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Study Examines COVID-19's Impact on Visually-Impaired

photo of visually impaired-eyeballCOVID-19 has changed the lives of billions of people and stolen the lives of hundreds of thousands of individuals across the globe. A new survey could shine a light on how men, women, and children living with vision loss are being affected by the pandemic. The investigation is being conducted by the organization Fight for Sight. 

The online survey will take no longer than a few minutes, and the results will be published later in 2020. Sherine Krause, Chief Executive at Fight for Sight, says:

"This is a challenging time for everyone, but we know from anecdotal evidence that the current pandemic and lockdown is having a particularly harsh effect on those living with eye conditions and sight loss. We know that science ultimately has the answer to so many challenges – the power of science will help us stop the pandemic in the coming months, and we are working to ensure it will also help us stop sight loss and blindness in the future. We urgently need the input of those affected so that we can understand how they have been impacted by Covid-19 and campaign on their behalf. The findings will also help us to make the case for the importance of eye research now and in the future."

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

New survey gains broader insights into the personal impact of Covid-19 on people with eye conditions


Posted in Visually Impaired | View Post

Early Macular Degeneration Treatment Important

An image illustrating doctors looking at Early Macular Degeneration TreatmentAge-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a progressive eye disease that affects older men and women, specifically those above the age of 50. AMD is the common cause of irreversible vision loss among the elderly; the condition impacts the retina, the part of the eye responsible for central vision and sharpness.

Naturally, early detection of macular degeneration is critical; unfortunately, GlobalData epidemiologists found that less than half of AMD cases were diagnosed in 2019. This is not a novel phenomenon. A 2017 study published in JAMA Ophthalmology showed that a significant number of AMD cases go undetected and undiagnosed in the primary eye care setting.

Primary eye care doctors require better training on how to assess and diagnose AMD accurately.

If you or someone you love is having difficulties due to vision loss, then please reach out to SDCB to learn more about our programs and services.

More than half of age-related macular degeneration cases go undiagnosed in major pharmaceutical markets


Posted in Macular Degeneration | View Post

Google's Diabetic Blindness Detection Not Effective

Google is a global leader in innovation, and while they are most known for their search engine, the company creates several other devices to make our lives easier. In recent years Google has been working on and was able to create an artificial intelligence (AI) device to detect diabetic blindness early. The AI worked excellently in tests (90 percent accuracy in the lab); however, it proved to be less effective in the real world. 

The device was created to speed up diagnosis for diabetic blindness, from 10 weeks to 10 minutes. Unfortunately, the AI didn’t perform well at 11 clinics in Thailand. The theory behind the reduced efficacy is because the AI was trained on high-resolution images. It was discovered that the nurses in Thailand often had to scan dozens of patients quickly, and they did so in poor lighting conditions, which did not produce high-resolution images. The result was the AI rejecting over a fifth of the images. Google wrote that they still have to “study and incorporate real-life evaluations” before the AI can be widely deployed, adding:

“Since this research, we have begun to hold participatory design workshops with nurses, potential camera operators, and retinal specialists (the doctor who would receive referred patients from the system) at future deployment sites. Clinicians are designing new workflows that involve the system and are proactively identifying potential barriers to implementation.”

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

Google admits its diabetic blindness AI fell short in real-life tests


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New Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy

Millions of people around the globe contend with Type II diabetes, a condition that can result in a number of health complications, including vision loss and blindness. However, a new study indicates that a possible treatment showed anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects on the retina and optic nerve head. The findings, appearing in The American Journal of Pathology, showed promising results with type 2 diabetic retinopathy using animal models. The treatment

involves the use of Glucagon-Like Peptide Receptor Agonist Lixisenatide.


“Inflammation causes neurodegeneration as well as microvascular abnormalities in the retina,” explained lead investigator Jin A. Choi, Ph.D., Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, St. Vincent’s Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Republic of Korea. “Diabetic retinal neurodegeneration can occur before the onset of clinical diabetic retinal microvascular abnormalities. Therefore, therapeutics for neurodegeneration may provide a novel interventional strategy in the window period between the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and the onset of clinically manifested diabetic retinopathy.”

Please reach out to San Diego Center for the Blind if you are struggling with vision loss or blindness. We provide many innovative programs that can improve your life quality.

New Potential Therapeutic Candidate Found for Early Type 2 Diabetic Retinopathy


Posted in Eye Disease - Diabetic Retinopathy | View Post

Study on Retinopathy of Prematurity

An image of a baby who could benefit from new research into Retinopathy of Prematurity One of the challenges that premature babies face involves the eyes. A condition called retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is an eye disorder that is one of the leading causes of blindness in children. However, treatment can prevent blindness in premature babies. 

A study conducted by the Pediatric Eye Disease Investigator Group (PEDIG) and supported by the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health, showed that a lower dose of a drug used to treat ROP could be more effective in preventing infant blindness. The drug is called Avastin (bevacizumab). The findings were published in JAMA Ophthalmology. 

