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Preventing Blindness During Cataract Awareness Month
blindnessDid you know that more than 25 million Americans are estimated to have a cataract? Prevent Blindness has declared June as Cataract Awareness Month, a time to educate people about the risk factors, symptoms, and treatment. Cataract symptoms may include blurred vision, double vision, ghost images, or the sense of a “film” over the eyes.

“Cataract is highly treatable with early detection and access to quality eye care services,” said Jeff Todd, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness. “We encourage everyone to make healthy vision a priority today to preserve it for years to come.”

Please contact SDCB to learn more about our programs. We can help you regain some of your independence.

“Take Steps Today to Help Protect Eyes from Cataract”

Posted in Advocacy and Events | View Post
Vision and Eye Health Award
eye healthThe National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health at Prevent Blindness (NCCVEH) is accepting nominations for the upcoming Bonnie Strickland Champion for Children’s Vision Award Ceremony. Individuals or organizations worthy of the award are those who demonstrate significant contributions to advancing public health approaches for children’s vision and eye health at the state or national level.

“Prevent Blindness is an organization founded on saving sight in children, and the Bonnie Strickland Champion for Children’s Vision Award provides us with the opportunity to recognize the tremendous efforts of those dedicated to protecting vision and keeping eyes healthy for our kids,” said Jeff Todd, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness.

The deadline for submission is July 10, 2019. The award ceremony is Sept. 14, 2019, in Baltimore, MD.    

Living with vision loss can severely complicate one’s life. However, we offer programs that help the blind and visually impaired regain their independence. Please contact SDCB to learn more.

“Prevent Blindness Issues Call for Nominations for Bonnie Strickland Champion for Children’s Vision Award”

Posted in Awards - Vision Related | View Post
Corneal Blindness Treatments In The Works
blindnessCornea donors may be a thing of the past one day thanks to new technologies. Millions of people around the globe have bilateral loss of vision due to corneal disorders. Cornea transplants can help men and women living with corneal blindness, but there are only so many transplants to go around each year.

Pandorum Technologies Pvt., a biotechnology company, is using 3D bioprinted cornea tissue to heal eye wounds. A research team is preparing for human pilot studies in 2020.

“We are working to close this gap using a bio-engineering approach through stage-wise development of a platform, which is ultimately aimed to liberate us from the dependencies on human donor cornea,” said Dr. Tuhin Bhowmick, co-founder of Pandorum with a Ph.D. from the Indian Institute of Science.

SDCB can help improve the lives of people living with blindness. Please contact us to learn more about our programs.

“3D Printed Cornea Tissue Aims to Tackle Blindness”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Two Blind Brothers Contribute to Curing Blindness
blindnessBradford Manning and his younger brother Bryan own a New York clothing company. What’s unique about the company is that its profits are earmarked for vision loss research. The brothers have a genetic eye disorder called Stargardt disease, juvenile form of macular degeneration which damages center vision over time and leads to blindness.

The Manning brothers were never deterred by vision loss. The name they chose for their company is apropos: Two Blind Brothers.

“We now have the unbelievable honor to be able to contribute to curing blindness,” said Bryan. “We do that by donating 100 percent of our profits back to retinal research, primarily through partners, like the Foundation Fighting Blindness.”

If you or a loved one requires assistance for vision loss, please contact SDCB today.

“Two Blind Brothers Defy The Odds To Make Fashion Dreams A Reality”

Posted in Blind and Vision Impaired Heroes | View Post
Goalball is a Sport for People Living with Blindness
blindnessTyler Merren, 34, is a Paralympic USA goalball silver medalist. Merren is living with blindness, but that does not keep him from making a difference in his community and beyond. On top of training for the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020, he is a father of four, personal trainer, and public speaker.

“I was born legally blind, but my vision was clear enough until I was 14. I was born with tunnel vision. I could see in front of me – but as I got older my visual acuity got worse.”

He is training hard for Japan; to compete in the upcoming games his team has to be one of the top two teams at the IBSA International Qualifier in Fort Wayne, IN, this summer.

Many people are faced with the medical field no longer being able to improve their vision. SDCB can help you take steps to promote your independence. Please contact us to learn more.

“Despite Blindness, Physical Trainer and Motivational Speaker Aims for 2020 Tokyo Paralympics”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Learning Braille Through Play
BrailleIt is essential that blind and sighted children play together! Braille Bricks by Lego allows for children living with blindness to engage with kids with perfect vision. The Lego Foundation, which is funded by the Lego Group, has a new project that will alter the knobs on the regular bricks into Braille dots. Braille Bricks will feature both Braille dots and written letters.

“When they get Lego in their hands, it’s intuitive for them,” said Diana Ringe Krogh, who is in charge of the project for the Lego Foundation. “They learn Braille almost without noticing that they are learning. It is really a learning-through-play approach.”

SDCB’s comprehensive vision rehabilitation program is the next step to rebuilding your independence. Please reach out to learn more about our services.

“Lego Is Making Braille Bricks. They May Give Blind Literacy a Needed Lift.”

Posted in Braille | 1 Comment(s)
Blindness Does Not Stand in the Way of Musical Talent
blindnessGrace Fisher is a junior in high school. Despite living with blindness, she has found a way to sing her heart out in women’s choir. “I’ve always been into music. I wanted to be in choir,” Fisher said.

Some people may wonder, ‘how does Grace receive cues from the conductor?’ The answer involves her choirmates: who hold her hand and squeeze in different ways when it’s time for her to sing more loudly or quietly.

