Preventing Disease | View Post

Hogweed Causing Blindness

Hogweed is a large plant with a white flower that can grow to 12 feet highOn numerous occasions, we have warned our readers about a weed that found its way to America and causes dermal burns and blindness. The Giant Hogweed is cropping up in several states and should be approached with severe caution. The invasive species is relatively unmistakable but can be confused with a different large plant (cow parsnip). It can grow 12 feet tall.

If you suspect that the weed has found its way to your community, please contact professionals to remove it safely.

SDCB can help you or a loved one regain your independence following vision loss.

Giant hogweed can cause blisters and lead to blindness if touched

Posted in Eye Health and Preventing Disease | View Post

Research Into CVI In Progress

A brain scan illustrates how the brain doesn't understand what the eyes see with CVIBrain-based visual impairment is the focus of new research from the National Eye Institute. Millions of young Americans contend with vision loss; fortunately, some men and women dedicate their lives to helping our youth overcome the same. Ellen Mazel, M.Ed. is one of those individuals. While vision loss is most often associated with ocular conditions, many people's deteriorating vision is rooted in the brain. 

Such cases are referred to as cerebral (cortical) visual impairment (CVI). Studies show that CVI is a leading cause of visual impairment in children worldwide and is mostly ignored or explained as a behavioral health problem.

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

Vision loss in children whose eyesight may be 20/20 requires new diagnostic and teaching strategies

Posted in Vision Loss | View Post

Research Connects Eye Health and Vitamin A

A woman looks into a machine in an eye clinicNew research shows that a Vitamin A analog may help scientists develop effective treatments for vision loss associated with early diabetic retinopathy. The study indicates that chromophore 9-cis-retinal can dramatically improve visual function in mice with diabetes.

Diabetic retinopathy is an eye condition that can result in vision loss from damage to the blood vessels in a person's retina. However, people with diabetes can still experience visual impairment without any apparent blood vessel damage.

The findings, published in The American Journal of Pathology, show that early changes in vision in diabetes are probably caused by vitamin A deficiency in the retina.

San Diego Center for the Blind offers Southern Californians many vision rehabilitation services; we invite you to contact us to learn more.

Vitamin A may help treat early vision loss in diabetes

Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post

Dangerous Hand Sanitizers Can Cause Sudden Vision Loss

A hand pumps hand sanitizer into a waiting handWearing face masks and carrying around hand sanitizers is the new normal for tens of millions of men and women worldwide. As the number of people contracting COVID-19 increases along with the death toll, we must do everything in our power to protect against contracting the deadly virus.

Many of you may remember that we all faced challenges acquiring hand sanitizers for months. Companies around the globe in countries with little industrial oversight seeking to meet the growing demand have put people at risk of blindness and death.

Safe hand sanitizers are made with isopropanol (ethyl alcohol). However, in Mexico, one can buy methanol-based hand sanitizers or rubs. Unlike isopropanol, methanol is toxic to humans and can cause blindness or death when absorbed through the skin.

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

NCDHHS warns of methanol-contaminated hand sanitizers that can cause blindness, death

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Correcting Color Blindness With Glasses

Numbers hidden in patterns - an eye test for color blindnessMillions of Americans contend with color blindness every day; around 8 percent of men and .5 percent of women of Northern European descent. Can you picture what life would be like if you couldn't see the color variations of a beautiful sunset? It's the reality of those living with color blindness. However, advances in technology have led to the creation of special glasses that can correct the disability. The most typical form of the condition, which prevents men and women from distinguishing between specific colors, is red-green color blindness. 

"In the retina, there are two types of cells that detect light," author David Turbert explains. "They are called rods and cones. Rods detect only light and dark and are very sensitive to low light levels. Cone cells detect color and are concentrated near the center of your vision. There are three types of cones that see color: red, green, and blue. The brain uses input from these cone cells to determine our color perception."

Please contact SDCB if you are facing vision loss challenges to learn more about our programs and services.