"In the current study, we found that 0.004 mg of Avastin – a dose that's merely 0.6% of the dose used in the 2011 study of Avastin for ROP – may be the lower limit to be effective for most infants with ROP," said the new study's protocol chair, David Wallace, M.D., MPH, chair of ophthalmology at the Indiana University School of Medicine. The findings set the stage for a randomized controlled trial comparing long-term effects of low-dose Avastin with laser therapy for treating ROP."

SDCB can help Southern Californians living with blindness lead more independent lives; please contact us to learn more.

Very low-dose Avastin effective for preventing blindness in preterm infants


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Eye Disease Research on Leaky Vessels

A new study shows why people living with an eye disease have leaky vessels and harmful swelling in their eyes. The findings could be a stepping-stone to the discovery of more effective treatments for various types of eye disease, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy. The researchers report that eye conditions that result in leaky blood vessels result in harmful swelling and progressive vision loss.

"Our findings provide an answer to the questions on how blood vessels leak and show that leakage can be stopped without killing the blood vessels," concludes senior author Lena Claesson-Welsh, Professor at the Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology, Uppsala University. "Using this insight, we've begun testing drugs that could selectively block this leak-inducing step in the process. If this approach is effective, it could lead to new treatments that stop leaking without the harmful side effects of existing drugs."

San Diego Center for the Blind can assist you or a loved one with eye disease. Please contact us to learn more about the services we offer.

Scientists identify cause of leakiness in eye diseases

Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post

Prevention of Common Eye Diseases

Sadly, not every eye disease can be prevented, and over 150 million Americans are living with a form of correctable vision loss, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. However, you can take actions today that can protect your vision and avoid complications down the road.

For instance, you can delay the development of cataracts if you buy 100 percent UV-blocking sunglasses. They can stave off retinal damage. An unhealthy diet and smoking tobacco can also negatively impact your vision. Researchers indicate that people whose diets include higher levels of vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are less likely to develop AMD. The AAO reports that smoking is directly linked to age-related macular degeneration.

If you or a loved one require assistance for vision loss, then please contact SDCB to learn more about our programs and services.

Top Tips to Prevent Vision Loss


Posted in Eye Health and Preventing Disease | View Post

New Medications For Glaucoma?

A graphic with glaucoma written at the centerGlaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in America. The condition is caused by ocular hypertension; it damages the optic nerve resulting in vision loss. There is no known cure, but there are pharmacologic therapies and some invasive. One drug, latanoprost, is a standard first-line treatment for those newly diagnosed with glaucoma. However, the first line of defense does not mean it is the most effective treatment necessarily. 

Two new classes of drugs approved by the FDA have been introduced for the treatment of open-angle glaucoma—latanoprostene bunod and netarsudil. Using them in conjunction with previous medications could improve patient outcomes.

"What is unique about the netarsudil/latanoprost combination is this is really one of the first times we actually had a medicine go up against latanoprost alone," said Joseph F. Panarelli, MD, associate professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at NYU Langone Medical Center. "Latanoprost is one of our bigger guns out there, so it is encouraging to see that we have these new medicines, and it's nice to see data that does support good efficacy with these different agents."

San Diego Center for the Blind offers several innovative vision rehabilitation services. Please contact us to learn more.

Pharmacologic treatment an option for open-angle glaucoma


Posted in Eye Disease - Glaucoma | View Post

Loss of an Inspirational Blind Teacher

An image of the blind teacher who died of COVID astride a camelBrian R. Miller, 52, was born with defective retinas and could barely see large text right in front of his face. Nevertheless, he was one of the first blind students to sit in classrooms with sighted students in California in the 1970s and 1980s.

Miller's blindness led him to dedicate his life to helping other students with disabilities. After high school, he went on to a career with the U.S. Education Department's Rehabilitation Services Administration to help others like him. Sadly, his life was cut short due to complications related to COVID-19.

Miller started exhibiting symptoms in mid-March, after returning from a trip to Jordan; in his life, he visited 45 states and 65 countries. He entered the hospital on March 28th, was put on a ventilator the next day, and died after he began bleeding internally and suffered organ failure.

"Brian believed strongly in the capacity of individuals with disabilities to engage in all aspects of life," Carol Dobak wrote in a message to department staff, Miller's direct supervisor, "and his own life was a reflection of this philosophy."

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

Brian Miller, whose blindness inspired a career helping disabled students, dies of COVID-19


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Cataract Surgery Required For Savannah Guthrie

A close up of Savannah Guthrie who must have cataract surgery A short time ago, we wrote to you about an unfortunate accident involving a toy train and TODAY's Savannah Guthrie resulting in vision loss. Even though she had surgery to repair the damage, sadly, her vision is still "not great." 

While playing with her three-year-old son Charlie, the youngster accidentally hit his mother in the eye, which left a tear in her retina. Since her eyesight has not improved, she will have to have more operations, including cataract surgery. 

"When you have this retinal detachment, most people will end up developing cataracts, obviously at a much younger age than would normally be expected," she explained. "When you have cataracts, you get blurry spots and you notice it more and more. So I do."

