Browse By Topic: In the News

New Research: A Potential Eye Drop Treatment Could Take the Place of Injectable Drugs for Wet Macular Degeneration

Logo of the Association forResearch in Vision &Ophthalmology Currently, there are a number of treatments for wet age-related macular degeneration, including the drugs Lucentis, Eylea, and Avastin, administered by injection with a very small needle directly into the eye after the


New Genetic Research in Diabetes Identifies a Protein That May Stop or Reduce Abnormal Blood Vessel Growth in the Retina

A retina with diabeticretinopathy New genetic research in diabetes, led by a team from Harvard Medical School, has identified a potential new therapy targeting RUNX1 (explained below) that significantly reduced abnormal blood vessel growth in the retina, which is a hallmark of advanced diabetic eye disease. Although the research has been conducted only with "in vitro" (explained below) laboratory


Is It Possible to Identify and Treat Cell Damage from Glaucoma Much Earlier in the Course of the Disease? New Research Says Maybe

Glaucoma often is called "the sneak thief of sight" for good reason: Many people are unaware that glaucoma has few symptoms or warning signs in its early stages. Early treatment for glaucoma can sometimes (but not always) slow the progression of the disease. However, as of yet, there is no cure for glaucoma. Now, researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified a biomarker (explained below) that seems to be linked to cell damage in the eye from glaucoma. According to study co-author Rajendra S. Apte, M.D., Ph.D.,


May Is Healthy Vision Month: Make Your Eye Health a Priority and Learn How to Protect Your Vision

May is Healthy Vision Month, a national eye health observance established by the National Eye Institute (NEI) in May 2003. NEI is part of the National Institutes of Health, an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. This year, NEI is encouraging women to make eye health a priority and has designated four women as ambassadors – including VisionAware's Audrey Demmitt – who share their


The FDA Approves Lucentis for the Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy

A retina with diabeticretinopathy On April 17, 2017, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted approval to the injectable drug Lucentis (generic name ranibizumab) for the treatment of proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR), a serious vision-related complication of diabetes. Previously, the FDA approved Lucentis for the treatment of diabetic


New Research: Emotional Support and Physician Communication Must Accompany Medical Treatment for Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Although the advent of anti-VEGF therapy (explained below), administered via eye injection with Lucentis, Eylea, or Avastin, has revolutionized the treatment (but not cure) of wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), there remain a number of challenges associated with


H.R.2050: The Medicare Demonstration of Coverage of Low Vision Devices Act of 2017 Needs Your Advocacy and Support

Dome of the U.S. Capitol The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Public Policy Center has announced the reintroduction of federal legislation that seeks to establish a nationwide Medicare demonstration project to evaluate the fiscal impact of a permanent change in Medicare coverage that would, for the first time, provide reimbursement for low vision devices. The AFB Public Policy Center, in Washington, DC, collaborates with policy


Do the Brains of Blind Persons "Rewire" or Adjust to Significantly Enhance the Other Senses? New Research Says Yes

An age-old question that surfaces regularly in my work is this one: "Is it true that blind people develop super senses, like extra-sensitive hearing or touch, to compensate for not being able to see?" A variation of the "super senses" question asks this: "Are the other senses truly enhanced, or do people without the sense of sight – and the input it provides – learn to pay closer attention to information received through the other senses?" Indeed, researchers, scholars, and philosophers have addressed this elusive question for many years: In 1749,


Understanding Our Shifting Health Insurance Landscape – and What It Means for People with Vision Loss

Rebecca Sheffield, Ph.D. Guest blogger Rebecca Sheffield, Ph.D., is the Senior Policy Researcher with the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. The AFB Public Policy Center collaborates with policy makers in Congress and the Executive Branch to ensure that Americans with vision loss have equal rights and opportunities to fully participate in society. She also is the author of two important and helpful Public Policy Center publications:


Readers Beware: In a Dangerous and Unregulated Stem Cell Treatment, Patients Lose Sight After Stem Cells Are Injected Into Their Eyes

A retina with wet AMD Of all the eye research developments reported on the VisionAware blog, it is stem cell research for eye disease that generates the most inquiries from our readers. Many readers request information about stem cells, assuming that this is an established and widely-performed treatment for eye disease; others ask for help in finding a doctor who will administer "stem cell treatments." In response to these inquiries, my message is always the same: "Although stem cell research for eye disease has produced a small number of interesting results, it is in its very earliest safety-testing


American Foundation for the Blind Leadership Conference Recap: Some Critical Issues for Older Persons with Vision Loss

Guest blogger Kay McGill (pictured at left recording a Public Service Announcement) is the manager of Project Independence: Georgia Vision Program for Adults Age 55 and Over. The Georgia Vision Program is administered by the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency and provides the following services to people who are at least 55 years old and have vision loss or a combined vision and hearing loss: comprehensive


What Is It Like to Have Low Vision? A New Sight Simulator Can Help You Understand

How the world can lookwith low vision A query I receive frequently from readers is how to describe their low vision or vision loss to fully sighted family members and friends, who may find it difficult to understand how functional vision can vary significantly from one day to the next, or from daytime to nighttime. While some basic explanations do exist (cataracts = blurriness; glaucoma = "tunnel" vision), they rarely suffice, and accurately describing what one can – and cannot – see has remained an elusive and unsatisfying quest. Now, however,


What the Oscars Can Learn from VisionAware About Print Legibility and Effective Lighting for Reading

As many news outlets have reported by now, actors Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced the incorrect Best Picture winner at the 89th Academy Awards ceremony on February 26, 2017. Mr. Beatty opened the envelope and Ms. Dunaway read the winning picture as La La Land instead of Moonlight, the actual winner. How did this happen? Many explanations have been advanced, including human error by a tweeting and distracted Brian Cullinan, the PricewaterhouseCoopers accountant who handed the incorrect envelope to Warren Beatty backstage. Another possibility, however, is that the envelope – which was redesigned this year – was difficult to read, due


New Research: Gene Editing as a Potential Treatment for Wet Macular Degeneration

At present, there are a number of current treatments for wet age-related macular degeneration, including the drugs Lucentis, Eylea, and Avastin, administered by injection with a very small needle directly into the eye after the surface has been numbed. There have also been a number of treatments that have proven to be inconclusive or unsuccessful after undergoing clinical trials, including


New Macular Degeneration Research: Will My AMD Affect Both Eyes? If So, How Soon Will That Happen?

