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How You Can Prevent Macular Degeneration

AMD imageAge-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness.

An early referral to ophthalmology and early treatment are critical.  Not smoking, or quitting, is also imperative.  Beyond that, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy body weight can help ward off AMD.  Related to that, one should strive for a healthy diet.  Even wearing good sunglasses helps.

Macular degeneration is a leading cause of blindness. Here’s how to prevent it

Contact SDCB about your vision-related needs 

Posted in Eye Disease - Macular Degeneration | View Post

Family Travels Around The World Before Their Children Go Blind

Blind children in watering holeCanadian couple Edith Lemay and Sébastian Pelletier have three of their four children with retinitis pigmentosa, an incurable degenerative disorder.  All three of them will become blind in the next few years.

So, Edith and Sébastian decided to travel the world with their children to emblazon rich, vivid memories of our planet before they lose their ability to see it.  Their trip was delayed by COVID, but last month they left their home in Montreal for Namibia in Southern Africa.  And that's just the beginning...

Canada family tour world to store rich memories before children go blind

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Posted in Living Blind | View Post

Blind Farmer Achieves His Dream

Pig farmerMike Duxbury became blind at 6 years old due to infantile glaucoma.  Being from a family of farmers, Mike was determined from his early childhood years not to let his blindness interfere with his goal of one day becoming a farmer himself.

Mike got a degree in agricultural business management from Warwickshire College of Agriculture in 1990.  Today, he is not only a farmer, but trains others with disabilities on how they, too, can become farmers.

The blind farmer: ‘It’s all I ever wanted to do. Now I can help others do it’

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Posted in Living Blind | View Post

Guiding Blind: Cooking - Christine Ha Ep 1

At San Diego Center for the Blind, we have programs to help you learn the basics of navigating your kitchen when you are either blind or vision-impaired. Our goal is to help you be confident in your cooking skills and independent in your living.

In this guide, we're going to be diving into both tips and inspiration ... so, to help you get inspired, let's meet a few blind or visually-impaired folks that relish (pun intended) their time spent in the kitchen.

Christine Ha
In 2004, Christine was diagnosed with Neuromyelitis optica (this happens when your immune system attacks the optic nerves and spinal cord). By 2007, she was nearly blind.

That didn't stop her, though! She was the first blind contestant of MasterChef and, in 2012, was the winner. Today, she is an American chef, writer, and TV host. Christine has lots of content we think you'll love:

Besides all Christine's great cooking related content, she has more personal things like:
Watch for Ep 2 of Guiding Blind: Cooking!

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Posted in Independent Living Skills | View Post

Medical Needs? Here's Your Prescription for Savings

Courtesy of SDG&E, our trusted community partner

if you have disabilityCertain medical needs may qualify you or someone in your home for savings every month on your gas and electric bill. Apply for the Medical Baseline Allowance program if you need to use more energy due to a qualifying medical condition or to prevent an existing condition from getting worse. Examples include:

A requirement for permanent space heating or cooling due to paraplegia, quadriplegia, hemiplegia, multiple sclerosis, scleroderma, a compromised immune system or a life-threatening illness.  

Required use of a life-support device, such as an aerosol tent, apnea monitor, kidney dialysis machine, motorized wheelchair or respirator (devices used for therapy don’t qualify; only medical devices that sustain life or are needed for mobility).

To get a Medical Baseline Allowance application and more information, visit sdge.com/medical. Eligibility requirements include having a physician sign your application to certify the medical need.

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Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post

Water Heater Tips Put Safety & Savings on Tap
(Courtesy of SDG&E, our trusted community partner)

Water heaterDid you know that when you use water, you are using energy? The U.S. Department of Energy found that water heaters account for about 18% of your total energy bill. Here are some water heater tips to help keep you safe and lower your energy bill.

1.    Set your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees or less. You’ll save energy and avoid scalding your hands and body. Lower temps also slow mineral buildup and corrosion in your water heater and pipes.

2.    Insulate your storage tank and the first 6 feet of both the hot water and cold water pipes connected to the unit. This helps prevent fires and conserves heat so your system doesn’t have to work so hard to reheat it.

3.    Install a timer to turn your water heater off when you go to bed. It conserves energy and can add years to the unit’s life.

4.    If your water heater is more than ten years old and in good condition, consider installing a heat trap. Most modern water heaters have a built-in heat trap.

5.    Make sure your water heater restraints are secured to the wall studs to prevent movement or toppling over during an earthquake.

6.    Using cold water for laundry and basic grooming helps reduce your bill.

7.    Keep the area around the water heater clean, free of items around it and well-ventilated to prevent it from working harder.

8.    It’s a good practice to drain your water heater every year or so. It helps remove sediment that can impede heat transfer which lowers the efficiency of the unit.

Visit sdge.com/winter for more safety and energy-saving tips.

