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Identifying Signs of Diabetic Retinopathy

Identifying Signs of Diabetic RetinopathyNearly 8 million Americans are living with diabetic retinopathy, but most people don't know how to spot the signs of the condition, according to a new survey. Identifying the signs of diabetic retinopathy early on can prevent blindness. The survey showed that 64% did not know that high cholesterol increases the risk of developing the disorder. Of those polled, 48% didn't know that high blood pressure increased the risk of diabetic retinopathy.

"Diabetic retinopathy is a preventable cause of blindness, so early identification and treatment is critical," said Dr. Carl Awh, president of the American Society of Retina Specialists. "All health care providers who care for diabetic patients should emphasize the importance of controlling known risk factors and the need for regular dilated retina examinations to identify diabetic retinopathy at an early stage."

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

"Spotting the Signs of Diabetic Retinopathy"

Posted in Eye Disease - Diabetic Retinopathy | View Post

Providing Vision To People With Visual Impairment

Providing Vision To People With Visual ImpairmentIn August, the biotech company eSight met the European Union's health, safety, and environmental protection standards. Almost 2 million people in the UK are living with vision loss. In Europe, there are an estimated 30 million blind or partially sighted people, according to the European Blind Union.

eSight has announced its goal of providing vision to people with visual impairment globally. eSight 4 is an assistive technology option for eye care professionals to give sight to their low vision patients. The headset uses cameras with advanced sensors and proprietary algorithms to give people the gift of visual acuity.

"Since the launch of eSight 4 in North America, response from vision care specialists, distributors of assistive technology and the low vision community has exceeded our expectations," said Gregory Ogorek, eSight's Chief Operating Officer and President. "We've heard from people in Europe who can't wait to get their hands on the device. Our expansion into Europe is the first step in reaching a larger audience, so we can change lives for even more people around the world."

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

"Advanced assistive tech device to support 2 million people in the UK with sight loss"

Posted in Assistive Technology | View Post

Treating Macular Degeneration in the Elderly

Treating Macular Degeneration In The Elderly Picture of Eye With Macular DegenerationAs we age, eyesight is apt to diminish. Almost 30 percent of people over 75 years are affected by age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Macular degeneration is the most common cause of blindness in persons over 65 years of age. Currently, 196 million are affected by AMD.

While there is no effective methods of treating macular degeneration in the elderly, researchers at Ghent University are working hard to develop a remedy for the blinding disease. The scientists are testing eyedrops containing the protein Fructosamine-3-kinase (FN3K), a natural protein controlling glycation of proteins throughout the body.

If you are struggling with vision loss or blindness, please contact San Diego Center for the Blind.

"Blindness in the elderly: Finally a treatment in the near future?"

Posted in Eye Disease - Macular Degeneration | View Post

Raising Awareness About Blindness

Raising Awareness About Blindness Human Eye Receiving Check UpOn World Sight Day 2020, the UN Friends of Vision and others held the '2020 and Beyond: Accelerating Vision for Everyone.' The event was meant to raise awareness and global attention to blindness and vision impairment. Stewart Simonson presented WHO's work on vision impairment and blindness and emphasized the importance of integrated people-centered eye care for all.

"Participants voiced their concerns of disrupted services for eye care, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and stressed the need to strengthen health systems so that eye care becomes an integral part of health care service delivery to ensure all people obtain the eye care services they need without hindrance or financial hardship."

Please reach out to SDCB to learn how we can help you regain some independence.

"UN aims to bring awareness and global attention to blindness and vision impairment"

Posted in Businesses-Organizations Supporting Blind | View Post

Tips for Preventing Vision Loss

Tips for Preventing Vision LossSome of the most common causes of vision loss are avoidable; here are several tips for preventing vision loss. Avoiding certain behaviors and adopting a healthy diet can prevent eye disease from developing. You can also prevent existing eye problems from worsening. For instance, eye rubbing can worsen glaucoma.

Protect yourself from harmful UV rays, exercise, and eat a healthy diet. All of the aforementioned tips can lead to healthier eyes. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss. UV rays are believed to increase one's risk of developing AMD.

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

"Daily Tips for Healthier Eyes"

Posted in Eye Health and Preventing Disease | View Post

Common Causes of Vision Loss

vision lossTwo of the most common eye disorders that affect people as they age are cataracts and glaucoma. It can be helpful to know the difference between the two eye conditions. The most common cause of vision loss is cataracts; they occur when proteins in the lens break down and stick together—obstructing vision.

Glaucoma occurs when pressure builds up inside the eye. If an eye professional does not relieve the pressure, it can cause permanent damage to the optic nerve's fibers, causing vision loss. Both eye disorders can be detected during a routine eye exam; annual checkups can prevent vision loss.

Please contact SDCB if you require assistance with vision loss or blindness; we offer many programs and services that can help.

"What's the Difference Between Cataracts and Glaucoma?"
Posted in Vision Loss | View Post

Reversing Vision Loss

vision lossA study appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shines a light on a breakthrough that could lead to new therapies for common eye diseases that cause vision loss and blindness. Scientists at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation discovered a compound that could lead to treatments for retinopathy of prematurity and diabetic retinopathy.

