Browse By Topic: Public Policy

Protect Amtrak: An Important Part of Our Transportation Infrastructure

Editor's Note: In our Independence Day post, we discussed the 21st Century Agenda on Aging and Vision Loss and the first goal of increasing funding for services to maximize independence for older persons with vision loss. In today's post, we cover one of the initiatives of goal three of the Agenda, the need for good and available transportation for all phases of life as noted in this quote from


What Does Independence Really Mean to Older Persons Experiencing Vision Loss?

We are celebrating our independence as a nation this week. We indeed have much to celebrate as we our flag flows proud and free, and we sing our nation’s anthem (in my case slightly off key)! Taking this to a personal level, the VisionAware peer advisors have addressed this theme in a series on independence. How Independent Do You Want to Be? Peer Advisor DeAnna Noriega raised this question saying, the training, tools, and


Taking It to the Streets: Make the 21st Century Agenda on Aging and Vision Loss Happen on a Local Level

As highlighted in a post in May regarding critical issues for older persons with vision loss, AFB has joined with other advocates in a renewed 21st Century Agenda on Aging and Vision Loss. Why is this important? Check out the facts.    Building the Case As laid out in the www.afb.org/aging, the Agenda's web page, older adults


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


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:


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


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


Interested in Aging and Vision Loss? Your Vote Counts

Are you concerned about aging and vision loss? Are you or someone you know older and visually impaired? If so, as you go to the polls to vote, you may want to think about the presidential candidates and their stances on aging and disability. You may also want to think about the stances of your legislative candidates. Why is this important? Research tells us that 6.1 million adults ages 65 and older experience vision lossthat’s 13.5% of the population. For those 85 and up, the percentage increases to 22.3%. And the numbers are increasing rapidly as our population ages. <img src="http://www.afb.org/image.asp?ImageID=7208" alt="older


Meet Alan R. Morse, J.D., Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, Lighthouse Guild

Alan R. Morse, J.D., Ph.D. Alan R. Morse is President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York- and New York State-based Lighthouse Guild, which provides a full spectrum of integrated vision + healthcare services helping people with vision loss, including those with multiple disabilities or chronic medical conditions. His professional interests include the influence of vision loss on health care utilization, functional implications of vision loss, and communication issues in patient-centered care delivery. Dr. Morse is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology, College of Physicians and Surgeons of


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


New Research: Results from the Philadelphia Glaucoma Detection and Treatment Project

New glaucoma research, initially presented at the American Glaucoma Society 24th Annual Meeting, concludes that targeting individuals at risk for glaucoma in underserved communities – in this case, Philadelphia – can yield a high detection rate of glaucoma-related diagnoses. The authors conclude that "providing examinations and offering treatment at community-based sites providing services to older adults are effective ways to improve access to eye care by underserved


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


The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) 21st Century Agenda on Aging and Vision Loss Is Moving Forward!

The 21st Century Agenda on Aging and Vision Loss: Some Background AFB began a "national conversation" on aging and vision loss over a year ago in anticipation of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging. As noted in our post on the outcome of the conference, AFB and other stakeholders have been extremely concerned that aging and vision loss issues have not been addressed in any significant way on a national level: "Older persons with vision problems should not be sidelined or forgotten because of their inability to engage – due to


Aging in America: Women at Risk for Vision Problems

by Mary E. Worstell, MPH Editor's note: Guest blogger Mary E. Worstell, MPH, is Senior Advisor, Office on Women's Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services. Ms. Worstell recently spoke on a panel at the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Leadership Conference and at a recent teleconference on the 21st Century Agenda on Vision Loss and Aging. She spoke to the health and disability disparities represented by seniors with vision loss and the need for collaborative efforts to improve services for older persons with vision loss. She encouraged our community to "be proactive and at the


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:


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


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


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


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


Don't Let Consumer Fraud Fool You

This is not an April Fool's joke! April is Financial Literacy Month as well as that time of year that we think of (shudder) paying taxes! Speaking of taxes, IRS has put out a list of 2015 scams of which you need to be aware. Among them are phone, phishing, and identify theft. You may also be interested in VisionAware's tax guide. AFB's Partnership with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau To help consumers, family members, and professionals in the field, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has