Two questions asked most frequently by readers about age-related macular degeneration (AMD) involve (a) individual risk for the disorder and (b) the likelihood of eventual involvement of both eyes. In response, several recent studies have attempted to address these critically important questions: Data from the ongoing Blue Mountains Eye Study (BMES) and the


Clinical Trial Update: Squalamine Eye Drops for Wet Macular Degeneration

A retina with wet AMD Many readers have been following closely the development of Squalamine Eye Drops for wet age-related macular degeneration, hoping that a self-administered at-home eye drop could reduce, or even eliminate, the need for monthly or as-needed eye injections. Unfortunately, a clinical trial designed to test this concept has produced disappointing results: Squalamine Eye Drops failed to reduce the average number of


New Research: Ebola Survivors Have Ongoing Risk of Eye Disease, Even When the Initial Outbreak Has Concluded

Although worldwide attention was focused on the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, considerably less attention – until now – has been paid to the eye and vision complications resulting from the disease. This month, a group of researchers from the United States, Liberia, and Uganda have published data describing the ocular findings, visual impairment, and associated complications of Ebola in a group of survivors in Monrovia, Liberia. They conclude that "survivors of Ebola virus disease (EVD) are at risk for uveitis (explained below), which may lead to eye


New Glaucoma Research from the United Kingdom: Could a Glaucoma Treatment also Help Prevent Alzheimer's Disease?

Two recent United Kingdom-based eye research projects have begun to explore potential (but not yet proven) links between retinal disease and beta-amyloid proteins that accumulate in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease. The first project, from the University of Southampton, England, investigated the potential role of beta-amyloid protein in the development of macular degeneration. The second project (explained below), from researchers at University


Our Readers Want to Know: What Is the Progress of Stem Cell Research for Eye Disease? Answer: It Has a Very Long Way to Go

Logo of the Association forResearch in Vision andOphthalmology Of all the eye research developments reported on the VisionAware blog, it is stem cell research for eye disease that generates the most inquiries from readers. Many readers request information about how to join a stem cell clinical trial, or find a doctor who will perform stem cell treatments. In response to these inquiries, my message is always the same: "Although stem cell research has produced interesting results, it is in its very earliest stages and must be subjected to additional, longer-term, rigorous study and clinical trials, encompassing many more years of research. Success in this


Clinical Trial Update: An Unsuccessful Trial of Combination Drugs Fovista and Lucentis for Macular Degeneration

A retina with wet AMD Although the advent of anti-VEGF therapy (explained below), administered via eye injection with Lucentis, Eylea, or Avastin, has revolutionized the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), there are still a


New Research from Google Labs: Using Machine Learning to Detect Diabetic Eye Disease

The highly regarded Research Labs at Google are charged with "tackling the most challenging problems in computer science and related fields," including eye care and ophthalmology. A groundbreaking project, announced in 2014 and still in development, was the creation of a prototype "smart" contact lens to monitor blood glucose levels continuously for people with diabetes.


A Powerful New Report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine: Making Eye and Vision Health an Imperative for All Americans

The National Academiesof Sciences, Engineering,and Medicine logo Several recent United States-based eye and vision research projects, including the Los Angeles Latino Eye Study and the Philadelphia Glaucoma Detection and Treatment Project, have highlighted significant disparities in the quality and equity of eye care throughout the country, including barriers within the health care and public


What's New in iOS 10 Accessibility for Blind, Low Vision, and Deaf-Blind Users Part 1: Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and the Coordinator of the New York Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program, administered by the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. The Program provides no-cost communication and technology training to persons with significant combined vision and hearing loss who meet federal income guidelines. Equipment can include smartphones, tablets, computers, screen readers, braille readers, and adaptive


What's New in iOS 10 Accessibility for Blind, Low Vision, and Deaf-Blind Users Part 2: Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and the Coordinator of the New York Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program, administered by the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. The Program provides no-cost communication and technology training to persons with significant combined vision and hearing loss who meet federal income guidelines. Equipment can include smartphones, tablets, computers, screen readers, braille readers, and


New and Ongoing Research: A Drug-Dispensing Contact Lens that Effectively Lowers Eye Pressure Associated with Glaucoma

Several recent eye research projects have addressed the potential of contact lenses as a way to (a) deliver ocular drugs directly to the eye, (b) measure blood glucose levels, and (c) monitor intraocular (within the eye) pressure. Two prominent examples are the FDA-approved Triggerfish contact lens, which monitors intraocular pressure related to glaucoma, and


Updates from the London Project to Cure Blindness: Stem Cell Research for Wet and Dry Macular Degeneration

Please note: This is an older post and there have significant challenges in stem cell research for eye disease since this was published. For more current information, see Our Readers Want to Know: What Is the Progress of Stem Cell Research for Eye Disease? Answer: It Has a Very Long Way to Go. The London Project to Cure Blindness was established ten years ago in the United Kingdom with the goal of


New Research Exploring Public Attitudes About Eye and Vision Health: Losing Vision Is Equal to Losing Hearing, Memory, Speech, or a Limb

New survey research from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Chicago that explores Americans' attitudes toward (a) the importance of eye health, (b) concerns about losing vision, (c) support for eye health research, and (d) awareness of eye diseases and risk factors has also revealed that the loss of eyesight is considered by many survey respondents to be "the worst ailment that could happen … relative to losing memory, speech, hearing, or a limb." According to the authors, "These findings emphasize the importance of focusing on the preservation of eye health and public support for vision research across all ethnic and racial groups in


New Research: Neuroscientists Regenerate Damaged Optic Nerves in Mice, May Lead to Future Treatment for Glaucoma or Other Optic Nerve Disorders

A group of United States-based neuroscience researchers has used a combination of gene therapy and visual stimulation to create a partial regeneration of damaged optic nerves in blind laboratory mice. Although this research is in its earliest stages and has been performed only with mice, the researchers are "cautiously optimistic" that these findings could one day be used to treat adult patients with vision loss caused by problems with the eye-brain connection – the optic nerve – such as


Notes on Blindness: A Remarkable Film About Professor John Hull's Experience of Blindness Receives Strong Reviews

"Vision, in ordinary circumstances, is seamless and gives no indication of the underlying processes on which it depends. It has to be decomposed, experimentally or in neurological disorders, to show the elements that compose it." ~Oliver Sacks, M.D., In the River of Consciousness Touching the Rock: An Experience of Blindness Touching the Rock: An Experience of Blindness, first published in 1990, is the


New Research Indicates Long-Term Positive Effects of Intensive Blood Sugar Control on the Progression of Diabetic Retinopathy