"Dr. Schafer hypothesized that these cellular proteins might be an important 'off switch' to eliminate these vessels in a neonatal model," said Courtney Griffin, Ph.D., the senior author of the study. "This is a new way of approaching these diseases. The current methods—invasive surgeries or life-long injections into the eye—only prevent the disease from advancing and often have serious complications."

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

"Discovery holds potential for reversing vision loss"
Posted in Vision Loss | View Post

People Living With Vision Loss Thrive

vision lossAs with all things, misconceptions abound about vision loss. Some stereotypes and misperceptions can lead people living with sight loss to feel unsupported; they include but are not limited to the idea that a person using a white cane or guide dog is blind. Another stereotype is the belief that people living with vision loss can't play sports; many visually impaired people are involved in sports and exercise.

While it's true that living with visual impairments can make it more challenging to do certain things, it's never beneficial to assume someone can't do something. Partially sighted people enjoy movies and television, can work, and use technology.

"I use a range of assistive technology on a daily basis, which enables me to carry out tasks just like sighted people. It enhances my independence," said Holly Tuke, of Life of a Blind Girl blog.

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

"8 misconceptions about sight loss"

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

Combatting Vision Loss in All Ages

vision lossVision loss is most closely associated with old age. However, it can impact people's lives at any age; even babies can lose their vision. New research shows that it may be possible to restore vision in the young and the old, when vision loss is due to retinopathy or when blood vessels grow out of control in the retina. Diabetic retinopathy is when blood sugar levels are out of whack, causing new blood vessels to grow in the retina.

"Potentially, even patients with advanced disease progression could see their fortunes turned around," says senior study author Courtney Griffin, Ph.D.

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

"Scientists discover 'off switch' which may reverse vision loss in babies, adults"

Posted in Eye Disease - Diabetic Retinopathy | View Post

Blindness and Vision Loss in the Future

vision lossRupert Bourne, a Professor of Ophthalmology at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), and colleagues analyzed more than 500 studies to forecast the prevalence of blindness and vision loss in the coming decades. The research predicts that blindness and severe vision loss will impact nearly 900 million people globally by 2050. Vision impairment affects 338 million people today. Professor Bourne said:

"It is encouraging that age-adjusted prevalence of blindness has reduced over the past three decades, yet due to population growth, progress is not keeping pace with needs. We face enormous challenges in avoiding vision impairment as the global population grows and ages. One of the issues we faced when compiling this data is that for many countries, including the UK, there is a lack of accurate information due to the fact the population has not been officially surveyed for eye disease and its consequences. High quality, current data on eye health and also hearing loss, is needed so the UK can plan future services in the most effective way, improve outcomes for those affected, and develop a more effective public health strategy in these crucial areas. Without this, the provision of services is a postcode lottery as we don't understand the unmet need."

The findings will appear in The Lancet.

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

"Blindness and sight loss to double by 2050"

Posted in Vision Loss | View Post

Cataracts and Depressive Symptoms

cataractA three-year prospective study shows that cataracts were associated with an increased risk of depressive symptoms in the elderly. Interestingly, the association was not found with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or glaucoma. The research, conducted at the University of Ottawa's School of Epidemiology and Public Health, did not discover the cause of depressive symptoms in elderly cataracts patients.

"Some older adults are able to adapt well to vision loss, adopting a resilient attitude and positive coping skills," said Ellen Freeman, Ph.D., and colleagues. "However, other older adults struggle to accept and adapt to their vision loss and are at risk of depression."

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

"Cataracts Linked to Depressive Symptoms in Elderly"

Posted in Eye Disease | View Post

Finding a Cure for Blindness

blindnessBotond Roska, leader of Central Visual Circuits and Human Retinal Circuit Groups, found a cure for a condition that causes blindness in 1 in 4,000 children. Roska works at the University of Basel in Switzerland. In recognition of his efforts, Roska received the Körber Prize for European Science.

Roska may have found a way to repair the cell, allowing the eye to see and differentiate light. The Körber Prize will help Roska further his essential research. The prize includes €1,000,000 to be used for research and development in life and physical sciences.

SDCB helps adults who are living with vision loss and blindness; please contact us to learn more.

"Scientist finds cure for blindness"
Posted in Blindness | View Post

Preventing Vision Loss During a Pandemic

vision lossCOVID-19 has impacted every aspect of life, from grocery shopping to healthcare. Each day, hospitals are struggling to address the needs of tens of millions of people. Unfortunately, overburdened health care systems mean it's more challenging to access essential medical needs, such as eye health services.

An untold number of people require help with vision loss and blindness, and even higher numbers of individuals require eye exams. World Sight Day is tomorrow: October 8, 2020. NGO's are working tirelessly to provide access to vision screening and prevent avoidable blindness across India.

If you require help with vision loss or blindness, please contact SDCB to learn more about our programs and services.