Glasses that correct color blindness give Fargo man a bright new lease on life

Posted in Assistive Technology | View Post

Planning A Wedding While Blind

A couple stand in a doorway dressed for their weddingThe most special day of one's life for the majority of adults is understandably their wedding day. Naturally, preparing for such an event is demanding and stressful; everyone wants to get hitched without any hitches. You want everything to be perfect from the catering to the cake, which can take hundreds of hours of preparation. Planning a wedding is challenging enough, now imagine having to organize it while living with blindness.

A childhood accident led to juvenile idiopathic arthritis, explains Sassy. Initially, the problem only impacted her life physically. However, arthritis can affect one's vision; Sassy's condition resulted in blindness. Nevertheless, Sassy would not be deterred from planning her special day. Sassy says:

"My doctor warned me that the arthritis could affect my sight in the future – it attacks organs as well as joints – so every six months I went for a check-up. I first noticed my vision was blurring in 2007, and my eyes became inflamed and watery."

If you are living with blindness or vision loss in Southern California, please contact San Diego Center for the Blind.

From dress to venue, I organised my wedding without being able to see
Posted in Living Blind | View Post

Visually Impaired Artist Shares Her Story

visually impaired artist sits on a couch beside a reflective half-wallCOVID-19 has changed the lives of billions of people in a myriad of ways. All of us have been impacted in one way or another—both in good ways and bad. For artist Sandy Goldberg, whose vision loss in the right eye changes how she sees the world, the pandemic has helped her to be okay with embracing her condition publicly.  

Most people see the world in three dimensions. However, having visual impairment in one eye can cause one only to see things in two dimensions or flat. Goldberg is one of those people. She was born with no vision in her right eye. She was always inclined to keep her 2D reality from her curators, but the Coronavirus pandemic has changed her opinion on the matter.

"I think if I revealed it, people would see it maybe as a disability," said Goldberg. "I'm supposed to help others to see when they could mistakenly think I can't see myself."

At SDCB, we offer many programs and services to improve the lives of men and women living with vision loss. Please reach out to us to learn more.

Eyesight Is Her 'Superpower': How The Pandemic Led An Artist To Publicly Embrace Her Limited Vision

Posted in Arts and Culture | View Post

Exercise and Vision Loss Prevention

Woman in a kayak looking towards mountains in the distanceStaying healthy can be achieved by eating right and regular exercise. While Americans are mostly unable to get to the gym these days owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, there are many ways you can stay fit at home and outdoors. Adopting an exercise routine may help protect against vision loss as well.

Researchers at the University of Virginia have sought to better understand the link between exercise and vision loss prevention. Professor Bradley Gelfand studies how a little bit of exercise can protect against the number one cause of vision loss in America—macular degeneration. Ten million Americans are estimated to have macular degeneration. 

"We had two experimental groups. One group had access to exercise ad libitum, or as much as the subject wanted. And another group did not have access to an exercise wheel," said Gelfand.

Please contact San Diego Center for the Blind if you are struggling with macular degeneration or any other type of vision loss. We offer several services and programs that can improve your quality of life.

Exercise can slow or prevent macular degeneration

Posted in Eye Health and Preventing Disease | View Post

A new Children's Book on Blindness

An image from the book on blindness described in article.The majority of children, naturally, know very little about disabilities. Ignorance can lead young people to mistreat other youngsters who are living with hearing, vision loss and blindness. Author Andrew Stoner decided to take it upon himself to help kids better understand what it's like to live with blindness.

Stoner's new children's book, "Mr. Lollypop Makes A Friend," is a children's book about Mr. Flapjack Lollypop. The protagonist helps a cat named Rufus, a feline that he believes is blind and needs help. Stoner knows what it's like to live with blindness because he is blind.

"I walk around with a white cane and everyone can tell I'm blind," Stoner said. "I get all sorts of questions about my blindness and about how I go about my everyday life so I thought this was a good way to let people know what it's like."

San Diego Center for the Blind can help you or a loved one living with vision loss or blindness. Please reach out to us to learn more about our programs and services.