New diabetes and diabetic retinopathy research indicates that people with type 2 diabetes, who intensively controlled their blood sugar levels during the landmark Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) Trial Eye Study, cut their risk of diabetic retinopathy in half in a follow-up analysis, called the ACCORD Follow-on


New Research: The Number of Older Americans with Visual Impairment or Blindness Is Expected To Double By 2050

According to new demographic research addressing blindness, vision impairment, and low vision, the number of older Americans who have visual impairments or are blind is projected to double by 2050. This important – and urgent – research, entitled Visual Impairment and Blindness in Adults in the United States: Demographic and Geographic Variations from 2015 to 2050, has been published "online first" in the May 19, 2016 edition of JAMA


New Research: Automobile Side Windows Do not Offer Sufficient Protection from UV Light, Increase the Risk of Cataracts and Other Eye Diseases

United States government regulations require automobile windshields to be made with laminated glass to lessen potential injury when shattered. The combination of laminated glass and extra-thick glass in front windshields provides protection against ultraviolet-A radiation. However, new research from California indicates that automobile side windows do not provide the same level of protection against ultraviolet-A radiation compared to the front-facing windshield, which may increase the risk of cataracts and skin cancer for frequent drivers. In addition, there is


During Older Americans Month 2016, AFB Initiates the 21st Century National Agenda on Aging and Vision Loss

This year, the theme for Older Americans Month is "Blaze a Trail." During Older Americans Month 2016, the Administration for Community Living is using this opportunity to raise awareness about important issues facing older adults and to show the ways that older Americans are advocating for themselves, their peers, and their communities. In addition, VisionAware is highlighting the American Academy of Ophthalmology's new resource, Eye Care for Older


Meet Rebecca Sheffield, Ph.D., Senior Policy Researcher, American Foundation for Blind Public Policy Center

Rebecca Sheffield, Ph.D., is a Senior Policy Researcher with the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. The AFB Public Policy Center collaborates with policy makers in Congress and the Executive Branch to ensure that Americans with vision loss have equal rights and opportunities to fully participate in society. She also authors two important and helpful Public Policy Center publications:


Glaucoma News: Researchers Convert Stem Cells into Retinal Ganglion Cells for Future Targeted Glaucoma Treatment

Using stem cells derived from human skin cells, university researchers from Indiana and Connecticut have demonstrated the ability to turn stem cells into retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), which are the neurons that conduct visual information from the eye to the brain. Their research goal is ultimately to develop therapies that can prevent, slow down, or cure the degenerative processes that accompany glaucoma and other optic nerve injuries. Please note: Although this stem cell research has produced interesting results thus far, it is in its very earliest stages and


H.R.729: The Medicare Demonstration of Coverage for Low Vision Devices Act of 2015 Needs Your Advocacy and Support

Mark Richert, Esq., Director, and Rebecca Sheffield, Ph.D., Senior Policy Researcher, from the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Public Policy Center have announced the introduction of new federal legislation that seeks to establish a nationwide Medicare demonstration project to evaluate the fiscal impact of a permanent change in Medicare coverage that would, for the first time, provide reimbursement for low vision devices. The AFB


During Black History Month: Learn about Two Pioneering African-American Educators in the Blindness Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field honors, at present, 56 individuals who were pioneers in the blindness field and shaped the field's history, philosophy, knowledge, and skills, while providing outstanding service to people who were blind and visually impaired. The Hall of Fame, which belongs to the entire field of blindness, is located within, and is curated by, the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) in Louisville, Kentucky. You can learn more about APH's long and storied history


VisionAware Response: The White House Conference on Aging Final Report

Guest blogger Priscilla (Pris) Rogers, Ph.D. is the Program Manager for VisionAware and co-author of Aging and Vision Loss: A Handbook for Families. Her other works include Self-Advocacy Skills Training for Older Individuals Who Are Visually Impaired and Solutions for Success: A Training Manual for Working with Older People Who Are Visually Impaired. She has an M.A. degree in gerontology and a Ph.D. in special education with an emphasis in vision and aging. First, Some Background and an


New Research on Marijuana Use for Glaucoma: Is Education Enough, or Is Emotional Support also Necessary?

New glaucoma research from The George Washington University in Washington, DC indicates that the factors associated with patients' intentions to use marijuana for glaucoma include their perceptions of the legality of marijuana use as well as satisfaction (or not) with their current standard of glaucoma care. The researchers conclude that patients need to be educated about marijuana and its specific effects on glaucoma, which they note is not supported by scientific evidence. In an editorial response to the research, however, two


New Genetic Research in Macular Degeneration: The International AMD Genomics Consortium

The International Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Genomics Consortium, which includes 26 centers worldwide, has published new data and information about the role of genes and their contribution to the risk of macular degeneration. Previously, researchers had identified 21 regions of the human genome – called loci – that are associated with an increased risk of AMD. The new research, published in Nature Genetics, increases the number of loci to 34.


AFB Press Releases New Edition of Making Life More Livable: Simple Adaptations for Living at Home after Vision Loss

by Mary D'Apice, VisionAware Contributing Writer An interview with Maureen A. Duffy, CVRT, Author Making Life More Livable Agencies that provide services to people who are blind or visually impaired offer vision rehabilitation to the 5.3 million Americans over 65 with


New Research: Gene Therapy Restores Some Vision in Clinical Trials for Leber Congenital Amaurosis (LCA)

Gene therapy for the treatment of specific eye and retinal disorders, such as Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA), has shown promise, but research has produced uneven results thus far and has not produced a cure. To date, gene therapy studies have raised concerns among researchers, including inconsistent initial and longer-term results, such as this LCA gene therapy study from the National Eye Institute, which reported that


New Research: Lucentis Is Effective in Treating Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy and More Effective than Traditional Laser Treatment

Results from a new clinical trial have revealed that the injectable drug Lucentis is highly effective in treating proliferative diabetic retinopathy, a serious vision-related complication of diabetes. "These findings," said Dr. Paul Sieving, Director of the National Eye Institute (NEI), "provide crucial evidence for a safe and effective alternative to laser


On Veterans Day: VisionAware Thanks Our Veterans and Provides Critical Information and Veteran-Specific Resources

Master Sergeant Jeffrey Mittman According to the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA), there are 165,000 blind or visually impaired veterans in the United States. BVA data also indicates that some 7,000 veterans become newly blind or visually impaired each year, due to age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma,


A VoiceOver User's Guide to Apple's "3D Touch" Feature on the New iPhone 6s and 6s Plus: Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and the Coordinator of the New York Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program, administered by the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. The Program provides no-cost communication and technology training to persons with significant combined vision and hearing loss who meet federal income guidelines. Equipment can include