“It brings us all together. We’re all connected. We’re not just all standing there separated and singing. We’re all physically connected in a way and moving together,” said Ellie Holloway, who helped lay out the system that keeps Grace on her marks.

SDCB offers vision rehabilitation services that rebuild lives. Please contact us to learn more about our programs.

“Inspirational singer at Staley High succeeds in music despite total blindness”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Living with Color Blindness
blindnessAbout 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women in the world see things a little differently than the majority. Such people have what is known as color blindness or color deficiency. There are three types of color blindness: protanopia (the inability to process red light), deuteranopia (the inability to process green light), and tritanopia (the inability to process blue light).

A new photoset shows the average person what the world looks like through the lens of color blindness. The gallery was created by Lenstore for the organization Colour Blind Awareness.

SDCB can help you get back to doing many of the things you did when you were sighted. Please reach out to learn more about our programs.

“These Photos Show What SF Looks Like with Color Blindness”

Posted in What Is Blind Like and Social Etiquette | View Post
Jazz Pianist Living with Blindness
blindnessJazz pianist Marcus Roberts has led a remarkable life. At the age of 5 he suffered major vision loss, resulting in him living with blindness. He recently agreed to an interview and spoke about his experience in becoming a musician despite his condition. At 12 or 13, he had a band while he was in a school for the blind. He taught each member how to play music. Today, he still helps young people hone their ear for music, especially those who live with vision loss.

“I have a soft spot for young people in that situation. The disability may kick into it too. Because I know there are a lot of disabled people who just don’t get a lot of choices. In the blind community, even now, the rate of literacy among blind children is only 10 percent. These are very disturbing facts for me, and I don’t think they get enough attention.”

Learning how to rebuild your independence is what we specialize in at the San Diego Center for the Blind. Please contact us to learn more.

“Navigating Blindness with Marcus Roberts”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Genetic Variation Contributes to Macular Degeneration
macular degenerationResearchers identified some of the genetic variants that cause age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The study involved stem cells to learn more about this common cause of vision loss. While there is still much scientists do not know about AMD, people with a family history of the blinding eye disease are at higher risk.

University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers revealed the importance of a specific genetic variation that affects expression of a gene that is partly responsible for new blood vessel growth. The genetic variation is the amount of VEGFA produced, which plays a role in AMD development.

"We didn't start with the VEGFA gene when we went looking for genetic causes of AMD," said senior author Kelly A. Frazer, PhD, professor of pediatrics and director of the Institute for Genomic Medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine. "But we were surprised to find that, with samples from just six people, this genetic variation clearly emerged as a causal factor."

SDCB offers counseling, training, community education, outreach programs, and more. Please contact us to learn about our services.

“Personalized 'eye-in-a-dish' models reveal genetic underpinnings of macular degeneration”

Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post
College Softball Despite Blindness
blindnessNicky Dawson was born with a cataract in her right eye. It had to be removed, resulting in blindness. However, being legally blind hasn’t stopped the young lady from being the second baseman for the Baylor University softball team. She learned how to compensate for the disability; Dawson doesn’t just play, she excels on the diamond!

“You think about the softball athletes around the country that can’t play at a low level,” said Baylor coach Glenn Moore. “She’s handicapped in that way and still plays at a very high level. It’s nothing short of phenomenal that she can do what she’s able to do.”

If you are struggling with vision loss, please contact SDCB. We offer several innovative programs that can help you regain independence.

“Dawson thriving for Baylor softball despite blindness in right eye”

Posted in Blind Athlete | View Post
Focus on Eye Health National Summit
eye healthPrevent Blindness is holding its eighth annual Focus on Eye Health National Summit on July 17, 2019. The event is being held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. This year’s theme is “A Lifetime of Vision.”

Those in attendance will be treated to various presentations from a wide array of speakers. Prevent Blindness will also be presenting the 2019 Jenny Pomeroy Award for Excellence in Vision and Public Health to Cynthia Owsley, Ph.D., MSPH. The award is given to individuals and organizations that make significant contributions to the advancement of public health related to vision and eye health.

SDCB can help you, or someone you love, lead a more independent life. Please contact us to learn more.

“Prevent Blindness to Hold 8th Annual Focus on Eye Health National Summit”

Posted in Eye Health | View Post
May is Healthy Vision Month
healthy visionHave you had your eyes checked lately? The National Eye Institute (NEI) would like to know: what’s your vision of the future? May is Healthy Vision Month! You can take steps today to ensure that you see clearly tomorrow. The NEI is encouraging young adults to prioritize healthy vision during the month of May and beyond.

“Celebrate Healthy Vision Month by encouraging young adults in your community to take steps to keep their eyes healthy today!”

San Diego Center for the Blind can guide you or a loved one toward living independently. Please contact us to learn more about our programs and services.

"Healthy Vision Month"

Posted in Advocacy and Events | View Post
Women Must Prioritize Eye Health
eye healthDid you know that women are at a higher risk of experiencing vision loss and blindness? If not, please know that you are not alone. Less than 10 percent of women realize that they are at a higher risk of suffering permanent vision loss than men, according to a survey conducted by Prevent Blindness.

You may find it startling to learn that one in four women surveyed has not had an eye exam in the last two years. The finding is concerning, especially when you consider that two-thirds of all blindness and visual impairment cases involve women.

