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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”

Posted in Braille | View Post
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
Treating Visual Impairment In Children
visual impairmentDiseases of the eye are not reserved for the elderly, children also struggle with blindness and visual impairment. Amblyopia, astigmatism, color blindness, Strabismus, and Pediatric glaucoma are just some of the eye conditions that can impact children’s eyes.

While such disorders can affect life quality, early intervention can help. The American Academy of Ophthalmology points out that early diagnosis and treatment are critical to improving eye health and assisting children to see better. In some cases, treatment can even restore sight.

At SDCB, we help adults, with blindness or vision impairment, to be independent. Please reach out to us to learn more about our services.

“Early diagnosis, treatment key to improving eye health in children”

Posted in visual impairment | View Post
Active and Able Despite Blindness
blindnessThose who enjoy watching the Winter Olympics are familiar with the unique and unusual sport known as curling. People who have had an opportunity to try it know that it is more challenging than it appears; and, that is with perfect vision. Now, imagine engaging in the activity living with blindness.

Louise Gillis, 70, is almost entirely blind and yet, she curls every Monday and Wednesday at the Sydney Curling Club. She also paddles with the Sydney Harbour Dragon Boat Club and volunteers with the Special Olympics.

“There is life after vision loss,” said Gillis, “We’re active people. We are able. We’re showing our abilities, not our disabilities.”

San Diego Center for The Blind can be your guide to living independently. Please contact us to learn more.

“Blindness doesn’t stop Sydney senior from living active life”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Seeing Again After Fourteen Years of Blindness
blindnessAfter 14 years living without sight, Rev. Philip Dunn can see again! He received a cataracts diagnosis in 2003. Some months later, another eye condition silently crept up, macular degeneration; the disease led to blindness. This past summer a cataract ruptured forcing Rev. Dunn into surgery to have it removed. Following the procedure his doctor said that he may see some light when the eye patch comes off; but, the Reverend saw quite a bit more.

"I went in the kitchen, my wife said, 'Honey, you took the patch off.' I said, 'Yeah.' She said, 'What do you see?' I said, 'I can see you!' She was the first face I saw in 14 years,” Dunn said.

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

“Charleston reverend regains sight after 14 years in the dark”

Posted in Blind and Vision Impaired Heroes Stories | View Post
Prevent Vision Loss With Regular Examinations
vision lossSome of the more common eye conditions that can result in vision loss affecting older people include cataracts, age-related macular degeneration or AMD, and glaucoma. It is common for aging people to require glasses to see objects up close, it is a fact that most of us are aware of as being a part of getting old.

While presbyopia – a condition characterized by having difficulty focusing on objects near to you – is a relatively easy condition to correct, that is not the case for more significant disorders. Dr. Rishi Singh, a staff physician with the Cole Eye Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, says “cataracts are the most common cause of visual blindness across the world.” Adding that “we have lots of effective treatments for all these conditions. No patient should feel like they would go blind from any of these conditions. All of them are treatable, and with the proper evaluation and diagnosis and management they can all save sight in these patients over time.”

Our services help people living with vision loss to be independent. Please reach out to us for more information.

“What Seniors Need to Know About Vision Loss”

Posted in Eye Health and Preventing Disease | View Post
Young People Living With Visual Impairment Experience Disney
visual impairmentDisney movies have long been a significant part of children’s lives. However, many young people have never had the joy of watching famous Disney characters dancing across the screen, particularly kids living with visual impairment. But, that is about change!

Tactile Vision Graphics has a contract with the Disney Corporation to create an activity book for children featuring our most cherished Disney animated friends. The interactive materials feature pictures with raised outlines so children with visual impairments can experience the magic of Disney.

"The blind user will actually be able to see, for want of a better word, what Mickey Mouse looks like," said Emmanuel Blaevoet of Tactile Vision Graphics.

SDCB’s programs give the visually impaired the ability to travel, go to school, prepare meals and manage finances — on their own! Please contact us to learn more.

“Disney contracts with Windsor company to produce activity books for the blind”

Posted in visual impairment | View Post
What We Think We Know About Blindness
blindnessBlinding eye diseases can affect just about anyone; people living with blindness come from all walks of life. One photographer went on a journey to find out what we can learn from people living with vision loss. Michael Nye's book, "My Heart Is Not Blind: On Blindness and Perception" focuses viewer's’ attention on a diverse group of people living with blindness.

“My Heart Is Not Blind offers compelling accounts of survival, adaptation, and heightened understanding, inviting us to reconsider what we think we know about blindness in order to gain a deeper understanding of perception,” writes Trinity University Press.

SDCB’s vision rehabilitation program is recognized worldwide for its effectiveness in helping individuals return to an independent lifestyle. Please contact us to learn more.

“Blindness and Perception: Book, Exhibit Shine A Light On The Visual Experience”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Helping Others Go Anywhere With Blindness
blindnessJeffrey Crouch and his twin brother were born with blindness. It meant he could not have the luxury of a traditional education setting due to accessibility issues. Mr. Crouch attended the Great Lakes Cyber Academy, an online program; and, after graduation, he had hoped to earn a bachelor's degree in psychology. Unfortunately, a medical emergency would stand in his way, ultimately prompting Jeffrey to choose a new career path.

He now plans to begin a 9-month program to learn how to help other blind people regain their freedom.

"I'm going to Louisiana Center for the Blind to do an apprenticeship in orientation and mobility, which is teaching blind people how to use a white cane and have independence to travel anywhere they want," said Crouch

If vision loss is making your ability remain independent more difficult, please contact SDCB for help. We invite you to find out more about all the ways we can assist you in reaching your own highest level of independence.

