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Induction Stovetop for Blind People

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

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

"THIS INDUCTION STOVETOP USES VOICE COMMANDS + HAPTIC FEEDBACK TO MAKE COOKING SAFER FOR THE BLIND!"



Posted in Assistive Technology | View Post

Blind Swimmer Withdrew from Paralympics

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

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

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

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



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

Wearable Computer Vision Device for Blind People

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

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

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

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



Posted in Assistive Technology | View Post

Blind People Can Overcome Obstacles With Help

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

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

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

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

“Blindness isn’t an obstacle to success”



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

Accessibility for Visually Impaired and Blind People

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

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

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

"Announcing Sight Tech Global 2021"



Posted in Accessibility | View Post

Blind Woman Rides Coast-to-Coast

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

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

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

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

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



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

Young Man is Not Deterred by Blindness

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

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

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

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

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



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

The Relationship Between Poverty and Blindness

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

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

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

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



Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired | View Post

Invention Helps Blind People Detect Light

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

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

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

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

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



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

USA Qualifies For The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games

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

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

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

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

USA Qualifies For The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games



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

Famous Blind and Visually Impaired Athletes

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

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

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

Famous Blind and Visually Impaired Athletes



Posted in Blind Athlete, Blind and Vision Impaired - Famous, Blind and Vision Impaired - Heroes Stories | View Post
First legally blind athlete to compete in the Olympic Games

First Legally Blind Athlete to Compete in the Olympic Games

First legally blind athlete to compete in the Olympic Games - Marla RunyanMarla Runyan made history by becoming the first legally blind athlete ever to compete in the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000. She made it to the finals, where she placed eighth in the 1,500 meters, the best finish by an American woman in that event. Beginning in 2001, she won three straight US national championships in the 5,000 meters.

In 2002 she won the national championships in the road 5K and 10K, and also married her coach Matt Lonergan that year. Marla went on to compete in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
In 2002 and 2006, Marla was awarded USATF's "Runner of the Year" honor. She held IPC world records or world bests in the T13 classification in an amazing 10 events.

At age 10, Marla was diagnosed with Stargardt disease. At that point, many around her, including her parents, told her she "couldn't", which merely motivated her to show that she "could!"

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

First legally blind athlete to compete in the Olympic Games



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

From Blindness to a Promising Future

Picture of Robert Parson A Blind Grad StudentRobert Parsons is an inspiration to blind and low vision communities. Parsons has earned two master's degrees from Western Michigan University. He has come a long way since 2014 when a traumatic brain injury left Parsons living with blindness.

"You really can't imagine something until you have no choice but to face it. I think the reason I was able to adapt the way I did and push through some of the darker thoughts I could have had was because I was still riding on the high that I actually survived the attack," he says. "That's what carried me for a long time. So, when that euphoria fell away, I was already accomplishing so much that I didn't really have a reason to feel down about it."

Thanks to several surgeries and a spirit of determination, Parsons did not let vision loss hold him back in life. He learned how to read Braille and enrolled in community college.

"I started at the associate degree level … and just worked my way up degree after degree. Now I'm here," says Parsons, who will receive master's degrees in rehabilitation counseling and vision rehabilitation therapy from Western on Saturday, June 26.

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

“Grad student who lost sight has vision of transforming rehabilitation for blindness and visual impairments”



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

When The Night Belonged To The Blind

Picture Of Seoul Korea Circa 1900One hundred and 40 years ago a stroll down the streets of Seoul (South Korea) would have been a surreal experience. You would rarely see a woman walking the streets most of the day. However, you may run into the fairer sex at night because men, with very few exceptions, were confined to their homes during a curfew hour.

“There were designated times during the evening when women were permitted to leave their homes. Louise Miln reported in the nineteenth century that “after the curfew rings, it is illegal for a Korean man to leave his own house; then it becomes legal for Korean women to slip out and take the air and gossip freely.” Henry Savage-Landor also noted those times when women could leave their domestic sphere for an outside realm of female sociability: “Men are confined to the house from about an hour after sunset or were severely punished both with imprisonment and flogging if found walking about the streets during ‘women’s hours.’

One exception to curfew hours for men during the ChosQn dynasty (1392–1910) applied to blind men. Percival Lowell, an American residing in Seoul during the winter of 1883/84 was one of the exceptions and vividly described his jaunts through Seoul's darkened streets. He also described some of the other exceptions:

"There is another class in the community who are permitted freely to roam at nights, ― blind men. A thoughtful kindness has given them an immunity they could never abuse. Unable to travel fast they can easily be watched; and so blind men's holiday in Korea is prolonged from the twilight on till dawn."

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

“Curfew allows nighttime to belong to the blind”



Posted in Resources for Blind and Visually Impaired | View Post

An Epidemic of Blindness

Picture Of Blindness Book CoverThe last year and a half has been extremely challenging. All of us were forwarded to ask hard questions about how we were going to survive in the midst of chaos. It was perhaps most challenging for those living with visual impairments. People living with blindness had to quickly adapt to life without access to many of the resources they once depended upon. The hats of the sighted community should go off to everyone living with a disability during these challenging times.

With summer on the horizon, and the pandemic receding, you might find yourself with some more free time. If you are on the hunt for a summer book,then you may be interested in reading or listening to “Blindness” by José Saramago. The book forces readers to ask some challenging questions about human nature and existence. “Blindness” may hit too close to home given that the story centers around the first patients of a pandemic, but instead of a coronavirus the disease causes an epidemic of blindness.