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Posted in Businesses - Organizations - Products Supporting Blind | View Post

The World's Oldest Person Is ... Blind! (And A Nun)

World's oldest personYesterday, a 119-year old Japanese woman, the world's oldest, died.  As a result, the new title holder is 118-year old Lucile Randon, a French nun.  Sister Andre, as she is known, is blind.

She resides in a nursing home in the Mediterranean city of Toulon.  She was congratulated by newly-reelected President Macron.

Her ultimate goal is to become the oldest human in history by surpassing the 122-year mark attained by another French woman.

The cocktail-loving French nun who is now the world's oldest person: Blind 118-year-old who celebrates birthdays with port-and-chocolate tipple claims title after death of Japanese woman aged 119

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

How To Make Websites Accessible For The Blind And Visually Impaired

Color circlesMaking a website accessible enables users with physical or visual disabilities to more easily navigate, read, understand, and use the site.  Good websites, and web designers, understand how to make a website accessible and incorporate those techniques into the site.  They may even get the site certified as "accessible".

Here are just a few of the ways to make a site accessible:
  1. Ensure lots of contrast between foreground and background colors.
  2. Every image should have an image tag (i.e., alt text).
  3. Avoid only using color for emphasis.
  4. Enable control via the keyboard, not just the mouse.
  5. Links and buttons should be accurately described.
  6. Ensure that each page has a descriptive title
Improve Accessibility for Users Who are Visually Impaired with These 9 Tips

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Posted in Accessibility | View Post

European Union Requires Electric Cars To Make Noise

Electric carElectric cars are an important answer to the question of what we can do about climate change.  But they can also pose a danger to blind and visually impaired people nearby who cannot hear them approaching.  Even fully sighted people can be taken by surprise by silent electric vehicles.

But now the EU is requiring all new electric vehicles to emit a sound, similar to the sound a car engine typically makes, when backing up or driving below 12 MPH.

EU requires carmakers to add fake engine noises to electric cars

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Posted in Assistive Technology | View Post

Microsoft's "Seeing AI" Describes Surroundings To The Visually Impaired

Seeing AIMicrosoft offers a free app called "Seeing AI" for blind and visually impaired people.  It enables them to read text, identify currency, "see" their surroundings, describe objects, identify product labels, and even decipher colors.

This amazing app has expanded from English to now include Dutch, French, German, Japanese and Spanish.

Bonjour! ¡Bienvenidos! Seeing AI expands to 5 new languages

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

Smart Glasses Being Developed in United Arab Emirates

Smart glassesResearchers at Ajman University in the United Arab Emirates have developed sophisticated, artificial intelligence-based glasses which can revolutionize the lives of visually impaired people.

These glasses enable the wearer to read, navigate from place to place, and even recognize faces.

The glasses work through a smartphone app, but do not necessarily require an Internet connection.  They can not only recognize people, but objects as well.

Ajman University Develops Smart Glasses for people who are blind and Partially Sighted

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

60 Minutes Features Story on Legally Blind 15-Year Old Freeride Skier

Jacob Smith - legally blind freeride skierCBS' long-running news show "60 Minutes" recently ran a compelling story about 15-year old Jacob Smith, a legally blind 15-year old who skis on such hazardous terrain that most black diamond experts -- fully sighted -- wouldn't dare to try them.

Learn how Jacob does these amazing feats, and what motivates him.

Watch the full 60 Minutes piece

Support SDCB's efforts to help create more success stories like this one

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

What is Low Vision?

Eye examLow Vision is a term used when traditional eye care can no longer help. So, when do you need low vision services?

Typically, individuals seek out Low Vision Services when they are told by their doctors that they have no medication, procedures, glasses or contacts to help their vision. This conversation can be a scary one, but we're here to help!

Common causes of low vision

According to the CDC, the most common causes of blindness and low vision in the United States are usually age related, however, low vision is associated with any of the following:
  • Macular degeneration
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Retinitis pigmentosa
  • Amblyopia
  • Retinopothy of Prematurity (ROP)
  • Retinal detachment
  • Acquired (traumatic) brain injury
  • Eye cancer
  • Albinism
  • Genetic eye disorders

What it is like living with Low Vision?

There are millions of people living with low vision. These videos tell the stories of what it is like living with low vision, why there is hope, and ways you can keep your independence. See Videos.

Getting help

The good news is with specialized services and assistive technology options, you can get help! To get more information, visit Low Vision Services.


Posted in Low Vision | View Post

The History of Seeing-Eye Dogs

Seeing eye dogDogs have been helping make blind peoples' lives better since ancient Pompeii.  During World War I, when many German soldiers went blind, Dr. Gerhard Stalling created the world's first school for seeing-eye dogs, also known as guide dogs, in Oldenburg, Germany in 1916.