“We need to engage women in caring for their eye health,” says Mary Elizabeth Hartnett, MD, of the John A. Moran Eye Center. “Women may be less likely to access health care for themselves, for example, if they forego regular exams to manage family concerns or take care of others instead of themselves. My focus is retinal disease.  It is important that everyone, including women, be aware of symptoms like floaters, light flashes, or distorted vision—all possible signs of more serious retinal conditions. That’s important because if we can intervene at an early stage, we can often prevent vision loss.”

The San Diego Center for the Blind offers many services that can significantly enhance the quality of life for individuals living with vision loss. Please contact us today to learn more.

“Women’s Eye Health: Why It’s Different”

Posted in Eye Health | View Post
BBC Journalist Undaunted by Blindness
blindnessMani Djazmi dreamed of being a journalist, and his dream came true. He hosts World Football for the BBC. What most people who watch his show do not realize is that Djazmi is blind.

Mani’s parents brought him to the United Kingdom at the age of four. His family hoped that western medicine could restore his sight. The operation that Mr. Djazmi had proved to be unsuccessful, unfortunately. However, the trip was the catalyst for moving to the UK, receiving an education, and discovering a passion for European football. Mani reports:

“While we were over for the operation, my parents heard about a mainstream school near the hospital that had excellent facilities and support for disabled children – including blind children. Although none of us could speak English at that stage, we decided to stay.”

His love for football and journalism would propel him on a life journey. Despite critics and naysayers, Mani was undaunted and continued striving for his goals. Blindness could not hold him back.

SDCB offers many service that can help you regain your sense of independence. Please contact us today to learn more.

“From blindness to the BBC: Djazmi’s football journey”

Posted in Blind and Vision Impaired Heroes Stories | View Post
Advanced Hearing in Early Onset Blindness Patients
blindnessMost people know that a heightened sense of hearing often accompanies blindness. However, the mechanisms behind the aural phenomena are less understood. A new study explains why blind people can hear better than sighted men and women.

Neuroscientist Ione Fine from the University of Washington and colleagues explored the correlation between early onset blindness and precise hearing. Through the use of functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) imaging to examine the brain activity of participants listening to different frequencies. The analysis showed that blind people process tones in a “narrower, more accurate bandwidth” than sighted participants. Researcher Kelly Chang states that "Our study shows that the brains of blind individuals are better able to represent frequencies." She adds:

"For a sighted person, having an accurate representation of sound isn't as important because they have sight to help them recognize objects, while blind individuals only have auditory information. This gives us an idea of what changes in the brain explain why blind people are better at picking out and identifying sounds in the environment."

If you or a loved one is struggling with vision loss, then SDCB can help. Please contact us to learn more about our services.

SDCB’s vision rehabilitation services can improve the quality of life for people living with vision loss. Please contact us to learn more.

“New Brain Study Finally Explains Why Blind People's Hearing Works So Precisely”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Art Museum Addresses Color Blindness
blindnessArt enthusiasts living with color blindness will be treated to a unique experience at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Curators are teaming up with California-based EnChroma to help people who have color blindness experience O’Keeffe’s works as intended. EnChroma will provide guests special glasses to accomplish the goal.

The artist’s use of color is known to be a real challenge for those living with color vision deficiency. As an aside, it turns out that Georgia O’Keeffe struggled with macular degeneration later in life.

The San Diego Center for the Blind provides vision rehabilitation services and assistive technology guidance to legally blind adults who are age 18 or older. Please contact us to learn more.

“Georgia O'Keeffe Museum tackles visitors' color blindness”

Posted in Arts and Culture | View Post
When Badminton Leads to Blindness
blindnessAs most of the country eagerly awaits warm weather, dreams of playing in the sun percolate. Golfing, volleyball, swimming in lakes and oceans, and yes badminton are just some of the activities in store for Americans. For those looking to take part in the latter, please be advised that the birdie or shuttlecock is not harmless.

Researchers at Capital Medical University, Beijing, caution badminton enthusiasts that shuttlecocks and the racquets of other players can lead to eye injuries. Even blindness!

“Use of protective eyewear is highly recommended, based on expert professional guidance, safety education and awareness of the ocular injuries that can occur,” says Dr. Yi Liu, the study co-author.

SDCB can provide vision rehabilitation services throughout San Diego County. Please contact us to learn more.

“Shuttlecocks can cause blindness, players told”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
New Show About Living with Blindness
blindness“In the Dark,” a series meant to highlight what it is like to live in blindness debuted Thursday, April 4 on The CW. The show stars Perry Mattfeld as confident and rebellious Murphy Mason, a young lady living in blindness. You may find it interesting to learn that many cast members and most of the sitcom’s extras are blind in real life. Mattfeld hopes the show will raise awareness about the millions of people living with blinding eye conditions.

“The majority of our extras are blind. We do have multiple people on the cast who are blind as well, so you’re seeing them in a different light. You’re never encouraged to feel sorry for them - which I love,” says Mattfeld. “(Murphy) says multiple times, ‘I hate when people give me the pity and compassion crap. I don’t want that.’”

Preparing meals, paying bills, shopping, studying or working are obstacles that individuals who experience vision loss deal with each day. At SDCB we help men and women lead the most independent lives possible. Please contact us to learn more.