The White House Conference on Aging Offers Great Opportunity for Input Regarding Older Americans with Visual Impairment

By Rebecca Sheffield, Ph.D, Senior Policy Researcher, AFB and Alberta Orr, MSW, gerontologist and faculty, Hunter College. The 2015 White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA) will mark the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security. The White House Conference on Aging has been held once a decade, beginning in 1961, and is designed to help chart the course of aging policy. The 2015 WHCOA is an opportunity to look ahead to the issues that will help shape the landscape for older Americans for the next decade. Key issues to be the focus of the Conference are: Retirement


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


New CDC Research Investigates the Association Between Vision Loss and Quality of Life

A major new study from the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has investigated the association between visual impairment and health-related quality of life among adults aged 65 and older. The research concludes that poor health-related quality of life is strongly associated with the severity of self-reported visual impairment among people aged 65 and older who participated in the study. Participants who reported "moderate/severe" visual impairment showed a strong, consistent association with poor health-related quality of life.


Guest Blogger Empish Thomas: Voting As a Blind Person with Privacy and Independence

You Can Cast Your Ballot Independently and Privately As we go through the May primaries, people with visual impairments have an opportunity to cast their ballots independently and privately. In the past persons who are blind or visually impaired have had to rely on those that are sighted to read registration information and voting ballots. But with the creation of the accessible voting machine a person can do that on their own. Help America Vote Act In 2002 the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) was passed to allow all Americans to


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


Our Readers Want to Know: What Is "Reasonable Accommodation"?

Editor's note: One of the many benefits associated with an online information center and website, such as VisionAware.org, is the ability to track readers' search terms [i.e., information readers are seeking as they search the Internet]. The following questions about employment with a disability – specifically blindness or low vision – consistently rank within VisionAware's top twenty information searches: What does "reasonable accommodation" mean? How can I talk to my employer about reasonable accommodation? National Disability Employment Awareness Month <img src="/image.asp?ImageID=4955"


Movie Fan with Low Vision Gives Audio Description Positive Review

What is Audio Description Audio Description, a narration service that helps people with visual impairments enjoy movies, has been around for decades. But recently, the availability of audio description has increased exponentially thanks to the advocacy efforts of many disability organizations. An initiative of the American Council of the Blind (ACB), the Audio Description Project is defined as follows on their website: "Audio Description is commentary and narration which guides the listener through the presentation with concise, objective descriptions of new scenes, settings, costumes, body language, and 'sight


Accessibility Barriers in Medical and Health Care for People with Vision Loss: Real Issues, Real Problems

Last year, the Equal Rights Center (ERC) released a report documenting significant violations of federal accessibility requirements at hospitals, doctors' offices, and pharmacies across the nation. The report, entitled Ill-Prepared: Health Care's Barriers for People with Disabilities, reveals that fewer than 25% of medical service providers tested in the report were compliant with accessibility standards required under federal law. The Equal Rights Center (ERC) is a national non-profit


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 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


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


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.


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


A New Study Examines Barriers to Low Vision Rehabilitation

As a longtime vision rehabilitation and low vision therapist, I was very interested to read yet another excellent and helpful study about the usage of vision rehabilitation services. Barriers to Low Vision


What is the Status of Low Vision Rehabilitation? Is It Keeping Pace with the Needs of Older Adults?

As many readers know, my lifelong professional passion has been, and continues to be, linking older adults who experience late-life vision loss with appropriate and helpful vision rehabilitation services. It's not always easy for older adults to find appropriate and helpful vision rehabilitation services, however. In About VisionAware, we say this about


Your Opportunity to Interact with the White House on Disability Issues

Do you want to become better informed about disability issues? The White House Disability Group has begun hosting monthly disability conference calls, during which the public can call in to learn about updates on a range of disability-related issues and meet individuals who work on disability issues in the federal government. Live captioning is available during the event. About the White House Disability Group The White House Disability Group is part of


The State of Vision, Aging, and Public Health in America: How Are We Doing?

Last weekend I was privileged to attend a professional meeting with a number of vision colleagues, one of whom was the prominent health scientist Dr. John Crews. John E. Crews, DPA, is a Health Scientist with the Vision Health Initiative of the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Dr. Crews' specialties are vision impairment and aging, caregiving, and disability; his research


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