The first seeing-eye dog in the U.S. was in 1928.  The long, rich history of guide dog schools and advancements has led to over 10,000 guide dogs in the country today.

The History of Seeing-Eye Dogs

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Posted in Independent Living Skills | View Post

New innovation could restore sight to the blind

Man with white cane stepping off curbThe Journal "Science" has reported that scientists at Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience (NIN)  have developed a brain implant which may restore sight to blind and visually impaired people.

The high resolution implant is placed within the visual cortex of the brain to enable them to recognize shapes and more.

New innovation could restore sight to the blind

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Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post

53 Innovations for the Blind

Humans As BatsTechnology is ensuring a steady flow of devices that are revolutionizing the lives of blind and visually impaired people throughout the world.

Here are 53 innovations that are enabling these folks to see, fly, drive, measure, create art, label items, work, and much more.

53 Innovations for the Blind

See some of San Diego Center For the Blind's Assistive Devices



Posted in Assistive Technology | View Post

NBC Enhances Accessibility For Winter Olympic Viewers

Accessible TVNBCUniversal is currently broadcasting the Winter Olympics from Beijing, offering an unprecedented array of accessibility options which can help blind, visually impaired, and other Olympics fans get the most from their viewing experience.

The networks 6 stations and apps are presenting over 2800 hours of coverage of the Winter Games -- a new record.

All broadcasts during prime time and Prime Plus, and the opening and closing ceremonies, will feature "audio description services", in which expert commentators describe the Olympic and Paralympic action to those viewers who are blind or visually impaired.  Furthermore, NBC's websites and apps will feature enhanced accessibility, including color contrast, keyboard navigation, and support for screen readers such as JAWS.

NBCUniversal Enhances Accessibility for 2022 Winter Olympic & Paralympic Games

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Posted in Accessibility | View Post

February is Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) Awareness Month! (part 1)

February is Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) Awareness MontRP is a rare, genetic disorder that breaks down the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye.

Symptoms

Early symptoms of RP are night blindness and loss of peripheral vision. Symptoms can appear in childhood and, often, children with RP have difficulty seeing in the dark. Over time, their visual field narrows, resulting in tripping and what looks like clumsiness because they aren't able to see properly. Also, bright lights are uncomfortable for people with RP, which is known as photophobia.

The disease usually progresses slowly, however progression can vary from person to person. Some may have very restricted eye sight in early adulthood, whereas others may retain eyesight until their 50s. Eventually, most people with RP have significant vision loss and/or blindness.

Diagnosis

RP is normally diagnosed in one of the following 4 ways:
  1. Genetic Testing - a sampling of blood and tissues
  2. Electroretinography - measures electrical activity in the retina
  3. Visual Field Testing - measure side vision and blind spots
  4. Optical Coherence Tomography - highly details photos of retina

Posted in Blindness and Society | View Post

February is Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) Awareness Month! (part 2)

What they seeWhat is it like living with RP?

Take a few minutes to listen to the stories of Dave (an adult) and Anna (a child) on the Royal National Institute of Blind People website (UK) and learn more about what its like living with RP: RNIB

What does someone with RP see?

Please look at this short video that describes what happens when someone has RP. It also illustrates what they see.




Posted in Blindness and Society | View Post

February is Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) Awareness Month! (part 3)

photoholgic -VisionlossTreatment

San Diego Center for the Blind is able to help clients with RP with Low Vision Aids and vision rehabilitation. For information on those services visit SDCB Low Vision Clinic


For more information about Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP)

NIH
American Academy of Ophthalmology
Wikipedia
JJ Medicine





Posted in Blindness and Society | View Post

Do Blind People Perceive Race?

Blindness and racismDo blind people know what race is?  Can they detect a person's race?  Do they care?  Can blind people be racist?

Perhaps surprisingly, the answer to all of these questions is "yes".

Non-blind people often think that blind people don't perceive race and racism and are largely unaffected by it.  This is simply not true.

Just like sighted people can be racist -- usually because they are taught to be racist, the same is true for blind people.

Read more about this fascinating topic

Help San Diego Center For The Blind correct people's misperceptions about the blind and visually impaired



Posted in Blindness and Society | View Post

Which Celebrities Have Vision Loss?

Celebrities with vision lossHere are 8 household-name celebrities who have various degrees of vision loss:
  1. Johnny Depp, star of movies such as the Pirates of the Caribbean series, is completely blind in one eye, with blurry, near-sighted vision in the other.
  2. Rap star Fetty Wap was born with glaucoma, and had an eye surgically removed when he was a child.
  3. Dame Judy Dench, Oscar award-winning star of 7 James Bond films and so many others, has had age-related macular degeneration for over a decade.  One concession mandated by this is that her scripts are printed in a large font.
Read about other vision-impaired celebrities

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Posted in Arts and Culture, TV, Movies, Blind and Vision Impaired - Heroes Stories | View Post

What Is Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)?