“'In the Dark' sheds light on life with blindness”

Posted in Arts and Culture, TV, Movies | View Post
Blindness from Blue Light Exposure
blindnessThere is a lot of commotion in the news regarding the impact that blue light has on the eye. Many people contend that exposure, over time, can damage the eyes and potentially result in blindness. The accuracy of such claims is essential to millions of people who use devices that emit blue light, such as smartphones and smart TVs. So, are the allegations true?

Good news! According to David Ramsey, MD, Ph.D., MPH, the answer to the above question is no! He says that the amount of light emitted is not enough to cause harm or lead to macular degeneration et al. Dr. Ramsey says:

“Compared to the risk from aging, smoking, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and being overweight, exposure to typical levels of blue light from consumer electronics is negligible in terms of increased risk of macular degeneration or blindness.”

At SDCB, we help people living with vision loss meet everyday challenges. Please contact us to learn more about the services we provide.

“Will blue light from electronic devices increase my risk of macular degeneration and blindness?”

Posted in Eye Health and Preventing Disease | View Post
The Answer to Treating Several Causes of Blindness
blindnessResearchers from the University of Surrey and the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Eye Institute at Indiana University School of Medicine have discovered compounds from a group of plants that could be used to treat the causes of degenerative eye diseases. The findings of the research could help treat proliferative diabetic retinopathy, and more blinding eye conditions. Diabetic retinopathy happens when high blood sugar levels harm the back of the eye, resulting in blindness.

"It goes without saying that losing your eyesight is a devastating experience,” said Professor Dulcie Mulholland, Head of Department of Chemistry at the University of Surrey. “We believe that our results hint at possible future treatments for many degenerative eye conditions and it appears that nature still has many secrets to reveal."

Each day, students at SDCB reach their highest potential for confident, independent living. We can help you achieve your goals too. Please reach out to learn more.

“Nature could provide the answer for blindness caused by diabetes, say experts”

Posted in Research and Medical Advancements | View Post
Blind Piano Prodigy Inspires All
blindA 6-year-old piano prodigy is capturing hearts and minds thanks to viral videos of his performances online. Avett Ray Maness used his ears to teach himself how to master the ivory and ebony keys. Avett was born with optic nerve fibroplasia; he has never had the experience of vision. He does not let blindness hold him back!

"The moment he could pull himself to reach the piano, he was playing the melody to 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,'" said Avett Ray's mom, Sara Moore. "Music is in his body.”

SDCB provides services to legally blind adults who are age 18 or older. Please contact us to learn more about our programs.

6-year-old blind piano prodigy goes viral for "Bohemian Rhapsody" and other classic covers

Posted in Blind | View Post
Eye Health and Safety Month for Women
eye healthDid you know that women are affected by eye diseases such as cataract, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration at higher rates than men? Prevent Blindness wants to raise awareness about the importance of taking care of your vision. The nation’s oldest eye health and safety non-profit organization declares April Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month. Prevent Blindness recommends that women get regular eye exams, quit smoking, and use cosmetics safely.

All of SDCB’s services utilize a specialized field of service, called Vision Rehabilitation, which plays a central role in addressing age-related vision loss. Please contact us to learn more.

“Prevent Blindness Declares April as Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month”

Posted in Advocacy and Events | View Post
Helping People With Blindness Use Cosmetics
blindnessThe visually impaired are a market that has been mostly ignored by the cosmetic industry even though 36 million people worldwide are entirely blind, and 217 million have a visual impairment. Cosmetic packaging isn’t designed to cater to people with vision loss; however, changes are afoot.

Sam Latif is Procter & Gamble’s special consultant on inclusive design, a new role at the company. She has a condition called retinitis pigmentosa, which stole her sight. Her job is to make sure the 1.3 billion people worldwide who have a disability can easily use cosmetic products.

“People think just because blind women can’t see, they don’t care about what they look like,” says Latif. “They think that the visually impaired don’t spend money on beauty products or can’t apply makeup so they’re not relevant to this industry.”

SDCB’s services help the visually impaired live a life doing many of the things they did while sighted. Please reach out to learn more.

“Blindness & Beauty: How Visually Impaired Women Are Changing an Industry That Ignored Them”

Posted in Independent Living Skills | View Post
Running Guides for the Blind
blindLast month, three running guide dogs named Westley, Waffle and Gus ran with a blind runner in the 2019 New York City Half Marathon. It was the first time that a blind runner completed the half marathon with guide dogs.

The runner, Thomas Panek, is also the president and CEO of Guiding Eyes for the Blind, an organization that has trained guide dogs for the visually impaired for decades. He started the “Running Guides" program in 2015.

"It never made sense to me to walk out the door and leave my guide dog behind when I love to run and they love to run," he said. "It was just a matter of bucking conventional wisdom and saying why not."

SDCB’s vision rehabilitation program is recognized for its effectiveness in helping people with no vision to those with changing vision return to an independent lifestyle. Please contact us to learn more.

“Blind runner, guide dog trio makes history in NYC Half Marathon”

Posted in Blind | View Post
Carving Braille Designs Out of Ice
BrailleThe Bozeman Chapter of the Montana Association for the Blind gathered together to do something pretty impressive last week. They carved ice! Not just any carving either, they sculpted the BMAB logo along with the corresponding Braille! 

BMAB President Todd Fahlstrom points out that Bozeman lacks hands-on activities for people living with vision loss. He says the ice carving is an opportunity for people to learn that vision loss doesn’t have to hold you back.