Please contact San Diego Center for the Blind if you'd like to learn more about our visual rehabilitation programs and services.

Savannah Guthrie will need more surgery to fix eyesight after tear in her retina


Posted in Blind and Vision Impaired Famous | View Post

Louis Braille Prize Announced

Louis Braille prize award recipients picturedAmid the coronavirus pandemic it's helpful to receive some uplifting news from time to time. Lisa Dalton was honored this month with the Louis Braille Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation. She created reusable braille labels ("CanDo" labels) because her former boyfriend is blind. Dalton wanted to help him find things in food cabinets. Lisa founded Candoables, a company that uses 3-D printers to make Braille "CanDo" labels. 

"CanDo labels are already having an impact on the blind and visually impaired community," Brian Mac Donald, president of the National Braille Press, said in the release. "These reusable labels will help significantly in keeping areas such as the pantry or refrigerator organized."

Do you require assistance for vision loss or blindness? Please contact SDCB to learn about the ways we can help.

Queen Creek resident wins National Braille Press' Touch of Genius Award'


Posted in Braille | View Post

Google Launches Virtual Braille Keyboard for Android

An illustration of the new Android Braille KeyboardAt least 2.2 billion people globally have a vision impairment or blindness, reports the World Health Organization (WHO). In response to those staggering numbers, the tech giant Google is launching a virtual braille keyboard for Android smartphones, which will help those who are living with low vision or blindness. Such individuals will be able to type without any additional hardware. 

Google worked together with braille developers and users to design a keyboard that can be used anywhere—social media, text messaging, and email apps. Here's how it works: the keyboard uses a standard 6-key layout, and each key represents one of 6 braille dots, which, when tapped, make any letter or symbol. A user will tap dot 1 to type the letter A, tap dots 1 and 2 to type the letter B, tap dots 1 and 4 to type the letter C, tap dots 1, 4, and 5 to type the letter D, and so on.

"Today, braille displays make typing accessible on most phones and computers through a physical braille keyboard. But it can be time-consuming to connect an external device each time you want to type something quickly on your phone," wrote Android Accessibility product manager Brian Kemler in a blog post. "As part of our mission to make the world's information universally accessible, we hope this keyboard can broadly expand braille literacy and exposure among blind and low vision people."

San Diego Center for the Blind assists Southern Californians in regaining some independence. Please contact SDCB to learn more.

Google launches braille keyboard for Android devices


Posted in Accessibility, Braille | View Post

Andrea Bocelli Performed Easter Sunday

Andrea Bocelli Performs on Easter Sunday for online viewing during the pandemicThe beloved Italian singer, Andrea Bocelli, performed in Milan, Italy, on Easter Sunday. The concert was performed via live stream from the Duomo, the cathedral of Milan. Many of you may know that Bocelli lives with blindness due to a football accident. Despite his vision loss, he has one of the most beautiful voices on the planet.

"I believe in the strength of praying together; I believe in the Christian Easter, a universal symbol of rebirth that everyone – whether they are believers or not – truly needs right now. Thanks to music, streamed live, bringing together millions of clasped hands everywhere in the world, we will hug this wounded Earth's pulsing heart, this wonderful international forge…"


If you are facing challenges related to vision loss or blindness, then we invite you to reach out to SDCB to learn more about our programs and services.

Andrea Bocelli: WATCH tenor's moving Music For Hope Easter concert from Milan in FULL


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iPhone Makes Blind Photography Easier

iPhone wants to make blind photography easier and illustrates how it will work in this sketchTaking photographs is a part of life; they are how we preserve our memories. However, for people living with vision loss and blindness, their conditions make snapping pictures a real challenge. Apple plans to make it easier for the visually impaired to take photos.

"[The iPhone may provide] an audible description of the scene," says the patent. "[The] audible description includes information that corresponds to the plurality of objects as a whole (e.g., 'Two people in the lower right corner of the screen,' or 'Two faces near the camera')."

Please reach out to SDCB if you require assistance with vision loss or blindness. We offer many programs that can help.

Future iPhone could talk vision impaired through taking a good photo


Posted in Assistive Technology | View Post

Warning: Eyes are Portals for Coronavirus Transmission

A man has his eyes checked - eyes can be involved in coronavirus transmissionCOVID-19 – the coronavirus quickly spreading around the world – has infected 1,288,372 people and taken 70,482 lives. It's essential that you understand the ways you can contract the potentially deadly virus. Dr. Bruce Miller, an ophthalmologist, wants men and women to be aware that the eyes can be doorways for the pathogen. It's vital to keep your fingers away from your eyes. If you wear contacts, then start using your eyeglasses again.

"A small percentage of people who test positive for the coronavirus has an associated pink eye or conjunctivitis," Miller says. He adds that, "your doctors are here either at home or via telemedicine, to answer your questions and to get you through this."

San Diego Center for the Blind offers vision rehabilitation services. Please reach out to learn how we can help you or a loved one.