The First Stem Cell Clinical Trial for Wet Macular Degeneration Is Underway in London

Please note: This is an older post and there have been setbacks and significant changes in stem cell research for eye disease since this was first published. For more current information, see Our Readers Want to Know: What Is the Progress of Stem Cell Research for Eye Disease? Answer: It Has a Very Long Way to Go. Also see the author's updates in the comment section below. A pioneering clinical trial of a new treatment derived from embryonic


Is Glaucoma a Genetic Disease? New and Innovative Genetic Research Shows Promise in the Treatment of Glaucoma

New glaucoma research from the United States and China indicates that a genetic interaction may prove to be a key component in the development and progression of open-angle glaucoma. Although this genetic research has been conducted only with laboratory mice, the concept shows great promise for developing and identifying effective therapies for treating – and even preventing – glaucoma. Molecular Cell: the Research The research, entitled P16INK4a [a type of gene] Upregulation [increased


What's New in iOS 9 Accessibility for Blind and Deaf-Blind Users Part 1: Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and the Coordinator of the New York Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program, administered by the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. The Program provides no-cost communication and technology training to persons with significant combined vision and hearing loss who meet federal income guidelines. Equipment can include smartphones, tablets, computers, screen readers, braille readers, and adaptive


A New Stem Cell Immune Rejection Discovery Shows Promise for Treating Retinal Disease

A joint China-United States research team has discovered that a class of stem cells derived from an individual's own cells were not rejected by the immune system when they were turned into retinal pigment epithelium cells destined for the eye. This important discovery provides a boost for the development of human stem cell therapies to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Although this research has been conducted only with laboratory mice, this concept shows great promise for developing and identifying human stem cell treatments for a variety


New Research: Faulty Immune Cells May be a Cause of Vision Loss in Macular Degeneration

A research group from the Washington University School of Medicine has identified a faulty immune cell pathway that leads to the formation of atypical blood vessels associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Although their research thus far has been conducted only with laboratory mice, this concept shows great promise for identifying potential treatments for wet AMD and increases our understanding of the ways that


The White House Conference on Aging Issues and Initiatives: Part Three

Guest blogger Priscilla (Pris) Rogers, Ph.D. is the Program Manager for VisionAware and co-author of Aging and Vision Loss: A Handbook for Families. Her other works include Self-Advocacy Skills Training for Older Individuals Who Are Visually Impaired and Solutions for Success: A Training Manual for Working with Older People Who Are Visually Impaired. She has an M.A. degree in gerontology and a Ph.D. in special education with an emphasis in vision and aging. In


The White House Conference on Aging Issues and Initiatives: Part Two

Guest blogger Priscilla (Pris) Rogers, Ph.D. is the Program Manager for VisionAware and co-author of Aging and Vision Loss: A Handbook for Families. Her other works include Self-Advocacy Skills Training for Older Individuals Who Are Visually Impaired and Solutions for Success: A Training Manual for Working with Older People Who Are Visually Impaired. She has an M.A. degree in gerontology and a Ph.D. in special education with an emphasis in vision and aging. In


A Summary of the White House Conference on Aging Issues and Initiatives: Part One

Guest blogger Priscilla Rogers, Ph.D. is the Program Manager for VisionAware and co-author of Aging and Vision Loss: A Handbook for Families. Her other works include Self-Advocacy Skills Training for Older Individuals Who Are Visually Impaired and Solutions for Success: A Training Manual for Working with Older People Who Are Visually Impaired. She has an M.A. degree in gerontology and a Ph.D. in special education with an emphasis in vision and aging. The 2015 White House Conference on


Meet Dr. Gregory Goodrich, Chair of the Upcoming Conference on Vision Loss in Older Adults and Veterans

Dr. Gregory Goodrich received his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology in 1974 from Washington State University, when he also began his career with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). He retired in 2014 after having served as supervisory research psychologist assigned to the Western


Download the VisionConnect App Today and Take the VisionAware Challenge

Guest blogger Priscilla Rogers, Ph.D. is the Program Manager for VisionAware and co-author of Aging and Vision Loss: A Handbook for Families. Her other works include Self-Advocacy Skills Training for Older Individuals Who Are Visually Impaired and Solutions for Success: A Training Manual for Working with Older People Who Are Visually Impaired. She has an M.A. degree in gerontology and a Ph.D. in special education with an emphasis in vision and aging. About the New VisionConnect™


New Retinitis Pigmentosa Research: Uncovering the Mechanism Underlying Photoreceptor Cell Death

Researchers from the National Eye Institute and New York University have published new research that implicates the normally beneficial and protective "trash-collecting" central nervous system cells in the accelerated cell death associated with retinitis pigmentosa. Please note that this research is in its earliest stages and has been conducted thus far only with laboratory mice. However, a new clinical trial related to this study, Oral Minocycline in Treating Bilateral Cystoid Macular Edema


New Research: The Argus II Retinal Prosthesis (Bionic Eye) Is Safe, Effective, and Improves Visual Function

New clinical trial results from the Argus II Study Group, an international consortium of eye and vision researchers, confirm that the Argus II, also called the "bionic eye," is a safe, reliable, and effective device that "significantly improves visual function and quality of life for people blinded by retinitis pigmentosa." The latest research, entitled Long-Term Results from an Epiretinal [i.e, "on," "upon," "near," or "against" the retina] Prosthesis


Calling All Advocates: White House Conference on Aging Set for July 13, 2015

Guest blogger Priscilla Rogers, Ph.D. is the Program Manager for VisionAware and co-author of Aging and Vision Loss: A Handbook for Families. Her other works include Self-Advocacy Skills Training for Older Individuals Who Are Visually Impaired and Solutions for Success: A Training Manual for Working with Older People Who Are Visually Impaired. She has an M.A. degree in gerontology and a Ph.D. in special education with an emphasis in vision and aging. The 2015 White House Conference on


Meet Dan Roberts, Developer of the "LowViz Guide" Indoor Wayfinding Application

Dan Roberts, M.M.E., is the Founding Director of MD Support, Inc. and the International Low Vision Support Group. He is the editor-in-chief of Living Well with Low Vision, an extensive online resource center affiliated with Prevent Blindness. In addition to heading MD Support and the International Low Vision Support Group, Dan is a resource consultant for the Macular


A New Protein Shows Promise for the Treatment and Perhaps Even Prevention of Diabetic Eye Disease

Although there have been a number of significant advances in the treatment of diabetic eye disease, including Avastin, Lucentis, and Eylea injections, this approach has not proven to be effective in preventing the development of diabetic eye disease and proliferative diabetic retinopathy (explained below).


