Browse By Topic: Environmental assessment and modification

New Research: Using Virtual Reality Environments to Help with Wayfinding Problems Related to Glaucoma

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 and its resulting visual field loss, which can interfere with a wide range of everyday activities. Visual field loss from glaucoma can create problems with moving safely

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

During Low Vision Awareness Month: Learn More About Helpful Non-Optical Devices for Low Vision

As we age, our eyes change too. In most cases, regular eyeglasses or contact lenses can correct many of these vision changes. However, if your eye doctor tells you that your vision cannot be fully corrected with ordinary prescription glasses, medication, or surgery and you still have some usable vision, you have what is called "low vision." What Is Low Vision? Having low vision means that even with regular glasses, contact lenses, medication, or surgery, you may find it difficult to perform everyday tasks, such as

Our Readers Want to Know: What Does It Mean When My Eye Doctor Tells Me I Have "Low Vision"?

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 online]. Of particular concern to many readers are issues related to the diagnosis and treatment of low vision, as evidenced by the following searches: I've been told I have low vision, but what does this mean? How is low vision different from blindness? Is there a cure for low vision? An Answer from VisionAware: What

Our Readers Want to Know: Can I Continue Gardening with Vision Loss?

Editor's note: One of the many benefits associated with an online information center and website, such as VisionAware, is the ability to hear from our readers and implement their suggestions for keeping VisionAware relevant, timely, and useful. Most recently, our reader interactions have included several inquiries about hobbies or recreational activities for adults and older adults with vision loss: I would like to help a social director in an independent living facility find activities that are appropriate for

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

There Is Hope; There Is Help: Part 1 in a Series on Low Vision and Low Vision Services by Bryan Gerritsen, CLVT

Guest blogger Bryan Gerritsen is a certified low vision therapist (CLVT) and owner of Low Vision Rehabilitation Services, providing low vision services throughout Utah. He is also the author of An Overview of Low Vision Devices,

Meet Dr. Gislin Dagnelie and Dr. Duane Geruschat: Pioneers in the Study of Restored and Prosthetic Vision

Gislin Dagnelie, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the associate director of the Lions Vision Research and Rehabilitation Center, a division of the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute. His work over the last 20 years has been supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation,

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

Meet Doug Anzlovar and the New "Low Vision Focus @ Hadley" Program at The Hadley School for the Blind

Doug Anzlovar is the Vice President of Education and Training at The Hadley School for the Blind, where he serves as a member of the administrative team, oversees a 31-member faculty, is involved in curriculum decisions and policy development, and oversees the Low Vision Focus @ Hadley program. Prior to joining Hadley, Doug worked as a teacher of the visually impaired in the Chicago Public Schools for nearly 10 years. While at Walter Payton College Preparatory High School in Chicago, Doug developed a resource program for students with visual impairments and later became chair

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

New Research: "Blindness Simulation" Activities May Do More Harm than Good

New research findings from the University of Colorado indicate that blindness simulations – intended to be bridge-builders resulting in greater compassion and understanding – can sometimes harm rather than help. According to the authors, simulation activities, and blindness simulations in particular, "highlight the initial challenges of becoming disabled" and thus "decrease the perceived adaptability of being disabled and reduce the judged capabilities of disabled people." The lead author is Arielle Silverman, now a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington in Seattle, who is blind and has experienced a variety of reactions from the public, related to people's

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

Do You Have Problems with Light and Glare Sensitivity? Meet Leann Gibson, Who Has Been There Too!

Leann Gibson was born and raised in the small community of Wainwright, Alberta, Canada. Leann and her husband Steve are professional chefs who "fell in love over a buffet line," as they like to say. Steve also serves in the Canadian military; thus, says Leann, "Moving is a way of life, so our home is truly where the heart is." Leann's vision loss journey began in June 2012, when she awoke one morning with a sense that something was "not right" and had seemingly changed overnight. Coincidentally, she was working in an optometrist's office as an optometric assistant at the time. At work later that morning, Leann was overwhelmed by a cascade of visual changes,

Integrated Low Vision and Mental Health Treatment Can Reduce or Prevent Depression

The first clinical trial to examine integrated low vision and mental health treatment – bridging ophthalmology, optometry, psychiatry, psychology, and rehabilitation – has demonstrated that an interdisciplinary rehabilitation program can reduce the incidence of depression by half among older adults with low vision due to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Ophthalmology: the Journal The research, entitled Low Vision Depression Prevention Trial in Age-Related Macular

New Research: An Innovative Simulator Evaluates Eye Diseases and Driving Performance