Coronavirus and your eyes: An ophthalmologist shares 5 things you need to know


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Eye Health Month for Women

A close up of a woman's eye for women's eye health monthApril is Women's Eye Health and Safety Month! Did you know that women have higher rates of eye diseases and eye conditions than men? In order to raise awareness, Prevent Blindness – the nation's oldest non-profit eye health organization – declared the month of April as a time to educate women about how they can protect their vision. Women have higher rates of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, cataract, refractive error, and dry eye.

"Today, obviously there are significant challenges in maintaining overall health," said Jeff Todd, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness. "We want to remind women of all ages that there are many ways to protect the gift of sight today so that it can be enjoyed for many years to come."

If your vision is compromised due to an eye condition, then SDCB can be of assistance. Please contact our organization to learn more about the programs and services we offer.

Prevent Blindness Declares April as Women's Eye Health and Safety Month


Posted in Advocacy and Events | View Post

Helen Keller Speech Advocated for Braille

An image of a Helen Keller speech in front of a crowdHellen Keller is a name that rings out in the blind community and beyond. We all learned about her remarkable feats in elementary school. Did you know that she fought hard to get Braille books into the hands of adults? She spoke to congress advocating for federally funded programs to help achieve her goal.

"Books are the eyes of the blind," Helen Keller told lawmakers.

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

Helen Keller's Powerful Pitch for Braille Books


Posted in Braille | View Post

Glasses Vs. Contacts During Pandemic

The Coronavirus impacts safety of glasses vs contactsThe COVID-19 pandemic is changing everyone's life in a myriad of ways. Those living with low vision or vision loss can benefit from taking out their contacts and putting their glasses back on. Doing so can help prevent the spread of the virus. The American Academy of Ophthalmology says it can help you stop touching your face.

"You rub your eyes, then rub your face, scratch your face, put your fingers in your mouth, put your fingers in your nose," said Dr. Thomas Steinemann, a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. "Some people are not very hygienic and may have forgotten to first wash their hands."

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

Do you wear contact lenses? You should switch to glasses to stop spreading the virus


Posted in Low Vision | View Post

Blind soprano proves no barriers to career

A man and blind soprano sing to each other on stageCristina Jones, a soprano singer and student at Cal State Fullerton is living with blindness. However, she doesn't let being blind stand in her way. How does one living with blindness manage on the stage without losing their place?

"If I got disoriented one of my cast mates might brush their foot on the floor or make some kind of sound to give me a beacon to go off of," Jones said. "Blindness was not a barrier. They would just say, let's figure out how to do this safely."

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

Blindness is no barrier for soprano Cristina Jones


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New Phonetics For Blind Singers

Blind Singers now learn enunciation with braille phoneticsEarlier in the week, we wrote about Louis Braille and how he made adaptations for music and mathematics by adding extra symbols. Now, a professor at Vanderbilt University is helping blind aspiring classical singers pronounce lyrics. Cherie Montgomery, a voice professor, has created a new braille phonetic system.

Lacking the resources to teach a student lyric diction, Montgomery found a solution. She published a textbook, "Singer's Diction for Braille Readers," which includes a phonetic chart with visual and tactile symbols.

"[With the chart,] teachers can point to a symbol and say this is the sound you're making [and] I would like to hear for example this sound..." she said.

Please contact SDCB if you are struggling with vision loss and would like to have more independence.

"Professor develops braille symbols to help blind classical singers learn proper enunciation"

Posted in Braille | View Post

New Contacts for Color Blindness

blindnessA new type of contact lens could help people living with color blindness. Researchers say that they could help people with a form of red-green color blindness. The contact lenses restore lost color contrast. The research was published in The Optical Society journal Optics Letters.

"Glasses based on this correction concept are commercially available, however, they are significantly bulkier than contact lenses," said Sharon Karepov, a member of the research team, said. "Because the proposed optical element is ultrathin and can be embedded into any rigid contact lens, both deuteranomaly and other vision disorders such as refractive errors can be treated within a single contact lens."

Contact SDCB if you are struggling with vision loss, we have several programs that can help.

"These high-tech contacts may help correct color blindness"

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The Wonders of Braille
BrailleLouis Braille invented a tactile reading method for blind people in 1829. It enabled people who are living with blindness to read and write. Using Captain Charles Barbier’s “night writing” system, Braille made simplifications to Barbier’s 12 dot system. He reduced it to six dots.

Louis Braille’s six dot method for tactile reading and writing should not be confused with a language; it’s instead a code for reading and writing in every language. He even made adaptations for music and mathematics by merely adding extra symbols.

We invite you to contact SDCB if you are experiencing vision loss.

“Braille music notation: what does it look like, how does it work and who invented it?”

Posted in Braille | View Post
Protecting Against Vision Loss
vision lossRegular eye exams can prevent you from experiencing vision loss. During Save Your Vision Month, we would like to encourage you to prioritize your eye health. Naturally, the American Optometric Association would like you to do the same. Annual eye exams are essential!