“There are very little things that are tactile that we can touch when you go to a museum,” said Fahlstrom. “Everything is behind glass, so how you do you experience that? So I wanted an event where we could actually have people come up to the ice and feel it. And so it will be cool to see. I have never felt braille in ice. So it will be a fun experience doing that today.”

Braille is a tactile writing system utilized by individuals who are visually impaired.

People living with vision loss are not alone; support and resources are available. Please contact SDCB to learn more.

“Ice sculptors carve braille designs for Bozeman chapter of blindness association”

Posted in Braille | View Post
The Cost of Blindness is Staggering
blindnessAt the Retina World Congress in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Andrew A. Moshfeghi, MD, MBA said that neovascular age-related macular degeneration, diabetic macular edema, and proliferative diabetic retinopathy is estimated to cost the U.S. approximately $21 billion by 2020. Moreover, he said that if management of these conditions does not improve then the direct, indirect, and intangible costs will triple by 2050.

“Age-related macular degeneration will constitute the lion’s share of this amount with a little over $16 billion. Diabetic retinopathy will be about $4.5 billion,” said Moshfeghi.

If you or someone you care about is experiencing vision loss, please contact the San Diego Center for the Blind. We offer many programs and services that can help.

“Social cost of retinal blindness in US will be billions of dollars by 2020”

Posted in Blindness and Society | View Post
Mental Health Issues Affect People Living With Blindness
blindnessOnly 17 percent of people living with vision impairment are offered emotional support in connection with their disorder, according to the Royal National Institute of Blind People. Elin Williams, 20, is a student living with retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye condition that can cause blindness. She believes that it is imperative to raise awareness about mental health conditions affecting people with vision loss. She says:

"I think it's about understanding that blindness and mental health can come hand in hand... anxiety can be triggered from not being able to see people and not being able to see the world like everyone else.”

"But it's all about telling people that although there are challenges, it's possible to live a positive life despite having sight loss."

At SDCB, we help adults with blindness and vision impairment to be independent. Please contact us to learn more.

“Blindness and mental health can come hand in hand”

Posted in Adapting and Emotions After Vision Loss | View Post
DAMO Academy is Helping the Visually Impaired
visually impairedChina’s e-commerce site Alibaba created the DAMO Academy to explore “the unknown through scientific and technological research and innovation. The driving force behind the Academy is the pursuit of the betterment of humanity.” The $15 billion research initiative is determined to make smartphones more accessible to the visually impaired.

The design team created software called Smart Touch and hardware called Braille Buttons to help those living with vision loss. Chen Zhao, the research leader, says:

“We’re spoiled by technology, but there are so many people that are left out.”

If you require help with vision loss, please look into our rehabilitation and other services. We can help you regain some independence.

“Alibaba's Adhesive Buttons Help the Visually Impaired Interact With Smartphones”

Posted in Visually Impaired | View Post
Blind Athlete Says Vision Loss is not a Disability
blind athleteA blind athlete has dreams of one day being an NFL running back. The first-ever! Adonis Watt lost his eyesight at the age of 5 due to congenital glaucoma, a rare form of the condition. Adonis, like so many people living with blindness, does not let his lack of sight prevent him from chasing his dreams.

The young, blind athlete is a Vision Hero for The Vision of Children Foundation. As an ambassador, Watt uses his experience to inspire other young people living with vision loss to pursue their goals. 

“Vision loss is a diagnosis, not a disability,” said Adonis Watt. He adds that “If you’re passionate about something, go chase it.”

Please visit the SDCB store for a complete line of aids and appliances to increase independence for blind and vision impaired individuals.

“Blind football player with NFL dreams is the latest to join Vision of Children ‘Vision Heroes’”

Posted in Blind Athlete | View Post
Remembering the Inventor of Braille Blocks
BrailleSighted people don’t spend much time looking down when they walk city sidewalks. Many individuals have never stopped to wonder why some sidewalks are bumpy or grooved. Blind people and the visually impaired can tell you that there is a lot to glean from what’s under your feet. Paying attention to tactile signatures beneath one’s feet is a real lifesaver for countless people around the world.

The late inventor Seiichi Miyake made an enormous contribution to the vision loss community when he imagined sidewalks infused with Braille. Tenji blocks, or “braille blocks,” guide people living with blindness safely. Straight imply one is heading toward safe zones; elevated domes indicate treacherous traffic ahead.

SDCB helps people without vision to those with changing vision return to an independent lifestyle. Please contact our team to learn more.

“The Google Doodle Honoring Seiichi Miyake Will Make You Think About What's Under Your Feet”

Posted in Braille | View Post
Museum Gives People Living with Blindness a Rare Opportunity
blindnessMost museums severely frown upon people touching the exhibits on display. Such institutions have good reasons for their policies; however, it means that people living with blindness or low vision will never have a chance to admire works of art.

Tactile art, on the other hand, allows people living with vision loss a chance to experience what everyone else is seeing. At the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, there is a new permanent tactile art exhibit. "In Touch with Art: Tactile Sculpture" debuted March 2; it is a fixed exhibit, but art pieces will rotate periodically.

"I feel like tactile art can be every bit as dynamic and wonderful and creative as any visual art," said resident artist Ann Cunningham.

Preparing meals, paying bills, shopping, studying or working are challenges that must be faced and overcome by those who experience vision loss. SDCB helps people meet those challenges; please contact us to learn more.