Age-related Macular DegenerationThe main cause of blindness among those 50 and older in the industrialized world is Age-related macular degeneration (AMD).  This disease affects the retina and plagues 8.7% of the world's population, and a much higher percentage of those over age 60.

The macula is the rearmost part of the retina.  When it deteriorates, patients are unable to see clearly straight ahead - which is where we primarily look when we are talking to someone, reading, driving, using our electronic devices, cooking, and performing tasks of daily living.  AMD does not eliminate this central vision entirely, but degrades it substantially.  A result is that the patient relies much more heavily on peripheral vision.

Learn more about Age-related macular degeneration

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Posted in Eye Disease - Macular Degeneration | View Post

What Sports Are in the Winter Paralympics?

Blind skierWith the Winter Olympics about to begin in Beijing, you might wonder if -- like the Summer Olympics – there will be a Paralympics.  Yes!  It’ll follow the Olympics by about 2 weeks.  You might also wonder what sports are included, and if blind or visually impaired athletes will participate.  The primary winter Paralympics sports are ice hockey, snowboard, and wheelchair curling.   Unfortunately, none include blind or visually impaired athletes.
Other sports include Nordic cross-country skiing, biathlon, and alpine skiing.  Luckily, this last sport IS available to blind or visually impaired skiers.

See how blind skiing works.

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Posted in Blind Athlete | View Post

A Beginner's Guide to Assistive Technology For the Blind and Visually Impaired


Service dogIf you or your loved one are newly blind or visually impaired, you may find navigating the landscape of products to assist somewhat daunting.  If you need a 101 Primer on what types of devices to consider, you've come to the right place!

Most people are aware of service dogs (OK, not exactly a technology device!) and white canes. But you might not be aware of the new "smart canes" available.  See our blog post below with more on smart canes.

Screen readers are an essential device.  They basically read a web page, document, or other computer screen contents aloud, usually from top left to bottom right.  The most popular is JAWS.  Of course, there are limitations.  For example, screen readers can't read text that's embedded within an image -- unless that text is incorporated into the image tag.  Ditto with the images themselves.

Blind/Visual Impairment: Common Assistive Technologies

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

New Smart Cane Opens New Possibilities For The Blind

WeWalk caneWhite canes for the blind have been around seemingly forever, but their “technology” seems like it’s from the stone age.  It’s basically a stick.

Now there’s a new smart cane called WeWalk, which brings today’s smart phone technology to canes for the blind.  While the old canes help blind people detect obstacles at foot level, the new smart canes also detect obstacles at the body or head level, typically with a vibration alert.  They can audibly tell the user what’s around them, including directions, and what stores and establishments they are passing.

These amazing devices of course pair with the user’s phone.  For example, using Google Maps, they can get verbal step-by-step directions as they walk.

Learn more about these incredible devices.

Help SDCB’s efforts to get devices like these in the hands of those who need them.


Posted in Assistive Technology | View Post

What’s Cooking in the SDCB Store!

Popular blind productsWe asked Virginia, Technology Center & Store Manager at SDCB, what are some of the most popular items in the SDCB store. Here’s what she said:
  • Tactile Timer
Features high contrast tactile markings, 8” diameter, built-in stand, long 15-second ring. Doesn’t need batteries!
  • Black Measuring Cups
These cups feature high contrast lime green marking for 1/4, 1/3, 1/2 and 1 cup. These are so much easier to use than the normal clear/white options.
  • 17” Terrycloth Oven Mitts
These mitts protect not just your hands, but also your arms from oven rack burns.

Virginia selected these items because they are all available in our store. In case you didn’t know, we offer free on-the-phone store consultations so you can learn about ANY of our products. Please call 619.583.1542 X 161.




Posted in Services | View Post

Eye-Opening Profiles: Graeme McCreath: Advocate, Author, Physiotherapist

CrosswalkHere's the first in our series of Eye-Opening Profiles, this one on Graeme McCreath, who became blind at age 9 and lived in residential schools for the blind until age 19. He is a true inspiration for what is possible, as he successfully created and navigated a lifelong career as a physiotherapist. … despite being blind.

Over the years, he has advocated for his own life, as well as those of all blind and visually impaired individuals. He also authored a book, “The Politics of Blindness” of which Michael J. Prince, Author of “Absent Citizens. Disability Politics in Canada” said “Graeme McCreath's book challenges longstanding prejudicial stereotyping and the charity based approach to meeting basic needs of blind Canadians. He presents an agenda of reform that is practical and progressive, some will say radical, for improving the status of blind people.”

The bottom line is Mr. McCreath wants to see parity for blind individuals. His book discusses the infrastructure needed to allow visually impaired individuals to enter the workforce and the need for government to persuade employers to have an open mind.