“A lot of people view vision as very important, and would be very unhappy if they lost any part of their vision, but yet they don’t require much maintenance so therefore it doesn’t enter our thought process but it is an extremely valuable tool that we need to start taking better care of, and that is why we recommend those yearly eye exams for those things,” says Dr. Bill Holec, an Optometry Specialist. “We are always better catching things at an early stage rather than a later stage.”

Please reach out to SDCB if you require assistance with vision loss.

“March is Save Your Vision Month”

Posted in Vision Loss | View Post
Older Americans at Significant Risk of Vision Loss
vision lossThe number of older Americans at high risk for vision loss rose from 65 million to 93 million between 2002 and 2017, according to federal data. This news is concerning and should prompt more older people to get regular eye tests. The research appearing in JAMA Ophthalmology shows that those at significant risk of losing their sight include people with diabetes and anyone with eye or vision problems.

"The number of adults at high risk for vision loss is high and may continue to increase in the coming years with the increasing population of adults over 65 years and prevalence of diabetes," said study lead author Sharon Saydah, a senior scientist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Please reach out to San Diego Center for the Blind if your life is impacted by vision loss.

"Rising Number of Older Americans at Risk of Vision Loss"

Posted in Vision Loss | View Post
Changes to our services due to Coronavirus
Concerns for the Coronavirus
Governmental guidance, epidemiologic evidence, and all our concerns regarding COVID-19 have registered with the leadership at the San Diego Center for the Blind. In order to ensure the safety and health of our clients, staff, volunteers and the general public SDCB has decided upon the current actions during this time.
All classes and other services to students and community members will cease today, Monday, March 16 2020. Face-to-face services will not resume until early April.  

We urge you to follow official advice and to remain safe and well. This includes proper cleansing of your hands, coughing and sneezing protocol and using common sense for social distancing.

Please call for updated information or questions regarding Classes, the Store and Low Vision Clinic.
San Diego 619-583-1542
Vista  760-758-5956
Low Vision Store 619-583-1542 x161
Low Vision Clinic 619-255-9741
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Young Girl Escapes Vision Loss
vision lossIn January, we wrote about Jade DeLucia, a four-year-old girl in Iowa who experienced vision loss after contracting the flu. We are happy to report that Jade has regained her eyesight. Her mother, Courtney Frey, said in an update on Facebook recently:

"Jade's sight has fully returned! The miracles continue for her!!! She is not the great independent conversationalist who knows her numbers and letters, but we are continuing to believe and hope in her full recovery."

Please contact SDCB if you are experiencing vision loss and would like help.

"4-year-old who lost her vision after rare complication from the flu regains her eyesight"

Posted in Vision Loss | View Post
Millions of Americans at risk for Vision Loss
vision lossA new study published by JAMA Ophthalmology shows that a growing number of Americans are at exceptional risk for vision loss. A team of researchers from the U.S. CDC estimates that 93 million adults across the country were at increased risk for eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma.

"Among adults at high risk for vision loss, just over one half reported receiving eye care," the authors wrote. "Although the percentage has increased over the past 15 years, the increase has been modest, and disparities by race/ethnicity, poverty level, health insurance status, and U.S. region of residence remain."

Please contact San Diego Center for the Blind if you are struggling with vision loss.

"93M Americans at high risk for vision loss, CDC estimates"

Posted in Eye Health and Preventing Disease | View Post
Learning to Live With Blindness
blindnessAdjusting to life with blindness is not easy, and people need assistance along the way. Fortunately, there are many organizations like San Diego Center for the Blind across the country, helping countless individuals learn new skills. The Northern Nevada Center for Independent Living, for instance, is teaching people Braille and how to travel independently.

"It's to help people talk about who recently lost their vision," said Mark Tadder, blindness advocacy and resource officer. "So, they can talk to other folks who [have] been through or going through it now [and] come to grips with it and prepare for the future."

Please reach out to SDCB for assistance with blindness or vision loss.

"Peer support group available for those adjusting to blindness"

Posted in Blindness and Vision Impairment | View Post
Rare Eye Disorder Causes Blindness
blindnessTwo siblings from Arkansas are contending with a rare eye disorder that causes blindness. However, Caroline and Cole Carper will not let Congenital Amaurosis — a mutation that affects the retina of the eye and causes visual impairment early in life — hold them back in life. They both love to ski and swim.

"I mean, I think that blind people can do any sport," Cole said. "It just has to be adapted in a way that they can do it. I consider myself just a normal skier."

Please contact SDCB if you require assistance with vision loss. We offer several programs that can help.

"Arkansas siblings with eye disorder won't let blindness define how they see themselves"

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Adapting to Life with Vision Loss
vision lossRyan Boudwin was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a rare, genetic eye disease that leads to vision loss and blindness. The condition is only found in one of every 3,500 people. His vision isn't completely gone yet, but he is taking preemptive measures to prepare himself for living with blindness.

Boudwin is learning Braille and how to walk with a white cane because he is no longer able to drive safely. He is staying optimistic, thankfully.

"Being blind is going to be inconvenient but it doesn't have to be a crippling disability that controls your life," Boudwin said.