"Amid COVID, virtual conference for eye care for underprivileged"

Posted in Vision Loss | View Post

Raising Public Awareness of Blindness

blindnessThe second Thursday of October is World Sight Day (October 8, 2020). The annual event was created by the SightFirst Campaign of Lions Club International Foundation (LCIF) in 1998. The goal is to raise public awareness of blindness and visual impairment.

For more than 20 years, Lions Clubs worldwide have used the observance to host eye health education programs. What's more, the organization conducts eye exams and restorative surgeries.

Please contact San Diego Center for the Blind if you would like assistance with vision loss or blindness. We offer several innovative programs.

"Marking Lions World Sight Day with SightFirst projects"

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired | View Post

South Africa Battles Vision Loss

vision lossAge-related eye disorders like macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of blindness. Diabetic eye complications, such as diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of vision loss worldwide. South Africans are facing an increasing risk of vision loss due to diabetes.

The number of diabetics in South Africa has increased at an alarming rate: from 1.3 million in 2010 to 4.5 million in 2019. Projections indicate that the number could climb to 6 million by 2030.

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

"Vision loss on the rise in South Africa"
Posted in Eye Disease - Diabetic Retinopathy | View Post

Blindness Awareness on World Sight Day

blindnessWorld Sight Day, Thursday October 8th, is a global event for raising blindness and vision impairment awareness. The theme of World Sight Day 2020 is "Hope In Sight." The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness wants to know when was the last time you had an eye exam? The IAPB writes:

"This World Sight Day, let's pledge to take an eye exam—and encourage others to do the same! We have the data and evidence. We also have projections into the future–an aging world population, myopia, and diabetic retinopathy are set to increase vision impairment in the coming decades."

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

"World Sight Day 2020"

Posted in Advocacy and Events | View Post

Preventing Childhood Vision Loss

vision lossBody: Many children are living with temporary or permanent vision loss. However, early detection can spare young people from developing severe vision problems. Knowing the signs of specific eye problems can prompt parents to act. Children exhibiting signs of vision loss should receive comprehensive eye exams to detect certain conditions before they worsen.

Even if a child isn't showing signs of ocular problems, they should still receive an annual eye examination between the ages of six and 17. Being proactive about your children's vision is exceptionally beneficial.

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

"Factors that can put kids at risk of vision problems"

Posted in Vision Loss | View Post

Bionic Eye Promising in Trials

a bionic eyeA team of researchers from Australia has built a bionic eye—"Gennaris." The creators say that it can reverse vision loss by using a brain implant. While the device has only been tested on sheep, scientists will begin human clinical trials soon. 

The researchers point out that optic nerve damage is the leading cause of blindness. Gennaris bypasses damaged optic nerves, allowing signals to be transmitted from the retina to the brain's vision center. The researchers said:

"Our design creates a visual pattern from combinations of up to 172 spots of light (phosphenes) which provides information for the individual to navigate indoor and outdoor environments, and recognize the presence of people and objects around them."

SDCB can help you or a loved one regain some independence. Please contact us to learn more.

Doctors Are Prepping for the World's First 'Bionic Eye' Implant

Posted in Assistive Technology, Research, Vision Loss Technology & Products | View Post

Vision Matters

a young woman's eye close upIt's National Eye Health Week in the U.K. As the name suggests, the observance is about the importance of vision and receiving eye exams regularly. Early detection can prevent vision loss. In the U.K, about 2 million people are living with severe vision loss. However, around half of this population's vision loss is avoidable.

"Vision really matters. Sight is the sense people fear losing the most, yet many of us don't know how to look after our eyes – National Eye Health Week aims to change all that!"

If you are struggling with vision loss, please contact SDCB to learn more about our programs and services.

National Eye Health Week: Vision Matters

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired | View Post

VSP Offers CE Courses

The VSP Global Premier Program will offer optometrists a free ADA-accredited virtual continuing education (CE) course on diabetes and prediabetes. Doctors with a better grasp of the risk factors, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment can help spare patients of diabetic-related blindness. 

Ninety-five percent of diabetes-related eye disease is preventable with early detection. Diabetes and prediabetes increase the risk for glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic macular edema, and diabetic retinopathy. Some 34.2 million Americans have diabetes, and 88 million have prediabetes.

Please contact SDCB if you would like to regain some of your independence. We offer many vision rehabilitation programs and services.

Premier Academy360 Partners with ADA

Posted in Eye Disease - Diabetic Retinopathy | View Post

Diabetes Can Lead to Blindness

Equipment used by diabeticsRobert Gabbay, M.D., Ph.D., FACP, shares that eye disease caused by diabetes “is still the leading cause of blindness among working-age adults. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that eye doctors are often the ones to spot the signs of diabetes. Once a patient verifies with their primary care doctor that they have diabetes, he or she must receive annual eye exams. 

Dr. Gabbay, the chief scientific and medical officer of the American Diabetes Association (ADA), shares that patients with poorly controlled diabetes can experience leaky blood vessels in the retina, which increases the risk of blindness. He says, “it can really happen quite suddenly, but the [underlying] process is slow and insidious.”