Optogenetics: Can This Innovative Gene Therapy Treat Degenerative Retinal Disease and Possibly Restore Sight?

A research group of Swiss and German scientists has restored vision to mice with a condition similar to retinitis pigmentosa (RP) by introducing engineered light-sensing proteins into their eyes, via a process known as optogenetics. Optogenetics is a still-experimental treatment for a variety of blinding retinal disorders that uses gene therapy to enable retinal and brain cells to respond to light. According to the researchers, "… optogenetic gene therapy, which selectively introduces genes encoding light-sensitive proteins into surviving retinal cells to act as


Can a Drug to Treat Parkinson’s Disease Also Prevent Macular Degeneration?

The treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) has – by all accounts – been revolutionized by the successful use of the injectable drugs Eylea, Lucentis, and Avastin. Successful treatments for


Our Readers Want to Know: What Is the Difference Between an Ophthalmologist and an Optometrist?

Editor's note: One of the many benefits associated with an online information center and website, such as VisionAware, is the ability to track readers' search terms [i.e., information readers are seeking as they search the Internet]. Since the earliest days of VisionAware.org, the following questions about eye doctors and eye care consistently rank within the top ten searches and are especially relevant during Healthy Vision Month: What are the different kinds of eye doctors? What is the difference between an ophthalmologist and an optometrist? Ophthalmology and Ophthalmologists <img


Can "Audio Film" Provide a Richer Film Experience than an Audio Description Soundtrack?

Researchers at Anglia Ruskin University in the United Kingdom are attempting to develop an alternative to the traditional – and widely used – audio description techniques for blind and visually impaired filmgoers. The research team's long-term goal is to provide a more immersive, inclusive, and entertaining film experience as they explore ways to tell a story on film without the need for visual elements or an audio description track. The proposed format, called "audio film," focuses on innovative sound design techniques and the creative use of surround sound instead of a conventional audio description soundtrack. The foundation for this


New Research: Surgery May Not Completely Undo the Effects of Long-Term Blindness

Is it possible to fully restore sight? New surgeries and advances in stem cell and gene therapies seem to indicate that this is possible and may happen within the next decade. Recent research in neuroscience, however, demonstrates that it may not yet be possible to restore full vision in persons with long-standing blindness or low vision. A group of international


Braille Literacy Awareness Month: The Story of Louis Braille

During Braille Literacy Awareness Month, VisionAware is pleased to celebrate the life and work of Louis Braille (January 4, 1809 – January 6, 1852), the creator of the braille code, which revolutionized reading and writing for blind people throughout the world. This month, our examination of Louis Braille's life and work features Louis Braille: A Touch of Genius, authored by C. Michael Mellor and published by


Progress Update: United States Accessible Currency Project for Blind and Visually Impaired Persons

Last week, I received the following update on the United States Treasury Department's long-term and ongoing project to create paper currency (i.e., banknotes) that is independently accessible by people who are blind and/or have low vision. Excerpted from Nationwide Release of the BEP's U.S. Currency Reader Program to Help the Blind and Visually Impaired: The Department of the Treasury's Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) is accepting and processing applications


Meet Nancy D. Miller, CEO of VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired in New York City

Ms. Nancy D. Miller, LMSW, began working with people of all ages who are blind, visually impaired, and multi-disabled in 1971. Since 1987, she has been Executive Director/CEO of VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, an 88-year-old vision rehabilitation and social service organization in New York City. Ms. Miller has a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Cornell University, a Master of Science degree in Social Work from Columbia University, and is a New York State licensed social worker. In


Could Echolocation Become a "Complete Sensory Replacement" for Sight? New Research Says Yes

New research from the United Kingdom and Canada has examined the influence of echolocation (explained below), a method that many blind persons use to perceive the location and structure of objects in the environment. The researchers determined, via controlled experimentation, that "echolocation is not just a functional tool to help visually impaired individuals navigate their environment; rather, it has the potential to be an actual sensory replacement for vision." Psychological Science The research, entitled The Size-Weight Illusion


New Research: Top-Selling Eye Supplements Lack Scientific Evidence, Make Unsupported Claims

An American research group has concluded that claims made about top-selling eye vitamin brands and products in the United States lack concrete scientific evidence supported by clinical trial outcomes. The researchers also determined that many of the most heavily promoted and top-selling products do not contain ingredients and dosages identical to "eye vitamin" formulas that have been proven effective in the Age-Related Eye Disease Studies (AREDS and AREDS2), sponsored by the National Eye


New Research: Patients not Referred for Low Vision Services in a Timely and Efficient Manner

Last month, at the 2014 American Academy of Optometry Annual Meeting, a group of student researchers from the New England College of Optometry presented survey data that identified (a) patient barriers to low vision services and (b) the actions optometrists can take to improve the efficiency of referrals to low vision specialists. Their research revealed a discrepancy between


Existing FDA-Approved HIV/AIDS Drugs Could Be Repurposed to Treat Macular Degeneration

An international research group has reported that HIV/AIDS drugs, in use for the last 30 years, could be repurposed to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD), as well as other systemic inflammatory disorders. Their research tested the treatment effects of nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) on dry AMD in laboratory mice. NRTIs are a class of drugs that were designed to


New Research: Uveitis, an Inflammatory Eye Disease, May Signal the Onset of Multiple Sclerosis

Several research projects addressing inflammation as a source of eye disease have received attention recently. In the genetic arena, European researchers investigating the link between inflammation and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) identified a protein, called FHL-1, that functions as a "regulator" to protect the eye from immune system attacks. And last month, at the 2014


Can Our Eye Movements While Watching Television Reveal the Presence of Glaucoma?

New research from City University London indicates that the sequence of specific eye movements an individual uses while watching television or films (called an "eye movement signature") could offer clues as to whether or not he or she has glaucoma. According to the research team, these "proof of principle" findings could spur the development of an easy-to-use, non-invasive method of screening for glaucoma and additional eye conditions. From Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience The research, entitled


Medicare Reimbursement and Low Vision Devices: Is It Time to Update Medicare Policy?