“Flushing man doesn't let blindness stop him, plans to teach people like him”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Blindness Brings A Different Kind of Vision
blindnessBlindness is sure to make a person’s life more challenging in several ways, but some people are not willing to let vision loss stand in their way. Chris Downey, 45, spoke recently with Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes about life as an architect since he lost his vision. After brain tumor surgery left Downey completely blind a social worker spoke with him about career alternatives. However, Mr. Downey was determined to continue on his current trajectory.

Ten years following his operation, Downey has “a different kind of vision!”

We invite anyone living with vision loss in California to reach out to SDCB for support. Our services help the visually impaired live doing many of the same things they did while sighted.

“Architect goes blind, says he's actually gotten better at his job”

Posted in Blind and Vision Impaired Heroes Stories | View Post
Utilizing Adaptive Tools for The Blind
blindAnyone who can overcome adversity can be a source of great inspiration to younger generations and old. Individuals leading productive lives in spite of disabilities are no exception. Meet Millad Bokhouri, a 31-year-old who just graduated with a Master of Public Health Degree and Certificate in Healthcare Management. He accomplished such a feat even though he has been blind for the past six years. Bokhouri sat down for an interview recently and discussed how he manages, and some of the more common questions sighted people ask him about living with blindness.

People often tell Millad that it must be scary, to which he counters, “Of course it’s scary. But what they’re missing is they haven’t learned the adaptive tools a blind person utilizes in being fully independent.”

At the San Diego Center for the Blind, we offer counseling, classes & support groups, and vision rehabilitation services. Please contact us to learn more.

“For West Chester man, blindness not a burden”

Posted in Blind | View Post
National Glaucoma Awareness Month
glaucomaDid you know that roughly 120,000 Americans have lost their vision because of glaucoma? During National Glaucoma Awareness Month it is vital that you talk to your family about the condition. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness across the globe. Since glaucoma is practically asymptomatic, at first, it is critical to have regular, comprehensive eye examinations. The sooner glaucoma is spotted, the sooner treatment can commence. This January, we can all help raise awareness about this severe eye disease.

Please contact the San Diego Center for the Blind to learn more about our vision rehabilitation program. We can help you lead a more independent lifestyle.

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

Posted in Glaucoma | View Post
New Guide System for Vision Loss
vision lossThe “white cane” may one day have an upgrade. As scientists continue to trudge down the path toward autonomous cars, one man is fulfilling his dream of a “self-driving” cane. Kelvin Crosby is an entrepreneur who created the start-up "Smart Guider." The product:  a “self-driving” cane for the blind and visually impaired. It has a motorized wheel that can guide users around obstacles.

“If a car can go 65 miles-per-hour, why can’t I make a blind cane and put all of the technology in a stick? That’s where the vision came from,” said Crosby, who is legally blind due to Usher Syndrome Type II. “At the end of the day, if I want to be successful in life, I need to be independent.”

At SDCB, we offer vision rehabilitation services that rebuild independence. Please contact us to learn more.

Blind Entrepreneur Has Vision for Improved Guide System

Posted in Vision Loss | View Post
Identifying New Causes of Hereditary Blindness
blindnessMirabile dictu, a team of researchers discovered 261 new genes tied to blindness and other eye diseases. The findings could help in identifying new causes of hereditary blindness. The research is part of the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium, the goal of which is to single out a function for every gene in the mouse genome.

“In 2018, if someone has a form of hereditary blindness, we can identify the cause 50 to 75 percent of the time,” said Ala Moshiri, associate professor of ophthalmology and vision science in the School of Medicine and Eye Center at the University of California, Davis. “In the remaining cases, we know the mutation is there, but we don’t know where to look. Now eye centers that do DNA sequencing can call back patients and screen them for these new genes.”

The findings appear in Nature Communications Biology.

If you are need of assistance for blindness or visual impairment, please contact The San Diego Center for The Blind at your earliest convenience. Our comprehensive vision rehabilitation program is the next step to rebuilding your independence.

“Team Links 261 Genes to Blindness and Vision Problems”

Posted in Blindness | View Post
Telling the Story of the Blind Community
blindFran Underhill is a volunteer carer for Guide Dogs Queensland; along with her husband, she tends to service dogs when their person is away. But, Fran is also an author who recently penned a series of children's books about a blind teddy bear named Edward and his guide dog Tuesday. Sally Balwin, is the general manager of Braille House, a 121-year-old organization providing reading material to people who are blind. She says that there are not enough authors writing from the perspective of persons living with a disability.

"The blind community, or anybody with a disability, their story is important," says Balwin.

Please contact SDCB if you live in Southern California and are struggling with sight loss. We offer vision rehabilitation services that rebuild independence.

“Edward and Tuesday, a sightless teddy and his trusty guide dog, show blindness is no barrier to adventure”

Posted in Blind | View Post
Braille Institute of America Celebrates its 100th Anniversary
BrailleIt is a big year for the Braille Institute of America, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit founded in 1919. As the organization celebrates its 100th anniversary, it will also open the new Braille Institute facility, a high-tech 14,735-square-foot building that will continue to serve Orange County residents as it has done so since 1934. Moreover, three institute students were given the honor of riding atop the Lions Club International float at this year’s Rose Parade on January 1st.

“We’ve acquired land and different houses and put together regional operations there, but we really want a new, single center that’s state-of-the-art,” said Peter Mindnich, president of the Braille Institute of America. He added, “We’re preparing for our next century of service. When we talk about our students, we don’t see boundaries; rather, we imagine possibilities.”

Men and women living with blinding eye conditions can benefit from the many programs offered at the San Diego Center for The Blind.

“Braille Institute to mark centennial with new Anaheim Center and Rose Parade appearance”

Posted in Braille | View Post
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