If you are living with blindness, please contact San Diego Center for the Blind to learn how we can help you regain some of your independence.

Diabetes Can Lead to Leaky Retinal Blood Vessels, Sudden Blindness

Posted in Vision Loss | View Post

Choroidal Melanoma and Vision Loss

a close up of an eyeChoroidal melanoma is cancer that affects a part of the eye; choroidal melanomas can cause vision loss. The tumors can also metastasize to other parts of the body, which can be fatal. It’s the most common eye cancer in adults.

Aura Biosciences, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, is developing a new class of tumor-targeted therapies for choroidal melanoma patients. Last week, the company announced the dosing of the first patient in a Phase 2 study evaluating the safety and efficacy of their lead product candidate (AU-011). If successful, their treatment could be the future first-line treatment for patients with the condition.

“I am honored to have enrolled the first subject in this exciting trial of AU-011 that, if approved, may offer patients the first targeted therapy that has the potential to not only control tumors but also to preserve vision in the majority of those treated — which could usher in a very beneficial paradigm shift in the management of this challenging disease,” commented Timothy S. Fuller, M.D. from Texas Retina Associates in Dallas, TX. “In addition, the suprachoroidal injection is a straightforward procedure that ocular oncologists should easily be able to perform.”

If you or someone you love is struggling with vision loss, SDCB may be able to help. Please contact us to learn more about our programs.

Aura Biosciences Announces Dosing of First Patient in Phase 2 Study Evaluating Suprachoroidal Administration of AU-011 in Patients with Choroidal Melanoma

Posted in Vision Loss | View Post

Eye Health Researcher Recognized

Close up photo of an eyDr. Carla Abbott’s combined intrigue with vision loss and physical fitness at a young age led her into the field of eye health. She investigates new treatments for retinal diseases, such as advanced retinitis pigmentosa. Dr. Abbott studied retinal circuitry for her postdoctoral at the University of Melbourne.  Afterward, she joined the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA).

At CERA, Dr. Abbott was part of the Bionic Vision Australia multidisciplinary team, which created a ‘bionic eye’ for patients with late-stage inherited retinal disease. Her work continues, now researching patients with age-related macular degeneration. Dr. Abbott’s hard work is being rewarded; she was recently named a veski inspiring women in STEM side by side participant, which supports emerging leaders in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics industry.

“I am passionate about the eye health sector, the importance of research and evidence-based practice and wish to contribute in a meaningful way to the growth and development of the sector into the future,” said Dr. Abbott.

Please contact San Diego Center for the Blind to learn more about our vision rehabilitation programs and services. We can help you regain some of your independence.

Retinal researcher has her eye on prize

Posted in Researchers and Leaders in Eye Disease | View Post

Support Needed for Blind and Visually Impaired

A child walks with a white caneResearchers know that people living with blindness face many obstacles that sighted people do not. Blind and visually impaired people are more likely to face unemployment, social isolation, and quality of life deficiencies. There is a dire need to cure blindness in our lifetime.

We can look at curing blindness in two ways: restoring lost sight or improving the life quality of men, women, and children living with vision loss. The latter is, currently, within reach, but it will take a collective effort to achieve.

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

Curing blindness: why we need a new perspective on sight rehabilitation

Posted in Blindness and Society | View Post

The Impact of Space Travel on Astronaut's Eyes

Those who dream of soaring through outer space one day may have cause for many concerns. A new study showing the effects of protracted adventures in space shows that some people may experience vision loss.

The study wasn't disheartening; the researchers found that space explorers returning home exhibited improved motor skills or dexterity, as well. The scientists examined eight Russian cosmonauts who spent seven months aboard the International Space Station.

"They actually acquired some kind of new motor skill, like riding a bike," Steven Jillings, the study's lead author.

San Diego Center for the Blind offers several programs and services for people living with low vision or vision loss. Contact us to learn more.

Space travel can lead to new motor skills but impaired vision, according to a new study of cosmonaut brains

Posted in Research, Vision Loss | View Post

Blind Musicians Thrive in Irish Folk Music

A blind musician holds a guitar in rolling Irish hillsideIn the 17th Century, being a musician was one of the only jobs an Irish person living with blindness could secure. Rather than relying on sheet music to learn how to play an instrument, music in Ireland is mostly an "oral music tradition."

Musicians hundreds of years ago engaged in one-to-one oral learning. In fact, sheet music was only used as a tool for maintaining an outline for Irish folk music; unlike Western classical music, Irish folk's complexity cannot be captured in notation. Learning the intricacies of Irish folk music can only be accomplished by ear, which opened the doors of opportunity for people living with blindness. The 1600s are long behind us, but the methods of learning have not changed.