As an advocate, Mr. McCreath is active in speaking out for the rights of vision impaired and blind individuals. In 2013, the court upheld a complaint that allowed him to have an early start in the Times Colonist 10k, which he ran with a sighted friend.

In 2018 he filed a discrimination complaint against Bluebird Cabs after he experienced discrimination with his guide dog. He said he knows of several blind people in other cities who have had difficulty with taxis while using guide dogs.

More recently, in December 2021, Mr. McCreath spoke out again. “Blind people such as myself often ponder, when opening the front door to venture out, who, where or when the next violation of our dignity and rights will occur.” This time he is speaking out about discrimination against blind people regarding new bike-lane design in the City of Victoria. They are utilizing "floating" bus stops which pose a danger to vision impaired individuals, along with being difficult to find from the sidewalk.

Mr. Creath’s voice is important in having these issues heard. Do you think more work needs to be done in this area? Let us know your thoughts! Write us at info@sdcb.org.

"Blind people's lives threatened by bike-lane design"


Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired | View Post

Making Cities Safer for Blind and Visually Impaired Individuals

Crosswalk buttonSan Diego Center for the Blind has long had a history of advocating for making San Diego a safer city for blind and visually impaired individuals. For example, in 2013, CEO Kim Gibbens advocated to the mayor to fix the sidewalks.

Services, safety, and accessibility are still not always available to blind and visually impaired individuals. Yet, there are changes coming about slowly but surely. Internationally, the President of the Maldives - a nation of small islands in the Indian Ocean - recently met with blind individuals, as well as the parents of blind children, to better understand their needs and challenges.

A more high-profile and significant example of change just occurred in New York City. A judge recently criticized officials for not making all of the 13,000 intersections in New York City safe for blind and visually impaired individuals.  He ordered the city to install more than 9,000 signal devices to make it easier for pedestrians to cross the streets. These devices use sound and vibration to inform people when it is safe to cross the street.

“There has never been a case like this. We can finally look forward to a day, not long from now, when all pedestrians will have safe access to city streets,” said Torie Atkinson, a lawyer for the American Council of the Blind and two visually impaired New Yorkers, who filed the suit. “We hope this decision is a wake-up call not just to New York City, but for every other transit agency in the country that’s been ignoring the needs of people with vision disabilities.”

We at the center applaud this win for the advancement of disability rights. Advocation works, so keep your voice heard in efforts to impact other major urban centers.

"Why New York City May Soon Be More Walkable for Blind People"

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


Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired | View Post

What is it like to be blind for a day?

Sister and brotherBeing blind or visually impaired doesn’t just impact the individual, it also impacts friends and family members. Here’s a sweet vignette about a brother, blinded in a shooting, and a sister. Clearly the bond between the two is loving and strong. The sister wants to support, understand, and always be there for her brother. The brother appreciates the love and support, but has accepted that this is now his “normal”.

Still, the sighted don’t often know what it is like being blind or visually impaired. And, certainly, covering one’s eyes for a day doesn’t come close to full understanding, but it does lend a glimpse of not only what the sighted would consider “challenges”, but what is reality in daily-living for the blind or visually impaired individual. Heartfelt and revealing … take a watch.

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





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

Fighting Global Corneal Blindness

Picture Of Human EyeCorneal blindness is the third most common cause of blindness in the world. In an effort to tackle the common cause of blindness, Australian leaders in corneal bioengineering have formed BIENCO: a consortium that will create bioengineered eye tissue to treat the condition. Fighting global corneal blindness is important; corneal disease affects the lives of about 23 million people around the world.

“Corneal transplantation currently relies upon deceased human donor corneal tissue,” said Professor Gerard Sutton, project lead, corneal specialist at the University of Sydney's Save Sight Institute and co-medical director of the NSW Tissue Bank. “However, an acute global shortage of donor corneal tissue continues to prevent access to treatment.”

Please contact SDCB to learn more about our programs and services. We can help!

“World-first consortium to fight global corneal blindness”




Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post

The "Year of Children’s Vision"

The Year Of Childrens Vision PosterThe New Year is just around the corner, and leaders in the field of vision are thinking ahead already. Prevent Blindness, the nation’s oldest nonprofit eye health and safety organization, has declared next year the “Year of Children’s Vision.” One in 5 young children has an undiagnosed vision disorder, which is a problem that needs to be addressed considering vision plays a critical role in children’s physical, cognitive, and social development.

“The goal is to highlight and address the diverse and critical vision and eye health needs of children and to improve outcomes through advocacy, public health, education, and awareness.”

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

“Prevent Blindness Declares 2022 as the ‘Year of Children’s Vision’”




Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired | View Post

Performing Music Again Despite Vision Loss

Picture Of Musicians BJ Lentz and Jay WebberBJ Lentz, 61, lost her vision after an accident in late December 2017. She slipped on fake snow and severely damaged her optic nerves and was diagnosed with ischemic optic neuropathy. Lentz, a part time music teacher, eventually lost most of her vision. However, she recently began performing music again despiste vision loss. Lentz is writing songs and gigging with Polkamatics, Lone Star Swing Orchestra, Austin Polka Band, and fellow musician Jay Webber.