A new editorial/opinion piece from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Ophthalmology discusses the growing incidence of sensory loss in the aging United States population and forcefully advocates for needed updates in current Medicare policy to improve coverage for hearing and vision rehabilitation services – including low vision devices – for older adults. From JAMA Ophthalmology The Viewpoint/Opinion article, entitled Hearing and Vision Care for Older Adults: Sensing a Need to Update Medicare Policy, was published online in the November 5, 2014 edition of


Adult Stem Cells for Dry AMD: Emerging Future Research from the National Eye Institute

One of the most significant challenges facing eye and vision researchers is the development of an effective treatment for dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Although there are now a number of well-regarded FDA-approved drug treatments for wet AMD, the key to effective dry AMD treatment remains elusive thus far, although


Updated Stem Cell Clinical Trial Results for Stargardt Disease and Dry Macular Degeneration

Please note: this is an older post and much has changed since the time of publication. For more current information, see Our Readers Want to Know: What Is the Progress of Stem Cell Research for Eye Disease? Answer: It Has a Very Long Way to Go. Also see the author's updates, below. On October 14, 2014, Ocata Therapeutics (formerly Advanced Cell Technology, Inc.) announced positive


Eye Injury Prevention Month: Halloween, Lady Gaga, and Cosmetic Contact Lenses

Every year, during Eye Injury Prevention Month – and as Halloween approaches – I begin fielding questions from neighbors, friends, and colleagues about the safety of circle (also called "cosmetic" or "costume") contact lenses. For the uninitiated, "circle lenses," which first became popular in Asia approximately ten years ago, are contact lenses that give the wearer a doll-eyed or doe-eyed "innocent" look: Venus Palermo, the "Human Barbie Doll" What are Circle or Cosmetic Contact Lenses? Here is more information about


New Research Demonstrates that Changes in the Eye and Retina Can Predict the Onset of Dementia

A group of United States-based researchers has discovered a direct correlation with functional cell loss in the retina and signs of dementia in people with a genetic risk for fronto-temporal dementia (FTD). The study also demonstrates that changes in the retina occur much earlier than do the dementia-related changes that appear in an individual's behavior. The Journal of Experimental Medicine This cutting-edge eye/brain research was published in the September 2014 issue of


Celebrating White Cane Safety Day and Blind Americans Equality Day: October 15, 2014

White Cane Safety Day is an international observance that is celebrated on October 15 of each year since 1964. Its purpose is to (a) celebrate the achievements of people who are blind or visually impaired and (b) acknowledge and pay tribute to the long white cane, a critically important mobility tool and potent symbol of independence. In 2011, White Cane Safety Day was also declared


Newly-Discovered Corneal Stem Cells Could Be a Potential Source for Treatment of Retinal Disease

New research from the United Kingdom has demonstrated that stem cells found in the cornea could provide a source of photoreceptor cells for transplant in persons with degenerative retinal conditions, such as age-related macular degeneration or retinitis pigmentosa. Please note: This "proof of concept" research is in its earliest stages and has been conducted only with laboratory mice. Human clinical trials using corneal stem cells will likely not begin until 2019 or 2020, at


What's New in iOS 8 Accessibility Part 1: Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and a regional representative for the Region 8 Rocky Mountain area with the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. Most recently, Scott compiled his personal picks for book-reading apps and


The True Ice Bucket Challenge: Never Saying "There's Nothing More that Can Be Done"

As the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association's Ice Bucket Challenge winds down, I can't help but regret that my friend Arthur (Artie) Kraemer (February 12, 1960 - June 12, 2012), who succumbed to ALS, didn't live to see the outpouring of support for the disease (a progressive, incurable neurodegenerative disorder) that claimed his life. Artie was totally disabled from ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, and was,


Do Doctors Approach Macular Degeneration Differently When Treating Themselves?

Do retinal physicians approach wet age-related macular degeneration differently when treating themselves versus treating their patients? This question was explored in a recent presentation by Jonathan Prenner, M.D., at the 32nd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Retina Specialists in San Diego, California. The mission of the American Society of Retina Specialists is to provide a scientific forum for education, advance the understanding and treatment of retinal diseases, and


Film Lovers! The Department of Justice Wants to Hear from You About Audio Description

On August 1, 2014, the United States Department of Justice issued the following notice of proposed rulemaking regarding Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations—Theaters, Movie Captioning, and Audio Description: Summary: The Department of Justice (Department) is issuing this notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in order to propose amendments to its regulation for title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which


Google's Prototype "Smart Contact Lens": Measuring Blood Glucose Levels for People with Diabetes

Earlier this year, Google unveiled a prototype "smart" contact lens to monitor blood glucose levels contained in human tears. The Smart Contact Lens Project, which had been percolating in the top-secret Google X lab for several years, debuted a potential, although long-term, solution for effective blood glucose control in people with diabetes. January 2014: Google Unveils the Smart Contact Lens Here is an excerpt from the January 2014 announcement, via the official


Meet Robert Wall Emerson, Ph.D. and the Newly-Funded "Better Long White Cane" Project

Robert Wall Emerson, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Blindness and Low Vision Studies at Western Michigan University (WMU) in Kalamazoo. Dr. Wall Emerson, in conjunction with WMU colleagues Dae Shik Kim, Ph.D. (the principal investigator) and Koorosh Naghshineh, Ph.D., is the recent recipient of a $421,125 grant award from the National Institutes of Health/National Eye Institute. The three-year grant, entitled


CDC Report: Aerobic Inactivity Linked to Increased Incidence of Chronic Disease in Adults with Disabilities

During this year's Healthy Vision Month, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a new health-related Vital Signs report, entitled Inactivity Related to Chronic Disease in Adults with Disabilities, which notes that nearly 50 percent of U.S. adults with disabilities get no aerobic physical activity. Vital Signs is a monthly CDC report that provides the latest data and information on key health indicators. More from CDC The


Vanda Receives FDA Approval for Hetlioz, First Drug to Regulate Sleep Patterns of Blind People

On January 31, 2014, Vanda Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved Hetlioz™ (tasimelteon) 20 mg. capsules for the treatment of "Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder" (Non-24). Hetlioz is the first FDA-approved medication for Non-24. Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder (Non-24) is a serious, rare circadian rhythm disorder that affects a majority of totally blind individuals who lack light perception and cannot reset their master body clocks to the 24-hour day. In the United States, this disorder affects approximately 80,000 totally blind individuals who lack the light sensitivity necessary to


Can Gene Therapy Provide a Cure for Retinal Disease? An Early-Stage Clinical Trial Says "Maybe"

A group of international researchers from the United Kingdom, the United States, the Netherlands, and Portugal have used gene therapy in a clinical trial to treat a small group of male subjects with choroideremia, a rare degenerative eye disease. This early-stage clinical trial demonstrates potential for the use of gene therapy to treat a number of additional retinal diseases, including age-related macular degeneration. The research, entitled Retinal gene therapy in patients with choroideremia: initial


Braille Literacy Awareness Month: The Genius of Louis Braille

During Braille Literacy Awareness Month, VisionAware is celebrating the life and work of Louis Braille (January 4, 1809 – January 6, 1852), the creator of the braille code, which revolutionized reading and writing for blind people throughout the world. Louis Braille: A Touch of Genius This week, our Louis Braille celebration features Louis Braille: A Touch of Genius, authored by C. Michael Mellor and published by National Braille Press. The


Why Do We Fear the Blind? My Answer: I Don't. Do You?