The history of Irish folk music and the virtuosos that emerged over the centuries is rich and unique. In the 21st Century, the tradition is kept alive in The Irish Memory Orchestra and The Vision Symphony. Dr. Dave Flynn, composer and orchestra director, says:

"In 2012, I formed the Irish Memory Orchestra with the aim to create a uniquely Irish orchestra that would draw equally on Ireland's oral folk music tradition and the notated western classical tradition. Though I notate the music I compose for the orchestra, the musicians always play it by memory in concert. Some of the musicians are not classically trained, and as a result, they either cannot read music or have limited sight-reading skills. Therefore, I create audio learning files so they can learn the music by ear. I also give the musicians freedom to subtly improvise, within the traditions of Irish folk music, jazz, and popular music."

Please reach out to San Diego Center for the Blind if you would like to learn more about our vision rehabilitation services.

How Ireland's tradition of blind musicians led to a new vision for orchestral music

Posted in Visually Impaired | View Post

Veterans Can Get Assistance for Vision Loss

a woman gets an eye examMany Veterans are experiencing vision loss due to age-related issues or combat-inflicted brain injuries. More than a million Veterans are legally blind or live with low vision. Ophthalmologists and other eye care professionals at the VA are helping veterans protect their vision.

Older Veterans are living with age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, stroke, and diabetic retinopathy. Eye care specialists must identify patients at a higher risk of vision loss to prevent sight loss. Eye care professionals are administering routine eye exams and assisting Veterans living with blindness or low vision. Due to COVID-19, Veterans can get eye exams via tele-eye screenings.

SDCB helps people living with vision loss and blindness. Please contact us to learn more about our programs and services.

3 ways ophthalmologists are making a difference for Veterans

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired | View Post

Christine Hà on Master Chef and Life

Christine Ha stands in a kitchen wearing a white chef jacketChristine Hà lost her vision to the autoimmune condition neuromyelitis optical. Despite her blindness, Hà won Master Chef in 2012 and is the owner of The Blind Goat—a modern Vietnamese gastropub in Houston, Texas.

Hà started losing her vision in college; it took eight years for her sight to fully dissipate. Nevertheless, she remained steadfast and undeterred. She has a master's in creative writing; Hà says writing helped her heal:

"When I went through my bouts of vision loss and even temporary paralysis because of the neurological condition, I felt very alone. As I began to heal, I found catharsis in writing about my experience. It renewed my love for reading and writing."

Please reach out to San Diego Center for the Blind to learn more about our programs and services. We can help you regain some of your independence.

Blind MasterChef winner Christine Hà on Gordon Ramsay, Hong Kong and navigating the kitchen without her sight

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired | View Post

Macular Degeneration Research Shows Exercise Reduces Risk

A mouse on a wheelPreventing vision loss is vital, and there are many things you can do to protect your sight, such as eating healthy. Researchers also suggest that exercise could stave off the loss of vision tied to macular degeneration. A team of scientists at the University of Virginia found evidence that working out led to a reduction in blood vessel overgrowth in the eyes of laboratory mice. 

"The meta-analysis found that there was a very significant reduction in the prevalence of macular degeneration in people who had self-reported as having engaged in some kind of exercise," said Bradley Gelfand, assistant professor at the University of Virginia's Department of Ophthalmology.

Blood vessel overgrowth causes macular generation. Exercising before the onset of the condition may protect your vision. Age-related macular degeneration affects millions of men and women worldwide and is one of the leading causes of vision loss.

SDCB can provide you with a new sense of independence. Please contact us to learn more about our vision rehabilitation programs and services.

University researchers find connection between exercise and vision loss

Posted in Eye Health and Preventing Disease | View Post

Assistive Technology Devices and Genetic Breakthroughs

A person looks out a window in black and white imageBetween advances in assistive technology for the visually impaired and breakthroughs in genetic research, there have been great strides made in recent years towards independence for people who are blind or visually impaired.

While assistive technology isn't a cure, it does allow for greater independence. Tech such as the Aira Glasses or even VoiceOver features on the iPhone are helping people take on tasks independently that may have previously been difficult. 

As for research advances, scientists have found genetic information that may help to cure visual impairments that are genetic. This would be a huge benefit to a large group of people who are visually impaired. It's not an imminent cure, but the possibilities are hopeful.  

Eye health is a chief priority at SDCB; please contact us to learn more about our programs and services.

Why Science Is Closer Than You Think To Beating Blindness

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Living With Vision Loss in a Pandemic 

Living With Vision Loss in a pandemicNot all physical impairments can be identified by strangers. Mary Mammoliti shares her experiences during the pandemic as a visually impaired person. She has only limited central vision and often relies on a sighted guide for outings. 

She has had rude comments made when she has come too close to someone without seeing them in our socially distanced world. Employees at stores have tried to keep her husband and guide from entering with her because of limits on the number of people from a household allowed into a store. She has been told she's not allowed to hold the hand of her guide. 

She urges everyone to be kind. To lead with kindness. To consider there may be something you can't "see" that is keeping someone from being able to independently follow the guidelines being set out for safety. 