“Woodson Art Museum introduces permanent tactile exhibit”

Posted in Arts and Culture, TV, Movies | View Post
MSU Leaders Honored for Their Work in Blindness and Low Vision Field
blindnessThe American Foundation for the Blind, a leader in opening doors for the nearly 25 million Americans living with vision loss, recognizes two Mississippi State University leaders for their contributions in the field of vision loss. The Migel Medal – the highest honor in the blindness field – was given to Elton Moore, retired MSU professor, College of Education associate dean, and the former director of the National Research and Training Center (NRTC) on Blindness and Low Vision and Michele McDonnall, MSU research professor and current NRTC director.

“To receive the Migel Medal is the quintessential lifetime achievement award in the blindness field, and to be a part of a nationally renowned group that includes Helen Keller is truly humbling,” Moore said.

SDCB vision rehabilitation programs are available to all—regardless of their disability or socioeconomic status. Please reach out to learn how we can help you regain your independence.

“NRTC current, former directors at MSU receive national honors for work in blindness field”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Color Blindness Solution on the Horizon
blindnessGabrielle Masone’s dream, hard work, and innovation could help people living with color blindness. While studying at Dalhousie University, Masone decided to set herself to task in finding a solution to color deficiency. At her company, Colorsmith Labs, Inc. in Halifax, Nova Scotia, she is using nanoparticle technology to create contact lenses which allow wearers to see every color. Scientists at Saint Mary’s University assist Gabrielle's research.

"So, we've made the functional nanoparticles, which is super exciting, and we're just optimizing them, but we are in the testing phase of actually starting to put them in contact lenses," said Danielle Tokarz of the Saint Mary's University Chemistry Department.

Masone says her company requires a $1.5 million investment to finish the project.

The San Diego Center for the Blind (SDCB) provides vision rehabilitation services to legally blind adults who are age 18 or older. Please contact us to learn more about our programs.

“New contact lenses could correct color blindness”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Multiple Sclerosis Can Cause Vision Loss
vision lossDepression, trouble walking, vertigo, exhaustion, body pain, numbness, weakness, and vision loss are some of the symptoms that people living with Multiple Sclerosis or MS can experience. Many people who are subject to the above troubles chalk them up as not worth paying any mind to; MS often goes undiagnosed for years.

Actor Clementine Ford (“The L Word,” “The Young and the Restless”) shares that she dealt with MS symptoms for a decade, including sporadic vision loss, before she finally received a diagnosis from her doctor.

"It started when I was 19 or 20. I would lose sight in one of my eyes when I was jogging outside when it was hot," said Ford. People with MS can have adverse reactions to heat.

March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month!

SDCB’s Assistive Technology Center and Store offer tools that can help you or a loved one become more independent. Please reach out to us to learn how we can help.

“The L Word” Actor Clementine Ford Shares What It's Like To Live With Multiple Sclerosis”

Posted in Vision Loss | View Post
Explaining Impending Vision Loss to Your Partner
vision lossUsher syndrome is a rare recessive genetic condition and is the most common cause of deaf-blindness. There is no cure or treatment, unfortunately. Those born with the disease have hearing loss; however, vision loss usually starts in one’s adolescence in the form of retinitis pigmentosa. 

Shannon Reyenga has always been deaf, but she didn’t know that her hearing loss was the result of Usher syndrome. She has experienced poor night vision loss, a precursor to blindness in such cases, but was unprepared to learn she had the condition at a routine vision check-up at LensCrafters. Even though Reyenga’s boyfriend knew she was deaf from their first date, she struggled to share with him that she would eventually be unable to see.

“After I learned I had Usher syndrome, I thought I lost any chance of finding love. I struggled with the idea of finding someone willing to face this challenging diagnosis with me. I could hardly face it myself.

Is your vision changing? SDCB can help! Please contact us to learn more about our programs.

“Why I Didn’t Tell My Boyfriend I Was Going Blind Until I Absolutely Had To”

Posted in Adapting and Emotions After Vision Loss | View Post
Alleviating The Hardships of Blindness
blindnessLarry Misrok, 81, has a rare autoimmune disease (birdshot chorioretinopathy) that caused inflammation in his eyes, destroying a layer of his retina that left him living with blindness. He has lived with visual impairment since the 1970s, which is no easy feat. In recent years and thanks to technological advancements, Larry has regained some independence.

Today, Misrok is aided by high-tech glasses made by Aira. The spectacles do not restore a person’s vision; they allow Aira employees to see what the user should be seeing; operators guide people with vision loss through the use of a smartphone app. Several other assistive technologies exist that are making the lives of people living with blindness a little or a lot easier.

“Technology can be an extremely powerful tool for someone who is visually impaired if it is used along with a person’s other skills and abilities,” says Ryan Jones, a legally blind program manager with VFO Group, which helps companies become more accessible to users with disabilities. “These types of programs allow equal access to opportunities and careers for people who are visually impaired. They’re in just about every type of profession you can think of—except maybe airline pilot.”

Do you want to live as independently as possible? Please contact SDCB to learn how we can help you achieve that goal.

“A Vision Quest”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Middles School Student Wins Regional Braille Challenge
BrailleThe Braille Institute in California hosts the National Braille Challenge each year. The competition is meant to inspire young, visually impaired individuals to hone their reading and writing skills.

A seventh-grader placed first in the 2019 S.C. Regional Braille Challenge on February 7, 2019. Competing against 11 other students from across South Carolina, Brenson Baker won the Apprentice/Novice Level which included spelling, reading comprehension, and proofreading. The top-scoring 60 contestants in the United States are invited to compete in the final round in Los Angeles, CA, this June.