Rosemary Mahoney, author of the forthcoming (January 14, 2014) book For the Benefit of Those Who See: Dispatches from the World of the Blind, has published a provocative op-ed "teaser" for her book in the January 4, 2014 edition of the New York Times. Entitled Why Do We Fear the Blind?, Ms. Mahoney's op-ed describes her work as an English teacher of blind students at the


The Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field: 2014 Nominations

The Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is currently accepting nominations for 2014. The nominating deadline is Friday, March 28, 2014. About the Hall of Fame The Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field honors, at present, 52 individuals who were pioneers in the blindness field and shaped the field's history, philosophy, knowledge, and skills, while providing outstanding service to people who were blind and visually impaired. During my visit to the Hall of Fame in 2012, I was in awe as I read the biographies of


Braille Literacy Awareness Month: It All Began 205 Years Ago with Louis Braille

It's appropriate to begin our celebration of Braille Literacy Awareness Month with a profile of Louis Braille (January 4, 1809 – January 6, 1852), creator of the braille code. His elegant and enduring code revolutionized reading and writing for blind people throughout the world. The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Online Louis Braille Museum AFB's online Louis Braille Museum is a rich repository of photographs, documents, and historical texts that illustrate the life and legacy of Louis Braille, the creator


H.R. 3749: The Medicare Demonstration of Coverage for Low Vision Devices Act of 2013

Guest blogger Mark Richert, Esq. is an attorney with extensive experience in public policy and governmental relations in the vision loss field and is the Director of the Public Policy Center of the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB). The AFB Public Policy Center, in Washington, DC, collaborates with policy makers in Congress and the Executive Branch to ensure that Americans with vision loss have equal rights and opportunities to fully participate in society. As Director, Mark is AFB's primary representative to the United States Congress and to


Out of the Whirlpool: The Story of a Suicide Attempt Survivor and the Rebuilding of a Life

Sue Wiygul Martin is the author of a just-published personal memoir, entitled Out of the Whirlpool: A Memoir of Remorse and Reconciliation, which she describes as "the story of a suicide attempt survivor and the rebuilding of a life." Out of the Whirlpool, which began as a series of blog posts, describes Sue's suicide attempt at age 26, her subsequent blindness, and the long, hard road she follows to rebuild her life – and herself – as a blind person and blind rehabilitation professional. Sue, who is a


A Home Monitoring Program for Age-Related Macular Degeneration: the ForeseeHome

The results of the HOme Monitoring of the Eye study, a subset of the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2), were presented last week at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) in New Orleans, Louisiana, November 16-19, 2013. The study revealed that participants at high risk for developing wet (or neovascular) age-related macular degeneration (AMD) who used the ForeseeHome AMD


A MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Award for Artificial Retina Research

Sheila Nirenberg, Ph.D., is a neuroscientist whose research is focused on the development of alternative approaches to restoring sight after photoreceptor cell degeneration. She is an associate professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, where she studies neural coding: how the brain takes information from the outside world and encodes it in patterns of electrical activity. What her work could mean for people with retinal disease, from macular degeneration and


An Interview with Dr. Yonatan Wexler, Head of Research and Development at OrCam

VisionAware is pleased to speak with Dr. Yonatan Wexler, the head of Research and Development at OrCam, an Israeli start-up company founded in 2010 by Amnon Shashua, Sachs Professor of Computer Science at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The mission of OrCam is to develop a "portable, wearable visual system with 'human-like' capabilities" for blind and visually impaired persons, via the use of artificial computer intelligence and augmented reality. The OrCam is based on a computer algorithm that Professor Shashua has pioneered with Dr. Wexler and


My Experience at the Signing of the ADA by Judy Scott

Guest blogger Judy Scott is the former Director of the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Center on Vision Loss in Dallas, Texas. Opened in 2006, the Center on Vision Loss is a 9,000-square-foot training facility that educates people with vision loss and their family members – along with the healthcare, construction, and design professions – about ways to create environments that promote independent and healthy living. In honor of the anniversary of the


The International Disability Film Festival Wants to Hear from Blind Film Lovers

The San Francisco LightHouse for the Blind and Visualy Impaired and the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University are the new co-hosts of Superfest, the world's longest-running disability film festival. This year's Superfest, to be held on October 12, 2013, at 3543 18th Street, San Francisco, California, will "…take a powerful look backward to explore the worst of the worst in the film representation of disability. We'll feature many telling examples of how far we've come, and we'll highlight the worst of the


Two Pioneering African-American Educators to be Inducted into the Blindness Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field honors, at present, 50 individuals who were pioneers in the blindness field and shaped the field's history, philosophy, knowledge, and skills, while providing outstanding service to people who were blind and visually impaired. The Hall of Fame, which belongs to the entire field of blindness, is located within, and is curated by, the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) in Louisville, Kentucky. You can learn more about APH's long and storied history


On CBS News: Blind "Birding-by-Ear" with Donna Posant

My Twitter friend Fred Wurtzel, an avid blind birder from Michigan, alerted me to a new "blind birding" video on CBS News, entitled Birding by ear: The birdwatchers who see by listening, featuring expert birder Donna Posant. Donna is the field services director for Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind (OUB) and a widely recognized "birding-by-ear" teacher and naturalist. You can learn more about Donna and the birding-by-ear experience by watching and/or listening to the video (with closed-captioning) on the CBS News


Memorial Day 2013: British Blind Veterans Host Their American Blind Comrades in London

From May 19-26, 2013, six blind veterans of the United States Armed Forces, who have become role models for others living with vision loss, are visiting their counterparts in the United Kingdom, via an innovative exchange program for blind and visually impaired American and British veterans. The event is taking place under the auspices of Project Gemini, a joint exchange program initiated by Blind Veterans UK of London, England and the Blinded Veterans Association of Washington, DC. The project is named after "Gemini," a transatlantic communications cable that links the United Kingdom and the United States. About


New Report: Dietary Supplements (AREDS Vitamins) and Their Effect on Macular Degeneration