“She makes me stronger and more focused in my life,” Weber said. “Don't take anything for granted and live each day like it's your last."

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

“Musician BJ Lentz finds her rhythm after adjusting to vision loss”




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

Vision Buddy for the Visually Impaired

Picture Of Vision Buddy For The Visually ImpairedAs the Christmas holiday approaches many people are rushing to buy gifts. If you are thinking of purchasing something for someone who is visually impaired, you may find it difficult. The Vision Buddy for the visually impaired may be the perfect gift. Vision Buddy is television-focused assistive technology device for people dealing with visual impairments such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and retinitis pigmentosa. Vision Buddy, a silicon valley start-up, has a risk-free trial program.

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

“Give the Gift of Sight - Vision Buddy: The World’s First TV Focused Device for the Visually Impaired”




Posted in Assistive Technology | View Post

Ebooks for People Living With Blindness

Abstract Illustration Of BrailleAdvocates for the blind have won the right for a three year Digital Millennium Copyright Act exception to make accessible versions of ebooks for people living with blindness. Since publishers rarely cater to the accessibility needs for individuals living with blindness, vision loss advocates have had to fight to ensure that third-parties can lift text and alter it for those who cannot see. Advocates argue that there should be a permanent exemption for the DMCA.

"As the mainstream has embraced ebooks, accessibility has gotten lost," says Mark Riccobono, president of the National Federation of the Blind. "It's an afterthought."

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

“Blind People Won the Right to Break Ebook DRM. In 3 Years, They'll Have to Do It Again”




Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired | View Post

Preventing Macular Degeneration

Illustration Of A Human EyeMacular degeneration is a leading cause of blindness for people over the age of 50. Naturally, preventing macular degeneration is a chief priority for scientists. According to new research, the pathway to preventing the common form of eye disease is being laid out. Asst. Engineering Prof. Bradley Gelfand believes that the antidepressant fluoxetine, commonly known by the brand name Prozac, could possibly slow or stop the progression of the condition.

“[Fluoxetine] goes into cells and inhibits an inflammatory pathway known as an inflammasome,” Gelfand said. “It essentially reduces the ability of this inflammasome to become activated.”

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

“U.Va. study finds potential treatment breakthrough for blindness cause”





Posted in Eye Disease - Macular Degeneration | View Post

Geographic Atrophy Awareness Week

Geographic Atrophy Awareness Week InfographicNext week marks the beginning of the first-ever Geographic Atrophy Awareness Week, as declared by Prevent Blindness. Geographic Atrophy is the advanced form of dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) which leads to vision loss in the center of one’s vision. Prevent Blindness, the nation’s oldest non-profit eye health organization, has created a website dedicated to the condition. What’s more, a new episode in the Prevent Blindness Focus on Eye Health Expert Series dedicated to geographic atrophy will also be available during Geographic Atrophy Awareness Week.

“As the number of AMD cases in the United States continues to grow, so do the numbers of those at risk for geographic atrophy,” said Jeff Todd, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness. “We encourage AMD patients and their caregivers to educate themselves on ways to help avoid vision loss from GA and talk to their eyecare professionals today to save vision for the future.”

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

"Prevent Blindness Declares First-ever Geographic Atrophy Awareness Week as Dec. 6-12, 2021"




Posted in Advocacy and Events | View Post

Blind Quarterback Has No Fear

Jasen Bracy In His Football UniformAmerican football is a gruellingly physical sport that takes dedication and skill. By all accounts, the position of quarterback is among the most challenging. Now, imagine playing quarterback without perfect eyesight. For 15-year old ​​Jasen Bracy, when it comes to playing quarterback the young man is up to the challenge and he is an inspiration to all. Why? The blind quarterback has no fear!

Jasen Bracy was diagnosed with retinoblastoma cancer in both of his eyes as a toddler and eventually lost his vision by the time he was seven. With very-limited vision in his one remaining eye, Bracy manages to hit his targets thanks, in part, to a speaker in his helmet. Bracy doesn’t take his role on the team lightly.

"A quarterback is a leader, and the leader has to lead a team through whatever they're going through," Bracy explains. "Doesn't matter if it's raining, it's windy, and we're losing big time, you still have to keep that motivation that you had at the beginning of the game, keep that with you."

San Diego Center for the Blind offers many programs and services for the blind and visually impaired. Please contact us to learn more.