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

"Are You Blind?" Navigating a Socially Distanced World With A Visual Impairment

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Assistive Technology For Blind Musicians

A director holds a baton to direct an orchestraKyungho Jeon has always loved music. As a child, his teachers warned that he wouldn't be able to join an orchestra because he wouldn't be able to see the conductor's movement and directions. Kyungho is blind. 

But he loved music too much to give up. He became an accomplished marimba soloist, but still couldn't join an orchestra. 

To overcome this obstacle, Kyungho joined with Human Instruments to design a haptic baton that would allow blind and visually impaired musicians to follow the movement of the conductor while not changing anything that the rest of the orchestra or conductor normally do. 

San Diego Center for the Blind has a long history of helping people regain their independence. Please contact SDCB to learn more about our programs and services.

A blind musician can feel a conductor's movement, thanks to a high-tech baton

Posted in Accessibility | View Post

Supporting Family Losing Eyesight

A man with glasses and a backwards baseball cap hugs his granddaughter outsideWhen a parent or family member is experiencing vision loss, there are many ways you can be supportive. From helping with transportation to tracking down resources that will help them continue to live independently, there are ways to help. 

It may be that supporting the person through learning new skills, using adaptive technology or helping to modify their home to keep it safe and accessible will be welcome. It's also possible your parent will just need a listening ear.

San Diego Center for the Blind offers Southern Californians many vision rehabilitation services. If you have a parent struggling with vision loss, we invite you to contact us to learn more.

How to Help a Parent Cope with Vision Loss

Posted in First Steps After Vision Loss | View Post

Blind Travel Easier with AI 

Would a suitcase shaped robot help you feel more confident traveling as a person with visual impairment? A group of companies in Japan thinks it will! 

The idea came to fruition thanks to a visually impaired staff member at IBM in Japan who wondered how to make the travel experience easier for people with visual impairments.

The companies have joined together to create an "AI suitcase" that would give directions, alert the user to approaching danger, locations they want to visit and more. They plan to roll out the device this year indoors before refining the technology for outdoor use. 

San Diego Center for the Blind has a long history of helping people regain their independence. Please contact SDCB to learn more about our programs and services.

This AI suitcase could help visually-impaired people to travel

Posted in Accessibility | View Post

Inclusive Art Welcomes All Subjects

Artist Yvonne Shortt is visually impaired. She has noticed a distinct lack of representation of people like her in works of art. Though many museums and art worlds are trying to become more inclusive with specific programs allowing people to touch works of art or experience art in a different manner, there are few art subjects who are blind or visually impaired. 

About her work, Yvonne says, "I want my niece to know she's not alone. I want to know I'm not alone. There are millions who use a cane or dog as guides and I'm painting for them, those who come in contact with them, and myself." 

Her work can be seen in New York. 

Please contact SDCB if you would like assistance with visual impairment. We offer many programs and services.

Visual impairment at Subjects

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired | View Post

LEGO Creates Braille Bricks 

A sketch of a jumble of colorful LEGO blocksAfter being asked by multiple organizations for blind and visually impaired, LEGO has taken the step to develop Braille bricks.

The bricks will include every letter, number and symbol used in Braille to help children learn to read Braille. 

A recent study showed that less than 10% of children who are blind are learning Braille. Many of the current tools available for children to learn on are expensive or ineffective. LEGO Braille bricks will be something many children are already familiar with and will have an affordable price tag! 

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

LEGO is releasing sets of Braille bricks for visually impaired children

Posted in Braille | View Post

Breakthrough in Age Related Vision Loss

A close up image of nerves, a tangle of confusionFor the first time, stem cells have been identified in the region of the optic nerve.

Researchers believe these cells are present in the optic nerve at birth. One researcher says, "without these cells, the fibers may lose their resistance to stress, and begin to deteriorate, causing damage to the optic nerve, which may ultimately lead to glaucoma."

Understanding these cells and the role they play may ultimately lead to better treatment options for age-related vision loss. 

Eye health is a chief priority at SDCB; please contact us to learn more about our programs and services.

Researchers discover stem cells in the optic nerve that enable preservation of vision

Posted in Research, Vision Loss | View Post

Does Screen Time for Kids Impact Vision? 

two little boys sit together watching TV, likely increasing screen time during the pandemicMany parents are wondering about the impact screen time has on the eyes of their children. With more online learning, parents working from home while managing childcare and the general situation at the moment, many kids are using screens more than normal. 

A pediatric optometrist with Texas Children's Hospital shares some thoughts on how to protect your children's vision while using screens. She suggests implementing the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes look 20 feet in the distance for at least 20 seconds. This helps to break the "stare" that so many of us fall into when using screens and helps with dry eyes as well. 

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

Is additional screen impacting eye health of kids? 

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Eye Health During Pandemic

a young woman with long brown hair stands in front of a wall of eye glassesVision experts have had to adapt quickly to address patients' needs during this unprecedented time. COVID-19 has put everyone's safety at risk and led to a more significant reliance on virtual eye health consultations. A group of optometrists has shared the steps being taken to protect their patients' eyesight and overall well-being. Optometrist Nikki Sharma says:

"We have introduced a color-coded triaging system to help us identify patients who require urgent/essential eye care and those who need remote care consultations. Once an appointment is booked, my colleagues contact the patient to ask the relevant COVID-19 questions and triage them. The color of the slot in the diary is altered from green (pre-triaged) to blue (triaged), making it easier to identify patients who need to be contacted."