Children's book educates kids about blindness

Posted in Blind Library - Books | View Post

Methanol Poisoning Can Lead to Blindness

Hand sanitizer pumped into a bare hand can cause blindness in rare case it contains methanolWarning: methanol can be toxic to humans when ingested, inhaled, and absorbed through the skin. During a global pandemic that involves a potentially deadly virus, it's vital to wash or sanitize your hands regularly. Safe and effective hand sanitizers contain 60 percent or more of isopropyl alcohol.

Unfortunately, a company is making hand sanitizers with methanol. The Mexico-based Eskbiochem SA de CV sells nine types of sanitizers containing methanol that are harmful to unsuspecting users. Toxic levels of methanol can cause blindness. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an advisory to consumers to avoid methanol-based hand sanitizers.

"Methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizers," the FDA wrote. With use of hand sanitizers at a high amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency advised that anyone who has used the methanol-containing products "seek immediate treatment, which is critical for potential reversal of toxic effects of methanol poisoning."

Please contact SDCB if you are living with vision loss or blindness. We offer several programs that can improve your life quality.

Toxic methanol that causes blindness found in hand sanitizers, FDA warns

Posted in Vision Loss | View Post

Isolating Times for People Who Are Deafblind

A woman who is deafblind sits with another woman who is helping her during the pandemicThese are isolating times for billions of people around the globe. Stay at home orders, and social distancing recommendations are inherently lonely for anyone, but they can be especially challenging for people living with disabilities such as deafness or blindness.

Dawnelee Wright of Thunder Bay, Ontario, lives with deafblindness and has found the COVID-19 pandemic to be a real struggle. Her situation highlights the importance of assisting and supporting people living with vision loss during these troubling times. A service in her area is helping; they've sent a professionally trained guide to support and communicate with Wright.

"Let's say I want to do some cooking. She'll help me with the recipe. If I wanted to help the kids with homework she would read it to me so I could assist them," said Wright.

SDCB is dedicated to helping people living with vision loss and blindness; please contact us to learn how we can help.

Deafblind woman felt isolated because of COVID-19 pandemic

Posted in Blindness and Society | View Post

Assistive Technology for the Blind With 3D Geometry

Blocks of different shapes and colors illustrate geometry and Assistive Technology for the Blind3D printing is always coming up with new assistive devices to help those who are visually impaired. Geometry is a very difficult subject to understand for many, and even more so when you can't see. 

Now, the 3D printing of "geoboards" will help teach blind and visually impaired students about the mathematics needed to calculate area and volume of 3D objects. Though other types of tech have been available, many parts of the world have had trouble accessing affordable options. These geoboards may open up new doors for many. 

Please contact SDCB if you are living with vision loss or blindness. We offer several innovative programs that can improve your quality of life.

3D Printed Plastic Geoboards Teach Visually Impaired Students About Geometry

Posted in Accessibility, Assistive Technology, Vision Loss Technology & Products | View Post

Smart City Projects Gaining Popularity

A view of the Warsaw skyline - the city is implementing a smart city projectA few cities around the world are trying "smart city projects". The projects implement a combination of technology to aid those with visual impairments and other physical disabilities to traverse the city more easily. 

The technology enables a person who is blind or visually impaired to recognize people, bank notes, places, and navigate more easily without needing assistance from another human. 

Warsaw, Poland is currently implementing some of this technology. We're interested to see the results of their work. 

San Diego Center for the Blind can help you regain some of your independence if you are dealing with vision loss. Please contact us to learn more.

How Smart Cities Could Help The Visually Impaired

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Healthy Vision Care

An older woman sits in the park wearing sunglasses to promote healthy visionAs we age, changes occur in our bodies, including our eyes. While many issues that can crop up can't be prevented, there are some key care areas for your eyes that may help to keep them healthier as long as possible. 
  1. Replace makeup regularly, don't share eye makeup and avoid store samples
  2. Protect your eyes from the sun with quality sunglasses that protect against UVA and UVB rays
  3. Eat a healthy, balanced diet
  4. Prioritize sleep
If you require help with vision impairment or blindness, please contact SDCB. 