“Teen Quarterback Jasen Bracy, Who Is Blind, Has 'No Fear' on the Field: 'Don't Give Up'”
Posted in Blind and Vision Impaired - Heroes Stories | View Post

Blind Skateboarder Helps Others With Vision Loss

Nick Mullins Skateboarding At A Skate ParkSkateboarder Nick Mullins lost his vision after contracting MRSA in 2009. While blindness might stop many people from hanging up their skateboard, Nick doubled down on doing an activity he loves. The blind skateboarder helps others with vision loss find the courage to skateboard too. He says the tricks don’t have to stop with vision loss.

“There’s a lot of barriers and a lot of things you have to overcome,” Mullins said. “Once you finally overcome those things and put yourself forward, and conquer that fear, you fall back into the love of what you were doing before.”

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

“Blind skateboarder inspires visually impaired teens at Omaha event”




Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired | View Post

Brain Implant Helps Blind Woman See

Picture Close Up Of The EyeScientists from multiple institutes of higher learning collaborated on a project to reverse blindness. Through the use of a brain implant, researchers were able to help a blind woman see and identify several letters. The six-month-long study involved a 57-year-old woman who became blind 16 years ago. The tiny implant, about the size of a penny, bypasses the optic nerve and stimulates the brain's visual cortex. The study findings appear in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

"I would like to emphasize that although our preliminary results are very encouraging, we should be aware that this is still research and not yet a clinical treatment," said lead study author Dr. Eduardo Fernández.

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

"Scientists create brain implant that helped blind woman see letters"




Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post

Eliminating Blindness in Five Years

Picture Of A Woman EyesThe National Eye Institute has big plans for the next five years. The NEI has a plan to eliminate vision loss and improve quality of life through research. The endeavor includes a focus on six areas of eye anatomy and function — retinal diseases; corneal diseases; lens and cataract; glaucoma and optic neuropathies; strabismus, amblyopia and visual processing; and low vision and blindness rehabilitation.

"NEI's strategic plan builds upon the past decade's major advances in regenerative medicine, genetics, artificial intelligence, personalized medicine, gene therapy, imaging and more. It identifies research opportunities that may ultimately lead to improved quality of life and population health," Michael F. Chiang, MD, director of the NEI, said in the release. "In its final form, the new strategic plan identifies emerging opportunities across the areas of emphasis to drive innovation, inspire the next generation of vision researchers and translate knowledge into medicine. Moving forward, trans-NEI working groups focused on implementing plan priorities are designing initiatives, targeted funding opportunities, training, workshops and more."

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

"NEI aims to eliminate vision loss, improve quality of life with strategic plan"





Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired | View Post

Living With Blindness

Picture Of Mark Riccobono The President of National Federation Of The BlindAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 3.4 million Americans 40 years and older are blind or visually impaired. While blindness and vision loss are prevalent in the United States, it's difficult for most sighted people to grasp what it's like living with blindness fully. In fact, there are many misconceptions that sighted people harbor about living with blindness. Mark Riccobono, the president of the National Federation of the Blind, would like those who do not live with vision loss to understand about engaging with blind people:

"Rather than making assumptions, engage with blind people like you would anybody else. Show curiosity about them. And if you want to know if there's something they need, ask them and don't assume."

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

"'I am not my blindness': What the blind community wishes you knew"




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

Steps for Protecting Your Vision

Picture Of Two Older Men JoggingAs people age they are at greater risk of experiencing eye health problems and vision loss. However, AARP has outlined ten steps for protecting your vision. The older you get, the more essential it is to prioritize eating healthy, eating right is essential for eye health. Other tips include wearing sunglasses, exercising, sleeping enough, taking screen breaks, good hygiene, moisturizing your eyes. Lastly and perhaps most importantly, regular eye exams are critically important for preventing vision loss.

SDCB offers many programs and services; please reach out to us to learn more.

“10 Everyday Things You Can Do to Protect Your Sight”




Posted in Eye Health and Preventing Disease | View Post

Diabetic-related Blindness in America

Picture Of An Autonomous Screening Device For Diabetic RetinopathyDid you know that the number of Americans struggling with diabetes-related blindness, such as diabetic retinopathy, is expected to nearly double by 2050. It is critical that steps are taken now to prevent people from needlessly suffering from diabetic-related vision loss. Screening for diabetic retinopathy is vital; early detection can prevent blindness. In order to combat this growing problem, Regeneron has sponsored a national educational campaign (noweyesee.com) and RETINA-AI Health has submitted its autonomous diabetic retinopathy screening device to the FDA.