Each of the novel's characters must learn how to adapt to a life without vision. They must contend with dehumanization, the loss of identity and purpose.

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

“Stuff you should read: ‘Blindness’”



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

Helping Blind People Know When Their Food Has Gone Bad

Picture Of Mimica Touch Food Decay SensorHelping blind people know when their food has gone bad is important to a company called Mimica. Soon blind people could have an easier way to discern if their food has spoiled because Mimica created touch-sensitive sensors to tell you how fresh your food is. The project started as a way to help blind people.

Mimica Touch contains a plant-based gel that decays at the same rate as food. The company's hope is that less food will be thrown away; Mimica Touch is far more precise than expiration dates. The product will first be released in European markets, and in North America down the road, hopefully.

“When it [the label] is smooth the food is fresh and when you can feel bumps the food should no longer be consumed,” says Giorgia Raci, the research and development lead at Mimica. “We started with perishable foods such as juice, diary and meat, because that’s where we see the most waste, but we’re now looking at medicine, cosmetics and blood donations.”

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

“From fly oil to 3D-printed biscuits: the women reimagining the food of the future”



Posted in Assistive Technology | View Post

Brain Implant That Could Restore Vision To Blind People

Drawing Of A Brain With An Implant For BlindnessA team of researchers from several universities is working on a brain implant that could restore vision to blind people. If successful, blind people could get their sight back partially.

The process works by having electrodes inserted into the visual cortex of the brain. An implant translates camera images into electrical shocks that stimulate brain cells in the visual cortex allowing blind people to discern shapes. Richard van Wezel, professor of visual neuroscience at the University of Twente and Radboud University, states:

“Implanting electrodes in the brain. That sounds pretty heavy because the skull has to be opened up first. And it basically is. But ask a neurosurgeon about this and they will say it’s not such a big deal. The visual cortex is a large area so you can put a lot of electrodes in there. One hundred at the moment. Electrical activity creates points of light that enable an image to be formed. This replaces the eyes with a camera, so to speak.”

Please reach out to SDCB to learn more about how we can help you regain some of your independence.

“Brain implant enables blind people to see again in the future”




Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post

Voice Dream Reader for Visual Impairment

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

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

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

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

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



Posted in Assistive Technology | View Post

People With Vision Loss Can Learn Echolocation

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

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

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

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

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

“Echolocation can help those with vision loss – study”



Posted in Independent Living Skills | View Post

Global Poverty and Blindness

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

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

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

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

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



Posted in Blindness and Society | View Post

Helping Blind Students Study Chemistry

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

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

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

Please contact SDCB to learn more vision rehabilitation programs.

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



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

Sicilian Musician Overcame His Visual Impairment

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

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

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

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

“Michele Romeo Is Making More Than Music”



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

Gene Therapy Helping Blind People See

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

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

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

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

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



Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post

Adapting To Life With Blindness

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

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

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

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

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



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

Braille Menu for Restaurants

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

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

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

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

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



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

Software Companies Consider the Blind People

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

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

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

"Website Makers Tinker With Tools to Serve Blind Users"


Posted in Accessibility | View Post

Software Updates for Blind and Vision Loss Community

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

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

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

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



Posted in Accessibility | View Post

A Barbie Representing the Blind Community

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

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

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

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

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



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

Restoring Vision to Blind People

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

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

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

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

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



Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post

Global Accessibility Awareness Day

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

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

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

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

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



Posted in Advocacy and Events | View Post

Combat Vision Loss With CRISPR

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

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

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

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

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



Posted in Researchers and Leaders in Eye Disease | View Post

Social Distancing App for Blind People

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

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

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

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



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

Shoes for Blind and Visually Impaired People

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

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

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

“Innovative shoe warns blind people of obstacles”



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

Shatter Myths and Stereotypes About Blindness

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

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

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

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

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



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

Visually Impaired-Accessible Artwork

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

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

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

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

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



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

Apple AirTags Could Help Blind People

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

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

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

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



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

Visual Impairment Aided by Guide Dog

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

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

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

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

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


Posted in Living Independently Skills and Attitude | View Post

Braille Across America 2021

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

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

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

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

“Braille Across America earns support from Lions”



Posted in Advocacy and Events | View Post

Bionic Eye Helps Blind People See

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

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

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

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



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

Teenagers Sailed 800 Miles Despite Vision Loss

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

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

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

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



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

Robotic Guide Dog for the Blind

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

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

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

“Robotic Guide Dog can lead blind people around obstacles”



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

Smart Backpack for Visually Impaired People

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

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

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

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



Posted in Assistive Technology | View Post

Blind and Visually Impaired Students Protest

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

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

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

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


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

Visually Impaired Man Racing for Charity

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

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

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

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



Posted in Advocacy and Events | View Post

Technology Aiding Visually Impaired People

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

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

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

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



Posted in Assistive Technology | View Post

Menus4All is a Valuable Resource for the Blind

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

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

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

"Menus4ALL – Contact Free Accessible Menus"




Posted in Assistive Technology | View Post

Eylea Slowed the Progression of Diabetic Retinopathy

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

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

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

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



Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post

Women’s Eye Health & Safety Month

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

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

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

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




Posted in Eye Health and Preventing Disease | View Post

Blind People Wear Sunglasses for a Reason

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

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

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

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



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

Retinal Risk Assessment Software

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

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

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



Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post
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