Do you know someone that requires our vision rehabilitation services and would like help? Please contact us to learn more about our programs.

“Brenson Baker wins first place at S.C. Regional Braille Challenge”

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Inventor Patricia Bath and Her Fight Against Blindness
blindnessWhile February was Black History Month, today we would like to introduce you to Dr. Patricia Bath. Dr. Bath is a leader in the fight against blindness in the black community. At Columbia University she learned that African Americans were twice as likely to develop blindness, compared to other patients. Moreover, the demographic is eight times more likely to develop glaucoma.

Aside from being the first African American to finish a residency in ophthalmology, Dr. Bath was the first female faculty member in the Department of Ophthalmology at UCLA. She is the co-founder of the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness and invented the Laserphaco Probe in 1981. The device made cataracts treatments less painful and more precise.

SDCB helps people living with vision loss reach their highest level of independence. Please contact us to learn more.

“Black History: Bath brought sight to many”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Music Helps Young People Living With Blindness
blindnessDoctors determined Levi Gobin was blind in the first year of his life. Now a seventh grader, Gobin does not let his blindness hold him back. Where the teenager's vision lacks, his ears make up for the difference. At a young age, Levi’s mother discovered that he had an ear for music.

“Music particularly, seeing him have that knack for it, it really gave me hope that he’s going to live a perfectly typical life,” said Levi’s mother. “Not just typical but extraordinary because he never ceases to amaze me. He can do just about anything a sighted kid can do and he’s very talented in so many ways. Whatever he wants to do he’s going to be able to do it.”

Throughout his short life, Mr. Gobin has had his share of struggles; being a blind person in a sighted world brings with it myriad complications. However, his motivation to continue moving forward has not waned. With the aid of music and other techniques, he can keep striving to achieve his goals.

SDCB offers assistive technology classes and vision rehabilitation training courses. Please contact us to learn more.

“Middle school student uses music to cope with blindness”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Blindness Can Not Stand In the Way of This Middle Schooler
blindnessJasmine Jarrett is in middle school. She plays the trumpet in the school band and is on the honor roll. Moreover, Jasmine is a flyer for her school’s cheerleading team; a position which involves doing, exactly, what the name suggests. Her cheer squad hoists her into the air and then catches the young lady on the way down.

“I like to flip around,” Jasmine said.

Many cheerleaders can probably boast about a similar list of accomplishments. However, few can say that they achieve so many feats while legally blind. Ms. Jarrett can only see a couple of feet in front of her; she must hold her homework or exams two inches from her eyes to read it.

SDCB helps people living with vision loss learn how to build independence. We offer counseling, classes, support groups, and vision rehabilitation services. Please contact us to learn more about our programs.

"Rootstown Middle Schooler doesn’t let blindness slow her down"

Posted in Blind and Vision Impaired Heroes Stories | View Post
Heavy Smokers At Risk of Color Blindness
blindnessCigarettes are bad for humans in myriad ways; most people are aware of the dangers that can accompany smoking. Each year, researchers uncover new links between tobacco use and health conditions. While the majority of adults understand that smoking can result in cancer, new research suggests that those who smoke more than a pack of cigarettes a day could be playing with their vision.

A Rutgers University study found that heavy tobacco smoking can have harmful effects on "spatial and color vision" and may result in color blindness. The findings appear in the journal Psychiatry Research.

"Our results indicate excessive use of cigarettes, or chronic exposure to their compounds, affects visual discrimination, supporting the existence of overall deficits in visual processing with tobacco addiction," said Steven Silverstein from the Rutgers's Behavioral Health Care. "Cigarette smoke consists of numerous compounds that are harmful, and it has been linked to a reduction in the thickness of layers in the brain, and to brain lesions, involving areas such as the frontal lobe, which plays a role in voluntary movement and control of thinking, and a decrease in activity in the area of the brain that processes vision."

If you are struggling with vision loss, please know, you are not alone. The San Diego Center for the Blind can assist you in many ways; please click here to learn more.

“Smoking over 20 cigarettes a day can cause blindness”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Surprising Connection Between Blindness and Mental Illness
blindnessThe University of Western Australia conducted a study that led to some interesting findings which must be explored in more detail. Researchers combed through data from nearly 500,000 people in WA health registers between 1980 and 2001. They were unable to find even one person with congenital or early cortical blindness who also developed schizophrenia—or any other psychotic illness.

"It's very difficult to say what the exact mechanism is but we think that the protective effect for schizophrenia is related to some kind of compensatory cortical reorganisation in the brain that’s happening in response to having congenital or early cortical blindness," said lead author, Professor Vera Morgan. “As a result, some functions that are impaired in schizophrenia may actually be enhanced in people with congenital or early cortical blindness."

SDCBs vision rehabilitation program is recognized worldwide for helping individuals living with vision loss return to an independent lifestyle. Please contact us to learn more.

“Link between blindness and schizophrenia”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Curing Color Blindness
blindnessWhile male squirrel monkeys are not the best at seeing color, they could help scientists find a cure for human color blindness or color deficiency. The little monkeys are protanopes; they only see medium and short wavelengths of light, blues and greens and yellow; they have no receptor for reddish hues.

Jay Neitz, a color vision researcher at the University of Washington and his wife Maureen, a geneticist, created a serum to help spider monkeys see colors they have never seen before. But, a lot has to go right.