7 Everyday Tricks to Protect Your Eyesight As You Age

Posted in Eye Health and Preventing Disease | View Post
Contact Lens Care

Contact Lens Care Essential to Eye Health

A contact lens on a woman's outstretched handWith approximately 45 million Americans wearing contact lenses, it's scary to think that many haven't been told proper care information, or, at least, they haven't properly heard and absorbed it. 

One-third of contact wearers over the age of 18 don't remember ever being given care information for their eyes and contacts. Nearly 20% remember only very minimal information. Yet, the majority of care providers say they give the needed instructions on a regular basis. 

What are the important care tips everyone needs to know?
  1. Always wash and dry hands before handling contact lenses
  2. For reusable lenses, always wash and store as dictated by doctor or provider
  3. Store lenses in the proper case, wash case between uses and allow to dry
  4. Use only products to clean and store lenses that are recommended for that purpose
  5. Maintain regular appointments
San Diego Center for the Blind can help you regain some of your independence if you are dealing with vision loss. Please contact us to learn more.

Patients Aren't Hearing Contact Lens Care Information

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Diet and Age-Related Macular Degeneration 

Macular Degeneration causes linked to diet, healthy breakfast pictured here Previous studies have shown fruit and vegetables high in vitamins and other nutrients can be good for your eyes and your vision, just as they are good for most other parts of your body!

Now, a new study tackles the issue of whether some foods may be bad for your eyes; specifically, it tackles if food choices impact the progression of AMD.

It may come as no surprise that researchers found a correlation between diets that are high in red meat, fried foods, dairy and refined grains and the progression of AMD. They did not find a correlation between these foods and early stage AMD. From this, it appears that these foods may worsen progress, but don't have an impact on developing AMD initially. 

If you require help with vision impairment or blindness, please contact SDCB.

Food Choices May Influence Risk for Blindness

Posted in Eye Disease - Macular Degeneration | View Post

Artificial Intelligence in Medicine May Reduce Errors

Artificial intelligence in medicine may improve old tests like the eye chart pictured Diagnostic errors during routine eye exams may sit as high as 74%. The classic eye chart with letters on a wall has been used for decades and the results are up to the ophthalmologist to decipher and interpret leading to errors in both interpretation and diagnosis of problems. 

Artificial Intelligence may make this process less prone to errors. It is still in early stages of testing, but initial results are promising for a way forward that will reduce errors in diagnosis that may keep people from the treatment they need.

San Diego Center for the Blind can significantly assist you or a loved one living with blindness. Please contact us to learn more.

AI Model Drastically Reduces Eye Exam Errors

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Accessible Art Must be Felt 

Oil paints in orange pink and purple up close, the texture would be felt as Accessible ArtPaintings hanging in museums have long been "no touch" zones. There have been multiple efforts to recreate paintings for people who are visually impaired to experience.

Now, a new method uses optical coherence tomography (OCT) to recreate large portions of a painting in such a detailed manner that even the individual brush strokes are recreated. 

Because OCT was originally created for medical research, it is typically used for very small areas. The team recreating artworks has put together a method for scanning larger areas that is time consuming, but will have great application for museums who want to create more inclusive spaces.

If you require help with vision impairment or blindness, please contact SDCB. 

New Art Scanning Method Offers 3-D Image of Painting's Brush Strokes

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Macular Degeneration Research Yields Results

In 2017, a team in Europe found a transformative therapy for a young boy with serious skin damage to 80% of his body. Now scientists are building on the gene therapy that was used for that child to tackle macular degeneration. 

With 200 million people impacted by macular degeneration world wide, a breakthrough of this sort would make a significant difference. 

“We believe that near-infrared stimulation is an important step towards providing useful vision to blind patients so that they can regain their ability to read or see faces,” said Daniel Hillier, head of the junior research group Visual Circuits and Repair at DPZ. 

San Diego Center for the Blind can help you regain some of your independence. Please contact us to learn more.

Blindness Cure in Sight

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Mutated Gene in Fish Helpful for Homocystinuria

A blind cave fish has no eyes and may help researchers with HomocystinuriaThe Mexican Cavefish lives in caves with little oxygen and no light. With this habitat, the fish mutated from another species and has no eyes. In fact, with this mutation, blood flow is cut off to the eyes during embryonic development. 