"When the patient attends their appointment, they are asked the COVID-19 questions again. The triage form is handed to me prior to the appointment. This is useful as I can highlight the patients who need extra care. The initial triage form was filled with numerous questions and required an extensive phone conversation, however after some rejigging we have been able to create a form which is still thorough, but more concise and less time-consuming. Working together on all of the new processes, including the triaging system, we've shown what we are capable of."

Eye health is a chief priority at SDCB; please contact us to learn more about our programs and services.

We need to bring eye care into the 21st century

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Use UV Protective Sunglasses for Eyes

A young woman wearing sunglasses looks away from the cameraMany Americans think of sunglasses as fashion accessories, but they are so much more. It's vital to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays that can cause sunburns and vision loss. Wearing sunglasses that prevent 100 percent of UV rays can prevent eye problems like cataracts.

"So many people right now think it's the fashion but it's the preventative behind the fashion. We want to make sure we are preventing cataracts and macular degeneration, things like that," said Melissa Zalewski with The Rib Mountain Eye Center.

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

Taking care of your eyes in the summer

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Researching Cataract Eye Surgery and Diabetic Retinopathy

A close up view of an eye held open for eye surgeryA new study delves into the connection between cataract surgery and diabetic retinopathy with type 2 diabetics.

Yih-Chung Tham, Ph.D., of the Singapore Eye Research Institute and colleagues found that common surgery could increase patients' risk of developing the condition. The research paper, "Association of Cataract Surgery With Risk of Diabetic Retinopathy Among Asian Participants in the Singapore Epidemiology of Eye Diseases Study," appears in JAMA Network Open.

"The findings of this population-based cohort study suggest that prior cataract surgery was associated with a higher risk of developing DR among individuals with diabetes. Further validation is warranted to confirm this association," the researchers wrote.

Please contact SDCB if you would like assistance with visual impairment. We offer many programs and services.

Cataract Surgery Increases Risk of Diabetic Retinopathy

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Eye Exams Critical for Early Diagnosis

A woman's bright blue eye up closeMacular degeneration is a leading cause of blindness among the elderly. Often irreversible, annual eye examinations can make all the difference in protecting you or a loved one from experiencing vision loss. Researchers led by Baylor College have created a plan for tackling one of the most common forms of macular degeneration.

"Various combination therapies have been explored in clinical trials. For example, targeting PDGF (Fovista) or the angiopoietin pathway. However, no major breakthrough has been reported. In fact, a phase III trial combining anti-VEGF and PDGF failed to demonstrate improved efficacy," said co-corresponding study author Dr. Yingbin Fu, associate professor and Sarah Campbell Blaffer Endowed Chair of Ophthalmology at Baylor.

San Diego Center for the Blind has a long history of helping people regain their independence. Please contact SDCB to learn more about our programs and services.

Combating drug resistance in age-related macular degeneration

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Hogweed Causing Blindness

Hogweed is a large plant with a white flower that can grow to 12 feet highOn numerous occasions, we have warned our readers about a weed that found its way to America and causes dermal burns and blindness. The Giant Hogweed is cropping up in several states and should be approached with severe caution. The invasive species is relatively unmistakable but can be confused with a different large plant (cow parsnip). It can grow 12 feet tall.

If you suspect that the weed has found its way to your community, please contact professionals to remove it safely.

SDCB can help you or a loved one regain your independence following vision loss.

Giant hogweed can cause blisters and lead to blindness if touched

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Research Into CVI In Progress

A brain scan illustrates how the brain doesn't understand what the eyes see with CVIBrain-based visual impairment is the focus of new research from the National Eye Institute. Millions of young Americans contend with vision loss; fortunately, some men and women dedicate their lives to helping our youth overcome the same. Ellen Mazel, M.Ed. is one of those individuals. While vision loss is most often associated with ocular conditions, many people's deteriorating vision is rooted in the brain. 

Such cases are referred to as cerebral (cortical) visual impairment (CVI). Studies show that CVI is a leading cause of visual impairment in children worldwide and is mostly ignored or explained as a behavioral health problem.

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

Vision loss in children whose eyesight may be 20/20 requires new diagnostic and teaching strategies

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Research Connects Eye Health and Vitamin A

A woman looks into a machine in an eye clinicNew research shows that a Vitamin A analog may help scientists develop effective treatments for vision loss associated with early diabetic retinopathy. The study indicates that chromophore 9-cis-retinal can dramatically improve visual function in mice with diabetes.

Diabetic retinopathy is an eye condition that can result in vision loss from damage to the blood vessels in a person's retina. However, people with diabetes can still experience visual impairment without any apparent blood vessel damage.