“We’ve been working on ways to improve the efficiency,” Neitz says.

SDCB’s services help the visually impaired live – daily – doing many of the things they did while sighted. Please contact us to learn more.

“Monkeys with superpower eyes could help cure color blindness”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Shame and Denial About Blindness
blindness“Books and Coffee” is an annual event that invites speakers to discuss books with students. This year, English professor Maren Linett – director of the critical disability studies program at Purdue – talked about, “Have Dog, Will Travel,” by Stephen Kuusisto.

The memoir is about Kuusisto’s life and him coming to terms to terms with living with blindness—in a less than accommodating society.

Professor Linett says that “For Kuusisto, the most disabling feature of his childhood was not his blindness, but his family’s denial of and shame about his blindness.” She adds that “This kind of disabling environment is what keeps people expending enormous psychological and physical effort to pass for ‘normal.’”

Please contact SDCB if you or someone you know is experiencing blindness.

“Living with a disability in a world that stigmatizes being disabled”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Star Shares Personal Story About Blindness from Wet AMD
blindnessSince 1976, Deidre Hall has played the character of Dr. Marlene Evans on the beloved “soap opera” Days of our Lives. While she isn’t a physician off-camera, Hall does concern herself with medical problems affecting real people. In observance of Low Vision Awareness Month (February), the daytime television star is taking the opportunity to discuss her mother’s experience with blindness resulting from Wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

“I think we should all have concerns for ourselves,” said Hall. “People tend to confuse wearing glasses with what AMD is. Age-related macular degeneration is a disease, and 1.5 million people in the U.S. are impacted by it, and it causes blindness. So, it’s a huge issue for people. As we all go through what would I rather lose, my ability to speak, my eyesight, my ability to hear, you always land on what would I do without my eyesight, and to take it for granted is a serious mistake.”

SDCB offers counseling, training, community outreach programs, and more. Please contact us for more information.

“Days of our Lives Star Deidre Hall Wants to Help Prevent Blindness from Wet AMD”

Posted in Blind and Vision Impaired Heroes | View Post
Blindness Did Not Keep Mikayla Resh from Inspiring Others
blindnessMikayla Resh experienced severe brain damage at birth; her trauma resulted in multiple disabilities including blindness, hearing loss, and spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. Sadly, Resh passed away on January 30th at the age of 24. In life, she served as an inspiration to others who are impacted by disability; she and her mother would visit schools and discuss the importance of inclusion for people with disabilities.

Mikayla’s mother founded Mikayla’s Voice, a nonprofit organization with the aim of empowering children with disabilities and educating others about diversity and inclusion.

"I promised her before she died that I would make sure that her voice was louder than ever," Kimberly Resh said.

SDCB’s Assistive Technology Center and Store have the tools to help you become independent. Please contact us to learn more.

“Mikayla Resh, an inspiration for people with disabilities, has died. Family and friends vow to keep her voice alive.”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Considering Child Rearing While Living With Vision Loss
vision lossMost people living with vision loss eventually have children; the rates are only slightly lower than sighted individuals. However, many blind people contemplate if child rearing makes sense. Such a person’s concerns often stem from discouragement from other sighted people. While the opinions of the misinformed should never stand in someone’s way, several things are beneficial to consider before starting down the path to mother or fatherhood. Such as your mobility, home management, problem-solving, and advocacy skills. 

Please contact SDCB to find out more about all the ways we can help you reach your own highest level of independence.

“So, You’re Blind, and You Want to Have Kids”

Posted in Vision Loss | View Post
Color Blindness Has An Impact On The World
blindnessColor vision deficiency or color blindness affects millions of people. Most people living with the condition have trouble differentiating between specific shades of reds and greens, or blues and yellows, according to the American Optometric Association. While some people are born with the condition, the condition can arise from disorders like glaucoma or injuries.

A retired University of Maine at Fort Kent forestry and environmental studies professor wrote a chapter about color vision deficiency in a new textbook “Handbook of the Changing World Language Map.” Professor David Hobbins has had an interest in this subject matter since the 1980s. But, he said:

“What really prompted me to study color vision deficiency was in 2008 when I handed a color image to my class in the field and they had to do some interpreting.”

“One of my students said, ‘Dave, I can’t read it,’” Hobbins said. “The labels (on the handouts) were red on a green forest. That got me to starting [sic] to read about color vision deficiency.”

Do you want to live as independently as possible? Please contact SDCB to learn more about our services.

“Retired UMFK professor shares color blindness findings in textbook”

Posted in Eye Disease | View Post
Wrestling With Retinitis Pigmentosa
retinitis pigmentosaIt is safe to say that participating in any sport, blind, is not without added difficulty. A 16-year-old sophomore in high school acutely understands that reality but does not eschew a challenge. Agie Mai Sowe is ever-ready to try new things, in spite of being considered legally blind. The young athlete is a member of her school’s wrestling team. Sowe is almost entirely blind in her left eye, and her vision is failing in her right eye.

“I have this eye condition called retinitis pigmentosa, which is where you lose sight at the back of your eye,” she said after a recent practice in the Cardinals’ wrestling room. “As you get older, the light slowly starts fading away.”

Please contact SDCB if you or someone you know is struggling with vision loss. We offer many services that can help you find your way.

“Sun Prairie sophomore wrestler Agie Mai Sowe doesn't let blindness slow her down”

Posted in Blind Athlete | View Post
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