If you would like to learn more about SDCB programs and services, then please contact us at your earliest convenience.

"New normal: losing your vision"

Posted in Adapting and Emotions After Vision Loss | View Post
Scientists Study Piano Player with Blindness
blindnessImprovisational musician, Matthew Whitaker, may be living with blindness; however, a neuroscientist has discovered that Whitaker's visual cortex goes into overdrive when he plays the piano. The prodigy jazz pianist has lived with blindness since the age of 11. Whitaker lost his vision due to retinopathy of prematurity, a disease that can lead to blindness.

Whitaker's talents caught the attention of Dr. Charles Limb, a surgeon and neuroscientist. Dr. Limb uses MRI brain scans to find out how exceptionally creative people like Whitaker can shine.

"I think anytime somebody watches Matthew play piano the first thing that you think is, 'How does he do that?' Except rather than just wondering I'm actually trying to answer the question," Limb said.

SDCB offers several programs and services for men and women living with blindness and vision loss. Please contact us to learn more.

"Meet the blind piano player who's so good, scientists are studying him"

Posted in Blindness | View Post
A Prom Proposal Made in Braille
BrailleUsing Hershey's Kisses and poster board, Jake Schwartz asked his girlfriend to prom in Braille. Jake, a high school junior, made his proposal to Paige Drury in Braille; the two have been dating since the ninth grade. Paige is blind, so it was fitting for Schwartz to ask her to prom in Braille.

"I thought the promposal was really awesome," said Drury. "Since it's only February, I really wasn't expecting it to happen at all, which made it even better. It makes me feel so happy that someone cares about me enough to make the moment as special as possible."

If you are blind or struggling with vision loss, then please reach out to SDCB for help.

"See this teen's sweet braille promposal for girlfriend who is blind"

Posted in Braille | View Post
Preventing Blindness from Rare Eye Diseases
blindnessDid you know that Rare Disease Day is tomorrow, February 29, 2020. Naturally, many rare diseases that affect the eye can lead to blindness and vision loss. In honor of the observance, Prevent Blindness is offering free resources and fact sheets to help save sight from inflammatory eye diseases and conditions. The organization is focusing on two rare eye diseases: Uveitis and Keratitis.

Uveitis is a group of inflammatory diseases that destroys eye tissues in the uvea (the middle layer of the eye that contains most blood vessels), according to the National Eye Institute. Keratitis is inflammation of the cornea—the transparent, protective outer layer of the eye.

If you are living with vision loss or blindness, SDCB can help. Please contact us to learn more.

"Prevent Blindness Offers New Educational Resources on Uveitis and Keratitis for Rare Disease Day"

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Research Breakthrough for Leading Cause of Blindness
blindnessA team of researchers from Queen Mary University of London found a new protein linked to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The findings could help with diagnosing and treating the disease. AMD impacts over 1.5 million people in the UK and is one of the leading causes of blindness globally.

"This study really is a step-change in our understanding of how complement activation drives this major blinding disease," said Professor Simon Clark, a specialist in the regulation of the complement system in health and disease at the University of Manchester. "Up until now, the role played by FHR proteins in disease has only ever been inferred. But now we show a direct link and, more excitingly, become a tangible step closer to identifying a group of potential therapeutic targets to treat this debilitating disease."

San Diego Center for the Blind can help you or a loved one regain some independence. Please contact us to learn more about our programs.

"International team delivers research breakthrough for leading cause of blindness"

Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post
Stroke and TBI Blindness
blindnessA new study shows that visual rehabilitation is useful for patients who have suffered vision loss or blindness due to strokes or traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Researchers at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine found the NeuroEyeCoach visual rehabilitation therapy improved vision in over 80 percent of patients who experienced a stroke or TBI.

"Up to recently, there was very little treatment available to restore vision loss in this population," said Jose Romano, Chief of the Stroke Division at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, noting that while stroke and TBI patients regain some vision on their own, but "very few regain it completely."

Please contact SDCB if you are struggling with vision loss or blindness in California. We offer many programs and services that can improve your quality of life.

"Vision rehab treatment effective for stroke and injury related blindness"

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Zebrafish Could Cure Blindness in the Future
blindnessAge-related macular degeneration affects 11 million people in the U.S., and it is one of the leading causes of blindness. However, new research suggests that zebrafish can help scientists cure blindness. The fish have the ability to regenerate their retinas, which could help researchers do the same for humans.

"Zebrafish, unlike mammals, are able to regenerate parts of their retina if they become injured," Vanderbilt Vision Research Center director Dr. David Calkins said.

We invite you to contact SDCB if you are struggling with vision loss to learn more about our programs and services.

“Amazing zebrafish cure human blindness: Medicine's next big thing?”

Posted in Eye Disease - Macular Degeneration | View Post
Gene Therapy for Vision Loss
vision lossPatients with a rare inherited eye disorder that causes vision loss and blindness are being treated with a new form of gene therapy. Luxturna (voretigene neparvovec) is a drug from Novartis that carries a steep price—£600,000. However, NHS England has negotiated a lower price with the manufacturer.