Scientists have been studying the fish to learn more about the human disease homocystinuria which causes blindness and other problems for humans. Now that the specific gene mutation has been identified, scientists hope it will help in solving homocysinuria. 

Please contact SDCB if you are living with vision loss or blindness. We offer several innovative programs that can improve your quality of life.

Creepy Eyeless Fish Have Bizarre Genes That Could Someday Reverse an Incurable Human Disease

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Childhood Glaucoma Needs Early Intervention

A doctor examines a child's eyesSadly, millions of children worldwide face vision loss and blindness; in a large number of cases, babies are born without the gift of sight. While glaucoma is most commonly associated with adults, children are impacted by the condition as well. In such cases, treatment is vital because permanent vision loss can result from amblyopia and corneal scarring.

Early diagnosis is vital owing to the fact that children can lose vision quickly from glaucoma. However, if treatment is successfully performed early enough, vision loss can be averted.

If you are struggling with glaucoma, please contact San Diego Center for the Blind. We offer many programs that can help.

Pediatric glaucoma: types, tests and treatments

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Eye App Helps Early Detection 

A doctor examines a patient's eyeDiabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness on the planet. In fact, the condition is the number one cause of new blindness in working-age adults. Early detection is key to preventing further problems. According to the National Eye Institute, diabetic retinopathy affects between 40 and 45 percent of American diabetics.

Diabetic retinopathy impacts the lives of many people in developing countries, which is why researchers have been seeking inexpensive solutions for early diagnosis. Researchers found that a special adapter for built-in smartphone cameras to image the retina produced the most precise view.

"The best result in our test was achieved by an adapter with an additional lens that is attached to the smartphone," says Dr. Maximilian Wintergerst from the Department of Ophthalmology at the University Hospital Bonn. "It allowed almost 80 percent of eyes with any retinal changes to be detected, even in the early stages. Advanced damage could even be diagnosed 100 percent of the time."

San Diego Center for the Blind can significantly assist you or a loved one living with blindness. Please contact us to learn more.

Modified smartphone detects early signs of diabetes-induced blindness

Posted in Eye Disease - Diabetic Retinopathy | View Post

An Artificial Eye?

A team of researchers led by Leilei Gu at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology may have achieved what was once thought impossible—the creation of an artificial eye. The implications this feat could have for people living with vision loss or blindness could be profound.

The researchers created a hemispherical arrangement of light-sensitive nanowires, which imitate photoreceptor cells in the human retina. Gu's device can produce images at higher resolutions than the human eye, not only helping humans but leading to advancements in robotics. The findings are published in the journal Nature.

Please contact SDCB if you are living with vision loss or blindness. We offer several innovative programs that can improve your quality of life.

Artificial eye has the potential to outperform human vision

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Eye Test Apps Examined 

A smartphone with app buttons of all different colors on a turquoise backgroundScientists are looking for ways to detect eye disease in earlier stages in countries with limited access to health care. 

A recent study examined four options for using smartphones for the purpose of diagnosing eye disease from diabetes. One of the options included an extra lens attached to a phone that was more effective than the other possibilities. Though there is still work to be done in this field, it's encouraging to see progress being made. 

San Diego Center for the Blind can help you regain some of your independence. Please contact us to learn more.
Scientists Find New Way to Detect Eye Disease Caused By Diabetes

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Research, Vision Loss | View Post

Eye Strain Discussed

A cartoon of a man in front of a laptop wearing headphones With so many people using computers, phones and other screens much more than usual during this time, some people are feeling eye strain through out the day. Understandably, many are concerned about the long term impact of screen time and the associated eye strain. 

In a recent interview, a doctor discusses the impact of eye strain on your eyes, reassures that screen time alone will not damage your vision, and gives tips for relieving or minimizing eye strain. 
  • Take short breaks during which you look 20 feet in the distance for 20 seconds every 20 minutes to give your eyes a break
  • Use lubricating eye drops when your eyes feel tired or dry
Dark mode or blue light glasses may help with sleep cycles, though this doctor doesn't recommend them specifically for protecting your eyes. 