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

“Diabetic Retinopathy is Preventable Vision Loss with These Latest Tools and Treatments”




Posted in Eye Disease - Diabetic Retinopathy | View Post

Access to Eye Care is Essential

Picture Of An Eye Test​​Sandra Block, OD, M Ed, MPH, is a professor emeritus at Illinois College of Optometry. She is also the chairperson of the Public Health Com at the World Council of Optometry. Block recently spoke at the American Academy of Optometry 2021 annual meeting in Boston. She outlines the various visual impairments affecting individuals around the world and states that access to eyecare is essential worldwide. The hope is that eye care will be available to everyone in the future and that eye health will be recognized as a global development issue. Blick concludes:

“There will be a commitment to reach 1.1 billion people who have vision problems and no access to care. Vision and eye health will be integrated in UN frameworks since it has been shown eye health impacts countries’ performance. Finally, there will be a push for countries to link eye health to other developmental programs.”

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

“Reports define magnitude of vision loss, focus on access to eye care”




Posted in Blindness and Society | View Post

Persevering Despite Blindness

Picture Of Zach McLean Standing On Football FieldZach McLean is a junior defensive end at Interlake High School in Bellevue, Washington. He is known for making big plays, being both strong (6 foot 2 and 222 pounds) and fast. What’s more, McLean is also legally blind. He was born with a rare condition that limits his eyesight allowing him to see only peripherally. Zach is truly a remarkable young man who doesn’t give up despite adversity.

“Zach is driven to be great at football. He doesn’t need to be motivated daily,” said Alex Papadopulos joined the football staff in 2020 as the defensive-line coach. “Even on his worst day of practice you will find him on the field as all his friends drive home. He is always trying to better himself. It is inspiring to see a young man seek to be great at what he loves.”

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

"What impact does being legally blind have on Interlake’s Zach McLean on the football field? ‘Zero.’"




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

Diabetes-related Eye Disease Month

Prevent Blind PSA About DiabetesDid you know that November is Diabetes-related Eye Disease Month? DIabetes is, after all, one of the leading causes of vision loss and blindness across the globe. An estimated 415 million adults were living with diabetes in 2015, according to “The Diabetic Retinopathy Barometer Report: Global Findings.” By 2040, this number is set to rise to 642 million, constituting some 10 percent of the global adult population aged between 20 and 79 years.

It is vital that you know your risk factors for diabetes and diabetic retinopathy. According to the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), one in three people living with diabetes has some degree of diabetes-related retinopathy (DR), and one in 10 will develop a vision-threatening form of the disease Please do not gamble with your vision, book an appointment with your eye doctor today.

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

“November Declared as Diabetes-related Eye Disease Month”




Posted in Eye Disease - Diabetic Retinopathy | View Post

Science to End Blindness

Futuristic Rendering Of A Human EyeWith World Sight Day behind us, we thought it prudent to discuss some of the medical advancements that could one day restore vision to millions of people around the globe. For instance, various forms of nanotechnology and the like are literally bringing the blind and the nearly blind back into the world of the sighted, in some cases reversing blindness caused by conditions like retinitis pigmentosa. What’s more, scientists are making headway with optic nerve cell replication. Such technology could give doctors the power to rebuild the damaged neural pathways that are the root cause of so many cases of blindness.

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

"What if we could end blindness forever?"




Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post

World Sight Day Photo Competition

Picture Of Ladakhi Weaver By Julie-Anne DaviesWorld Sight Day (WSD), Thursday, October 14, is an international day of awareness held every October to focus attention on the global issue of eye health.Each year, the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness holds the World Sight Day photo competition. The IAPB has announced the 2021 winners of the photo competition. A panel of five judges has chosen ‘Ladakhi Weaver’ by Julie-Anne Davies as this year’s winning professional Photo of the Year and ‘Going to School’ by Saiful Islam as the winning amateur Photo of the Year.

“Our hope was that the competition would provide professional and amateur photographers with the opportunity to share the stories they’ve captured, and we have been blown away by the calibre of submissions, which are nothing short of exceptional,” said Simon Darvill, head of communications for the IAPB. “We thank everyone who participated and congratulate our winners.”

SDCB can help you or a loved one with vision loss or blindness; please reach out to us to learn more about our programs and services.

“IAPB announces winners of World Sight Day 2021 photo competition”




Posted in Awards - Vision Related | View Post

Beyond Blindness Empowers Children with Visual Impairments

Picture Of Mason Lopes Using A Mountbatten BraillerChildren in Orange County, California are benefiting from a non-profit organization in Santa Ana. Beyond Blindness helps kids with vision loss and blindness discover their potential. The services that they offer include early intervention, education, enrichment, and family support. Thanks to Beyond Blindness, eleven-year-old Mason Lopes has accomplished major milestones despite his optic nerve hypoplasia.

“We rely so much on our sight as adults, and when you think of kids who are developing … your ABCs and your 123s, kids learn all of that from looking at books and pictures,” said Mason’s mother, Charissa Lopes. “We were able to come to Beyond Blindness and have people who specialize in children who can’t see and to give them those tactile cues, to motivate them.”

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

“Santa Ana’s Beyond Blindness helps the vision impaired go above and beyond”




Posted in Resources for Blind and Visually Impaired | View Post
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