The therapy is for patients who have retinal dystrophy; it’s the result of inheriting a faulty copy of the RPE65 gene. The Luturna injection can stop disease progression and may even improve vision.

If you require assistance with vision loss, then please contact SDCB to learn more about our programs.

“Gene therapy to halt rare form of sight loss”

Posted in Vision Loss | View Post
Helping Visually Impaired People Read
visually impairedVisually impaired men and women benefit from the assistance of sighted people. The Braille Association of Mid-Florida is assisting individuals in accessing novels in Braille, whether they live in Florida or Sweden. Volunteers associated with the Braille Association of Mid-Florida transcribe books, classroom handouts, and worksheets into Braille for the visually impaired.

“When you take braille out of the picture for a blind individual, you take away literacy,” said Marianne Witengier, a former teacher of visually impaired students in Orange County, Florida, and president of the Braille Association of Mid-Florida. “So we’re focused so that every child who needs Braille has the opportunity. That’s our focus.”

Please reach out to the San Diego Center for the blind if you are visually impaired or experiencing vision loss. We offer several innovative programs that can improve your quality of life.

“When visually impaired students have the need to read, these volunteers are there to help”

Posted in Visually Impaired | View Post
Drug Could Prevent Blindness
blindnessThyroid eye disease is a condition that can cause blindness. Inflammation in the back of the eye makes them bulge and may also squeeze the optic nerve, causing blindness, according to Dr. Raymond Douglas, a professor of surgery in the division of ophthalmology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Douglas is the lead author of a study that involves a new drug that may prevent thyroid eye disease for causing blindness. Teprotumumab is still awaiting FDA approval.

"Teprotumumab was extraordinarily effective. We hope that people with thyroid eye disease won't have to suffer as they have in the past. With treatment, they're not going to be blind. They're not going to be disfigured. They can even watch their kids playing soccer when it's windy," Douglas explained.

SDCB can help improve your quality of life if you are living with blindness or vision loss. Please reach out to learn more about our innovative services.

"New Drug Could Stop Thyroid Eye Disease Blindness”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Blindness Would Not Stand in the Way of Marriage
blindnessZaheer Ahmad Zindani is an Afghan poet who was hit by a Taliban roadside bomb while riding in a bus when he was 17. His sister died as a result of her injuries; Zindani was left living in blindness. However, Zindani's mother was determined not to let blindness stand in the way of marriage. Her goal was not easy to accomplish.

"They would all say, 'We would happily agree if he hadn't been blind,'" Mr. Zindani recalled. "My mother would say, 'His eyes will be fixed.' They would say, 'Come back when they are fixed.'"

If you need assistance with vision loss, then please contact SDCB to learn more about our programs.

"His Mother Worked to Find Him Love Despite War, Blindness and Loss"

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Adding Braille to Transit Locations
BrailleBraille is essential to men and women living with vision loss or blindness. The raised dot allows people to read books and navigate through the world. In Canada, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) is adding braille to ten transit locations closely spaced out as part of a new trial.

"The purpose of these signs is to assist people with low or no vision to locate and wait at the appropriate transit stop in locations where there are two transit stop poles within close proximity of each other (around a bus length apart) along a particular block," reads a description of the project on the TTC's website. "The addition of these signs will help to distinguish which routes board at the individual stops, combined with the verification of external stop announcements."

San Diego Center for the Blind offers programs that can help improve your life quality. Please reach out to us to learn more.

"TTC to install Braille transit signs at select stops"

Posted in Braille | View Post
WVU Spreads Awareness About a Leading Cause of Blindness
blindnessDid you know that diabetic retinopathy is a primary cause of blindness for people ages 20 to 65 in America? Doctors at the West Virginia Practice-Based Research Network's Sight Outreach Program are working hard to spread awareness about the condition and helping detect it in patients early.

"Patients with diabetes are supposed to get an eye evaluation annually, however, in West Virginia only about 60 percent received eye care in the past year," Dr. William Lewis, family medicine physician at Harpers Ferry Family Medicine and WVPBRN co-director, said in the release. "This IRIS program removes barriers to access that often prevent people from getting these exams and can help us bring the best care possible to persons with diabetes."

SDCB offers several innovative programs for people living with blindness or vision loss. Please contact us to learn more about our services.

"WVU doctors making impact on blindness, diabetes"

Posted in Eye Disease - Diabetic Retinopathy | View Post
Succeeding Despite Blindness
blindnessBlindness did not stop Charles King from becoming the oldest blind powerlifter in the nation. In the wake of his blindness, King became very depressed and turned to drugs and alcohol to cope. His story isn't unique, but what King was able to accomplish is nothing short of remarkable. The VA helped him learn to cope, and he was able to put his life back together.