The findings, published in The American Journal of Pathology, show that early changes in vision in diabetes are probably caused by vitamin A deficiency in the retina.

San Diego Center for the Blind offers Southern Californians many vision rehabilitation services; we invite you to contact us to learn more.

Vitamin A may help treat early vision loss in diabetes

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Dangerous Hand Sanitizers Can Cause Sudden Vision Loss

A hand pumps hand sanitizer into a waiting handWearing face masks and carrying around hand sanitizers is the new normal for tens of millions of men and women worldwide. As the number of people contracting COVID-19 increases along with the death toll, we must do everything in our power to protect against contracting the deadly virus.

Many of you may remember that we all faced challenges acquiring hand sanitizers for months. Companies around the globe in countries with little industrial oversight seeking to meet the growing demand have put people at risk of blindness and death.

Safe hand sanitizers are made with isopropanol (ethyl alcohol). However, in Mexico, one can buy methanol-based hand sanitizers or rubs. Unlike isopropanol, methanol is toxic to humans and can cause blindness or death when absorbed through the skin.

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

NCDHHS warns of methanol-contaminated hand sanitizers that can cause blindness, death

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Correcting Color Blindness With Glasses

Numbers hidden in patterns - an eye test for color blindnessMillions of Americans contend with color blindness every day; around 8 percent of men and .5 percent of women of Northern European descent. Can you picture what life would be like if you couldn't see the color variations of a beautiful sunset? It's the reality of those living with color blindness. However, advances in technology have led to the creation of special glasses that can correct the disability. The most typical form of the condition, which prevents men and women from distinguishing between specific colors, is red-green color blindness. 

"In the retina, there are two types of cells that detect light," author David Turbert explains. "They are called rods and cones. Rods detect only light and dark and are very sensitive to low light levels. Cone cells detect color and are concentrated near the center of your vision. There are three types of cones that see color: red, green, and blue. The brain uses input from these cone cells to determine our color perception."

Please contact SDCB if you are facing vision loss challenges to learn more about our programs and services.

Glasses that correct color blindness give Fargo man a bright new lease on life

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Planning A Wedding While Blind

A couple stand in a doorway dressed for their weddingThe most special day of one's life for the majority of adults is understandably their wedding day. Naturally, preparing for such an event is demanding and stressful; everyone wants to get hitched without any hitches. You want everything to be perfect from the catering to the cake, which can take hundreds of hours of preparation. Planning a wedding is challenging enough, now imagine having to organize it while living with blindness.

A childhood accident led to juvenile idiopathic arthritis, explains Sassy. Initially, the problem only impacted her life physically. However, arthritis can affect one's vision; Sassy's condition resulted in blindness. Nevertheless, Sassy would not be deterred from planning her special day. Sassy says:

"My doctor warned me that the arthritis could affect my sight in the future – it attacks organs as well as joints – so every six months I went for a check-up. I first noticed my vision was blurring in 2007, and my eyes became inflamed and watery."

If you are living with blindness or vision loss in Southern California, please contact San Diego Center for the Blind.

From dress to venue, I organised my wedding without being able to see
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Visually Impaired Artist Shares Her Story

visually impaired artist sits on a couch beside a reflective half-wallCOVID-19 has changed the lives of billions of people in a myriad of ways. All of us have been impacted in one way or another—both in good ways and bad. For artist Sandy Goldberg, whose vision loss in the right eye changes how she sees the world, the pandemic has helped her to be okay with embracing her condition publicly.  

Most people see the world in three dimensions. However, having visual impairment in one eye can cause one only to see things in two dimensions or flat. Goldberg is one of those people. She was born with no vision in her right eye. She was always inclined to keep her 2D reality from her curators, but the Coronavirus pandemic has changed her opinion on the matter.

"I think if I revealed it, people would see it maybe as a disability," said Goldberg. "I'm supposed to help others to see when they could mistakenly think I can't see myself."

At SDCB, we offer many programs and services to improve the lives of men and women living with vision loss. Please reach out to us to learn more.

Eyesight Is Her 'Superpower': How The Pandemic Led An Artist To Publicly Embrace Her Limited Vision

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Exercise and Vision Loss Prevention

Woman in a kayak looking towards mountains in the distanceStaying healthy can be achieved by eating right and regular exercise. While Americans are mostly unable to get to the gym these days owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, there are many ways you can stay fit at home and outdoors. Adopting an exercise routine may help protect against vision loss as well.

Researchers at the University of Virginia have sought to better understand the link between exercise and vision loss prevention. Professor Bradley Gelfand studies how a little bit of exercise can protect against the number one cause of vision loss in America—macular degeneration. Ten million Americans are estimated to have macular degeneration. 

"We had two experimental groups. One group had access to exercise ad libitum, or as much as the subject wanted. And another group did not have access to an exercise wheel," said Gelfand.

Please contact San Diego Center for the Blind if you are struggling with macular degeneration or any other type of vision loss. We offer several services and programs that can improve your quality of life.

Exercise can slow or prevent macular degeneration

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