The University of California, San Diego School of Medicine is the first ophthalmology department in the country to feature a fully dedicated, high-fidelity, realistic driving simulator to evaluate the effects of visual impairment, such as glaucoma and macular degeneration, on an individual's driving performance. The UC San Diego driving simulatorSource: UC San Diego Health System Newsroom Located in the Visual Performance Laboratory of the

Meet Aries Arditi, Ph.D., Founder and Principal Scientist of Visibility Metrics, LLC

Aries Arditi, Ph.D, is the founder and Principal Scientist of Visibility Metrics, LLC. Visibility Metrics is a new venture for Dr. Arditi, who has devoted his career to a variety of research interests in human visual perception, spanning basic and applied studies in the human factors of vision and visibility and studies of functional visual impairment, including low vision and blindness. Dr. Arditi spent most of his earlier research career at Lighthouse Guild International, with a brief two-year stint at the IBM Thomas J. Watson

Meet a Bold Blind Beauty and a Deafblind Mother: VisionAware's Blogroll Spotlight

It's time for some VisionAware blogroll love once again. As I explained in my introductory "blogroll love" post, ... the VisionAware "blind bloggers" collective is a marvelous way to position my favorite bloggers front-and-center. You'll discover outstanding writing – and not only about blindness issues. My favorite bloggers are people who happen to be blind – and have much to say about the simple act of being deeply human. This week, I'd like you to meet two talented and thought-provoking bloggers whose subject matter ranges from fashion and beauty to living well with deafblindness. Bold Blind Beauty Stephanae (Steph) McCoy is the spirited fashionista who

New Research from Australia: Does Cataract Surgery Increase the Risk of Falling?

A new Australian study suggests (but does not definitively prove) that older adults with cataracts appear to double their risk of falling after cataract surgery on the first eye and before surgery on the second. The finding that cataract surgery may – at least temporarily – be linked to an increase in falls comes after years of conflicting study results on the subject. The research, entitled

Can Insufficient Lighting Account for Vision Disparities between the Doctor's Office and Home?

A team of American researchers has presented evidence that vision measured in the clinic is generally better than vision measured at home and conclude that vision discrepancies between patient reports and clinical testing may be due, in part, to poor or inappropriate home lighting. The research, entitled Differences in Vision between Clinic and Home and the Effect of Lighting in Older Adults with and Without Glaucoma, was published in the November 21, 2013 issue of

Where I've Been: My Blindness Work in Central Europe

Last month, I took a break from my duties at to visit Central Europe, teach in the post-graduate Low Vision Therapy program at the Akademia Pedagogiki Specjalnej im. Marii Grzegorzewskiej (the Maria Grzegorzewska Academy of Special Education) in Warsaw, and attend a Board of Directors meeting for the Kielce-based VEGA Foundation, directed by my longtime friend and colleague Agnieszka (Agnes) Janicka-Maj.

A Matter of Balance: National Program Helps Overcome Fear of Falling

Prevention of Falls National Fall Prevention Day is coming. Prevention of falls is of critical concern to people with vision loss. Also, many older adults fear falls because of the risk of serious injury. Unfortunately, the fear can be equally debilitating when a person begins to restrict their activities, leading to social isolation, physical weakness, and decreased independence. A Matter of Balance is an award-winning program which seeks to help people over age 60 learn to control fear of falling through exercise, practical tips, and problem solving in a supportive group environment. Developed by the Roybal Center

A New Independent Living Series from Hadley School for the Blind

As our readers know, I have great admiration for the ongoing – and important – educational commitment of The Hadley School for the Blind. The mission of Hadley is to promote independent living through lifelong distance education programs for people who are blind or visually impaired, their families, and blindness service providers. A New "Mini-Course" Independent Living Series from Hadley Hadley's new Independent Living series takes a mini-course approach, allowing students to focus on a specific aspect of independent living, based on individual needs and interests. The

Google Glass Applications for Blind and Visually Impaired Users

Brandyn White and Andrew Miller are computer science Ph.D. students and the principals of Dapper Vision, which provides "computer vision consulting and development with a focus on web-scale, mobile, and cloud applications." They are also spearheading, via Dapper Vision, the OpenGlass Project, which is using emerging Google Glass technology to develop applications that can help blind and visually impaired users identify objects and environments via crowd-sourcing technologies and feedback. About Google Glass: the Basics

Ford Motor Company and University of Cambridge: Research on Driving and Age-Related Vision Changes