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

"This record-breaking powerlifter overcame blindness and homelessness"

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Making Memes Accessible to the Blind
blindSighted people are all too familiar with memes; the internet is littered with the viral posts. From funny to disturbing, memes connect us with one another in a myriad of ways. However, blind people are still not able to enjoy memes. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), for the 2.2 billion people worldwide who report visual impairments or blindness, memes are one of the thousands of images on the internet that are inaccessible.

"There's a tendency in accessibility-related fields for people to focus on making the workplace accessible, and making transportation accessible, because those are daily needs," says Cole Gleason, a Ph.D. candidate at Carnegie Mellon University and the co-author of Making Memes Accessible. "And people usually leave the recreational or silly or leisure activities to the later stages of accessibility, so humor was definitely not high on people's priority lists."

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

"'I Wish We Could Connect on This Level.' Memes Still Aren't Accessible to People Who Are Blind. What's Being Done About It?"

Posted in Blind | View Post
Mobile Devices Help People Living With Vision Loss
vision lossDevices like iPads and smartphones are assisting millions of people who are living with vision loss. There exist free and paid mobile apps such as Aira and Microsoft's Seeing AI. These applications enable individuals with vision loss to navigate and identify various people and objects. Assistive technology is improving people's quality of life, quality at home and around town.

"Access to so many options has provided me with a sense of choice and freedom that I felt I had lost. It's empowering," says Chris Lockley.

If you are living with vision loss, then please contact SDCB for assistance. We offer many innovative programs.

“Assistive Technology Lab to Empower Individuals with Vision Loss”

Posted in Vision Loss | View Post
AI Could Help Doctors Treat Vision Loss
vision lossScientists are using artificial intelligence with the hopes of being able to assist doctors in choosing the ideal treatment for patients with vision loss, specifically individuals who have diabetic macular edema. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of vision loss among adults in the United States and beyond. The researchers are using AI to analyze retinal images.

"Our approach could potentially be used in eye clinics to prevent unnecessary and costly trial-and-error treatments and thus alleviate a substantial treatment burden for patients," said research team leader Sina Farsiu from Duke University. "The algorithm could also be adapted to predict therapy response for many other eye diseases, including neovascular age-related macular degeneration."

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

"Artificial intelligence predicts treatment outcome for diabetes-related vision loss"

Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post
Playing Sports While Living With Blindness
blindnessMost people cannot imagine what it’s like to play a sport with vision loss or blindness, but thousands of individuals manage remarkable feats on the field or ice. Playing sports while living with blindness takes dedication and determination.

Kurt Sloop is a goalball athlete and a board member of the Metro Washington Association of Blind Athletes. Charlie Mitchell is a hockey player with the Washington Blind Hockey Club and a member of the USA Blind Hockey team. The two athletes sat down for an interview to talk about how people who are blind or visually impaired can get involved with sports.

Please contact SDCB to learn more about our vision rehabilitation programs. We can help you improve your life quality.

“From Blind Hockey To Goalball: Playing Sports With Vision Loss”

Posted in Blind Athlete | View Post
Teenager Accomplishes Much Despite Blindness
blindnessBlindness is an obstacle to be sure, but it does not have to stop people from achieving remarkable feats. Fifteen-year-old Rylea Fields may have accomplished more than much older people. Fields was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa. Even though she has lost her vision, she is a cheerleader and a gymnast. What's more, she helps other young people who are living with disabilities.

"I think we're all given talents and things we're good at and we should share those things with others," Rylea added. "That's why we're here. If we can make life better for others, put a smile on someone's face and keep the fairytale alive for someone, it's what we should do."

SDCB helps people living with vision loss and blindness. Our programs and services can significantly improve your quality of life.

"Blindness didn't stop Mansfield Legacy sophomore from cheer, gymnastics, helping others"

Posted in Blind and Vision Impaired Heroes Stories | View Post
Flu Causes Blindness
blindnessFlu vaccinations can stave off blindness. A four-year-old girl in Iowa lost her vision recently after contracting the flu. Jade DeLucia contracted the flu a few days before Christmas and spent nearly two weeks in the intensive care unit. The young girl almost died, so her parents now have a message they would like to share with the world. The message is: Get your children vaccinated.

"If I can stop one child from getting sick, that's what I want to do," said Amanda Phillips, Jade's mother. "It's terrible to see your child suffer like this."

Are you living with vision loss or blindness? If so, please contact SDCB to learn more about our programs and services.

"Flu leaves a 4-year-old girl blind in Iowa"

Posted in Eye Health and Preventing Disease | View Post
Using Computers While Living With Blindness
blindnessTwo blind women living with blindness provide computer training and job services to people with disabilities at a nonprofit called Donka. Ann Byrne and Kimberly Delaney in the suburbs of Chicago are helping others succeed. Byrne lost her vision from congenital glaucoma. Delaney lost all vision in one eye from injuries sustained during a Vietnam War massacre; she went completely blind because of leukemia, which may be the result of Agent Orange exposure.

"Nobody knows your potential," Byrne says. "You have to work for it. Here at Donka, we give our students tools."

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

"Blindness, disabilities no obstacle to computer use at Wheaton nonprofit"

Posted in Blindness | View Post
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