If you require help with vision impairment or blindness, please contact SDCB.

Dealing with Eye Strain

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A Blind Gamer Speaks Up

A sign stating Gamer ZoneSteve Saylor is known as the Blind Gamer. Years ago he started a YouTube channel on which he laughed about his bad computer game skills. After some discussions, he realized the problem wasn't his gaming skills, but the games themselves. 

His channel now features reviews and first impressions of games while also using the opportunity to tackle larger issues such as accessibility and ableism. 

Please contact SDCB if you are experiencing vision loss. We offer many programs and innovative services.

The Blind Gamer is Fighting for Accessibility in Video Games 

Posted in Living Blind, Visually Impaired | View Post

Vision Loss and Diabetes Can Go Hand-In-Hand

Vision Loss and Diabetes too often go togetherType-2 diabetes and vision loss often go hand-in-hand. It's a complicated disease that can be fatal if it isn't carefully monitored. A group of researchers wondered: "Could vision loss and the visual disturbances that diabetes patients experience be prevented?"

A 4-year study was conducted to assess the cumulative incidence of visual impairment and blindness and their determinants in well-characterized community-based people with type 2 diabetes. The researchers found that avoiding hypoglycemia may prevent vision loss among individuals with type 2 diabetes, preserving kidney function may prevent vision loss among individuals with type 2 diabetes, and smoking cessation may prevent vision loss among individuals with type 2 diabetes.

If vision loss or blindness is negatively affecting your life, please reach out to San Diego Center for the Blind. We can help!

Predicting Vision Loss in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes

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Stevie Wonder an Inspiration to All

Stevie Wonder on stage performingEvery American adult and many millions around the globe are familiar with the R&B sensation Stevie Wonder (Stevland Hardaway Judkins). Most people also know that he has been living with blindness since he was a baby, the result of being born premature and receiving too much oxygen in the incubator, which ultimately resulted in his retinas detaching. 

At the age of 70, he is still an inspiration to all of us, a man who never let blindness stand in his way. His unique style of music – combining soul, gospel, jazz, and R&B – influenced The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Prince, and Bob Marley. He once said:

"My mother always told me that I could do anything as long as I was careful."

If you are living with vision loss or blindness, the San Diego Center for the Blind can help you improve your life quality. Please contact us to learn more.

Soul legend Stevie Wonder at 70


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CDC Introduces Initiative During Healthy Vision Month

Healthy Vision Month promotes eye healthYour vision is of the utmost importance and preventing vision loss should be at the top of your priority list. May is Healthy Vision Month! Please schedule an appointment for an eye exam with your local ophthalmologist to make sure you're not at risk of problems.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Vision Health Initiative (VHI) offers several tips for steering clear of eye diseases down the road, including getting regular comprehensive dilated eye exams, learning your family history of eye diseases, eating healthy, and wearing sunglasses that block 99 percent-100 percent of ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation.

Please contact SDCB if you are experiencing vision loss. We offer many programs and innovative services.

CDC - Healthy Vision Month - Vision Health Initiative (VHI)

Posted in Advocacy and Events | View Post

AMD-Research Promising

AMD-Research looks at new possibilities for eye careAge-related macular degeneration impacts the lives of millions of people around the globe. Vision loss is caused by inflammation in the eye that leads to excessive growth of blood vessels in the retina. Current therapies to slow the process are anti-VEGF therapies such as Regeneron and Bayer's Eylea.

A new study shows that Sanofi and Regeneron's drug Dupixent could be useful in treating AMD. The research team contends that immune molecule interleukin-4 (IL-4) and its receptor—which Dupixent inhibits—may be promising for those living with macular degeneration. IL-4 is known to inhibit the formation of new blood vessels.

"Our results show that IL-4 plays a crucial role in excessive blood-vessel growth by recruiting bone marrow cells that aid this growth to the lesion in the eye," said Takashi Baba, the study's co-first author.

If you require help with vision impairment or blindness, then please contact SDCB.

Could Sanofi and Regeneron's Dupixent also treat age-related macular degeneration?


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