The Ford Motor Company is teaming with the University of Cambridge Engineering Design Center to create automobile controls and displays that are responsive to the needs of the growing numbers of adults with age-related vision changes. Age-Related Vision Changes Just as the body undergoes age-related changes, our eyes undergo similar age-related changes as well. Many of these vision and eye changes are normal and are not caused by disease or illness. They can, however, make it difficult to perform many everyday activities, such as reading small print and seeing

My Experience at the Signing of the ADA by Judy Scott

Guest blogger Judy Scott is a retired employee of the American Foundation for the Blind. In honor of the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was signed into law on July 26, 1990 by President George H. W. Bush, Judy recounts being present on the White House lawn as the ADA was signed into law. My White House Experience at the ADA Signing Have you ever had an experience that you could not believe was real? I had such an experience on July 26, 1990 when I was on the White House lawn for the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act by

New Research: Contact Lenses with a Built-In Telescopic Zoom for Macular Degeneration

Information about a new contact lens device, now in development (although not yet in clinical trials), that may benefit people with macular degeneration has been published in the July 1, 2013 issue of Optics Express. Optics Express, the international online journal of optics, is an all-electronic, open-access journal that publishes peer-reviewed articles emphasizing scientific and technological innovations in all aspects of optics and photonics. About the Contact Lens

Echolocation: A Case Study by Guest Blogger Marta Fonmudeh, Vision Australia

Guest blogger Marta Fonmudeh, M.Ed, is an Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Specialist and Senior Practitioner with Vision Australia. As Senior Practitioner, Marta oversees the professional development and clinical supervision of all O&M staff within Vision Australia. Marta is also a VisionAware Peer Advisor. Last week on the VisionAware blog, we examined the process of echolocation, or Using Your Ears

Virtual Gaming Environment Helps Blind Persons Improve Navigation Skills and Cognitive Abilities

A new study in the March 2013 issue of the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE), explores the potential of a virtual gaming environment to help blind individuals improve their navigation skills and develop a cognitive spatial map of unfamiliar buildings and public locations. The Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) is the first (and still only) PubMed-indexed, peer-reviewed journal devoted to publishing scientific research in a video format. Using an international network of videographers, JoVE films

A New App Including Verbal Imaging Audio Tours at the Guggenheim Museum New York

The Verbal Imaging Tour App The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York has announced the launch of a new app, which includes its first-ever Verbal Imaging audio tour for visitors who are blind or have low vision. The app is free, T-coil compatible, and is available on site with museum admission or from iTunes. The new Verbal Imaging tour focuses on the Guggenheim's full-rotunda exhibition, Gutai: Splendid Playground, with 11 stops that guide visitors from the bottom to the top of the rotunda. It

How Visible Are Steps and Stairs for People with Low Vision?

As many readers know, I am a vision rehabilitation therapist (VRT) and a low vision therapist (LVT) with a lifelong professional interest in assessing and modifying indoor and outdoor environments for people who are blind or have low vision. One of my particular interests is steps and stairs: How easy – or difficult – are they to see, decipher [i.e., step up or step down], and navigate safely? Thus, I have been

Fear of Falling, Eye Disease, and Limitations in Daily Activities: They're All Related

Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, the official journal of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), has published yet another thought-provoking study about the real-life ramifications of adult-onset vision loss. The Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology Activity Limitation Due To a Fear of Falling in Older Adults with Eye Disease was published in the December 3, 2012 online edition of

Hints for Trimming the Christmas Tree When You're Blind or Visually Impaired

Guest blogger Fred Wurtzel is an Elder at the First Christian Church in Lansing, Michigan and a former president of the Michigan Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB). Fred's Twitter profile describes him as "High school class of '69. I love Michigan. Enjoy writing, Church Elder, NFB, outdoors, reading, and social change." Trimming the Christmas Tree: How We Began My wife Mary and I have been married for 36 years and have collected lots of ornaments over the years. Our first tree was just two feet tall, sat on a table, had one

Emergency Preparedness with Blindness and Visual Impairment: A First-Person Account

Guest blogger Lisa Salinger (at left) works for Serotek in the Sales and Customer Service departments. She is a regular contributor on the SeroTalk Podcast Network and provides training in the use of Serotek's screen reader and related products. Prior to this, she worked as a Vision Rehabilitation Therapist/Rehabilitation Teacher for the state of Pennsylvania. You can visit her website, Lisa's Creative Solutions, and

The Low Vision Design Committee of the National Institute of Building Sciences Needs You

The National Institute of Building Sciences is in the process of forming a multidisciplinary open committee to explore how design of the built environment can affect the needs of the millions of people with low vision in the United States. The Low Vision Design Committee The Low Vision

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