A highly-anticipated study, published "online first" in the May 2013 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association has concluded that adding omega-3 fatty acids (such as those found in fish oil) had no effect on the formulation, while the addition of lutein and zeaxanthin together appeared to offer a safe and effective alternative to the beta-carotene that was contained in the original AREDS formulation) commonly recommended for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration


The American Foundation for the Blind Introduces Described TV Listings

From a March 8, 2013 press release from the American Foundation for the Blind: Finding described television shows just got much easier. As part of the Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, several of the most popular television networks have made certain prime-time and children's programs accessible to viewers with vision loss by adding video description. To help


A New Production from Theater Breaking Through Barriers

Theater Breaking Through Barriers (TBTB) (formerly Theater by the Blind), is the only Off-Broadway theater, and one of the few theaters in the country, that is dedicated to advancing – and changing the image of – actors and writers with disabilities, including blindness, vision impairment, and low vision. TBTB began as Theater by the Blind, integrating actors and writers who were blind, had low vision, and were able-bodied. In 2008, TBTB expanded this mission to include artists with


Monster.com to Provide Full Access to Blind and Visually Impaired Job Seekers

Monster.com will be the first job search and recruitment website in the industry to provide job seekers who are blind with full and equal access to all of its products and services including mobile applications. Monster.com provides a full array of job seeking, career management, recruitment, and talent management products and services in more than 40 countries. Monster.com and Accessibility Here is more information from the National Federation of the Blind announcement: "Over the


The White House Announces Audio Descriptions for Public Tours

On January 24, 2013, the White House Visitors Office announced the availability of an audio described White House tour, in response to the ongoing accessibility concerns and needs of Americans who are blind, visually impaired, have low vision, or are otherwise print-disabled. Here is more information from the White House blog: The White House Announces Audio Descriptions for Public Tours President Obama and the First Lady have long been committed to ensuring that the White House is truly the


The FDA's Division of Drug Information Provides Phone and E-Mail Assistance

I discovered this helpful resource via a tip from the Vision Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) Listserv. I hope you'll find this helpful too. From a January 23, 2013 FDA press release: From their offices in Silver Spring, Maryland, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) pharmacists answer thousands of calls to 1-888-INFO-FDA each year. The FDA Division of Drug Information Twenty-five pharmacists and other experts who work in FDA's


A Response to The New York Times: Macular Degeneration Does not Equal Despair and Devastation

On December 15, 2012, The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund, which provides direct assistance to children, families, and older adults in New York, featured a profile of 78-year-old graphic artist Margie Jones, entitled A Disease Threatens a Woman's Eyesight and Art. Ms. Jones, who has had Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a hereditary collagen disorder, since 1976, learned that she had


New (Positive) Clinical Trial Results for Totally Blind Persons with Sleep Disorders

On December 18, 2012, Vanda Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced positive Phase III clinical trial results from the recently completed Safety and Efficacy of Tasimelteon (SET) study. Tasimelton is an experimental drug treatment for totally blind individuals with no light perception who experience a sleep problem called "Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder." In the United States, this disorder affects approximately 65,000 totally blind individuals who lack the light sensitivity necessary to reset their internal "body clocks."


Voting and Self-Advocacy: They're Intertwined by DeAnna Quietwater Noriega

Guest blogger DeAnna Quietwater Noriega (at left) is an Independent Living Specialist and facilitator of the Vision Impairment and Blindness Exploration and Support (VIBES) Group at Services for Independent Living (SIL) in Columbia, Missouri. She is half Apache, a quarter Swan Creek Chippewa, and has been blind since age eight. DeAnna is a poet, writer, legislative public policy advocate and Peace Corps veteran. Becoming a Self-Advocate I grew up in a culture that taught children they should be seen and not heard. Add disability and you have a good formula for a passive person.


November—a Time of Thanksgiving

We know the end of October brought about very bad times for millions of people and that it is going to take a very long time to get back to normal. But as a nation we have lots to be thankful for, such as the opportunity coming up to vote as a free people, the wonderful generosity of people who have donated time and money to help those in need, and the sacrifices of our military personnel to help keep us safe and secure, to name just a few. We hope you will continue keep the storm victims in mind and, if you can, respond to requests for providing assistance. With that in mind, VisionAware has a section on


What Does the Future Hold?

I recently read a USA Today series, "The Next 30 Years" (September 30, 2012) regarding the future. As I read, I wished my grandmother were around to enjoy the predictions. She reveled in talking about how many changes occurred in her lifetimefrom riding her pony to school to learning to drive her first T-model, to taking a plane to Paris, to using a CCTV or electronic magnifier, as we know it today, to read the old-fashioned newspaper. Intrigued with the prognostications, I thought I would share a few with you for you to reflect on how the changes suggested will impact your life as person with vision loss, family member or professional in the field living in the 21st Century! Smaller homes, smaller yards, smaller cars, walking more, driving


Are Memory Problems Linked to Eye Disease and Diabetes?

Two recent studies suggest that memory loss and cognitive decline may be linked to (a) diabetes, (b) poor control of blood sugar levels by persons with diabetes, and/or (c) damage to retinal blood vessels, called retinopathy. What is Retinopathy? Retinopathy is a general term that describes damage to the retina, which is the thin, light-sensitive tissue that lines the inside surface of the eye. Nerve cells in the retina convert


Some VisionAware Blogroll Love!

As my always-astute readers surely have noticed, the VisionAware "blind bloggers" collective has migrated from the former VisionAware.org website to the sidebar of the new VisionAware blog. It's a marvelous way to position my favorite bloggers front-and-center for our ever-growing audience. You'll discover great writing there – and it's not only about blindness, so please abandon that notion, dear readers. My favorite bloggers are people who happen to be blind – and who have much to say about life's joys, sorrows, and everything


Help Us Help You!

Guest blogger Dr. Priscilla Rogers is the VisionAware Program Manager. The new VisionAware combines two stand-alone resources from American Foundation for the Blind and Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Foundation (Senior Site and the former VisionAware, respectively) into a single, comprehensive website offering dynamic social


Hello and Welcome to the New VisionAware Blog

Hello to my old and new readers! This is Maureen Duffy, social media specialist for VisionAware and author of the new VisionAware blog. Here's a press release from American Foundation for the Blind that explains this innovative collaboration: … the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) and Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight


FCC Issues New Regulations for Television Audio Description for Blind and Visually Impaired Viewers

The Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, which was signed into law on October 8, 2010 by President Barack Obama, requires that smart phones, television programs, and other modern communications technologies be accessible to people with vision and/or hearing loss. As part of the implementation of the Act, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted unanimously to require leading broadcast and cable channels to offer at least 50 hours of described programming (also called audio narration or video description)


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