Browse By Topic: Helpful Products

Learn about the wide range of helpful products and vision rehabilitation services that can help you live independently with vision loss, including low vision devices, computer adaptations, apps, and devices for identifying your medications. You can also register with VisionAware to receive email alerts about new blog posts in this – and other – topic areas.

Searching for Those Elusive Magic Glasses

What Are Magic Glasses? Show of hands or better yet, clap if you like to make fundamental changes in the way you do everyday, daily living activities! Are you one of those folks who relish the idea of throwing away the computer mouse and trackpad to rely solely on keyboard shortcuts to do your work? Or suddenly read your favorite books and magazines by listening to them? Abandon your usual mode of transportation and just switch to Uber, public transportation, or a bicycle? A couple of you are clapping, but the rest of us recognize these changes will be time-consuming and inconvenient at best. Even the most adventuresome of us may find some of these fundamental changes in our lifestyle can be disorienting, have a negative impact on doing routine tasks, and be


Celebrate National Library Week with a Vision Rehabilitation Therapist

Get Ready to Read This Month at Your Local Library The week of April 8 through 14, 2018, is both National Library Week and Vision Rehabilitation Therapist Awareness Week. This is the perfect time to team up with the local library and a Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (VRT) to learn more about reading with vision loss. For some, particularly those with recent vision loss, the idea of reading and returning to the library may seem like a lost pleasure or an unattainable goal. The most common goal I hear from clients is


Low-Cost Refreshable Braille at CSUN

CSUN, the annual Assistive Technology Conference, took place this month in sunny San Diego, and again, I participated virtually, listening to podcasts and reading tweets of the products featured in between shoveling out from a series of late winter storms in southern Maine! For readers unfamiliar, CSUN is often a conference where new products, updates, and ideas are first launched in the world of Assistive Technology (AT). The continued enthusiasm for refreshable braille displaysboth low-cost and tablet sizedgot my attention. These are not new this year. CSUN attendees will be tantalized by the


A Quick Look at the New Victor Reader Trek

March is National Reading Month and what a great reason to take a look at one of the true standard devices for accessible reading, the Victor Reader Stream. Humanware’s Victor Reader product line has been around for some time and has truly mastered the art of providing accessible book reading. Victor Stream TrekLatest in the Line of Victor Streams The latest in their line of Streams has added GPS and changed the name to reflect it, the new reader with GPS is called the Victor ReaderTrek. <img


Equipment and Devices I Use for Low Vision

Editor's note: This is the third post in Lynda Lambert's series for Low Vision Awareness Month. In this post, she discusses the assistive devices she finds most useful. Missed a post? Catch up on part one and part two of the series. Technology I Use Every Day By Lynda Lambert Not all technology has to be high tech. A simple digital


Step Three to Regain a Creative Life After Vision Loss: Learn to Use Low Vision Devices and Equipment

Editor's note: In Lynda Lambert's first post in this series, she discussed the importance of getting immediate eye medical attention and learning about low vision services. In this post, she details the types of vision rehabilitation services she received. Step Three to Regain a Creative Life After Vision Loss: Learn to Use Low Vision Devices and Equipment By Lynda Lambert Because I was interested in continuing to work, I qualified for the


The Holy Grail of Braille

Holy Braille is a term coined by the University of Michigan’s School of Information for a project directed by Sile O'Modhrain, Associate Professor, to create a tablet of braille cells that will more closely emulate a page of embossed braille on paper. Part of the effort of this team is to transform the mechanism that creates the raised dots on an electronic refreshable braille display from pins moving up and down to a pneumatic system. It is hoped that this design will reduce the cost of this refreshable braille device dramatically from the current cost of refreshable braille. Understanding Refreshable Braille Refreshable braille is a digital file on a computer or other electronic device that is read with a braille display. Refreshable braille remains


During Vision Rehabilitation Therapy Awareness Week: Considering the Increasing Role of Technology

By Steve Kelley, CVRT, CRC Celebrating Vision Rehabilitation Therapy Awareness Week Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan playing chess The week of April 9-15, 2017 is Vision Rehabilitation Therapist Awareness Week. The week commemorates the birthday of Anne Sullivan, who was Helen Keller's teacher (both pictured at left). With this celebration comes the


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


My Path to OrCam, Part 2

Editor's note: This is Part 2 of a blog post about Holly Bonner's experience with OrCam, a wearable assistive technology solution for individuals who are blind and visually impaired. To learn more about OrCam, read My Path to OrCam, Part 1. This blog was originally posted on Holly's blog, Blind Motherhood. My Path to OrCam, Part 2 During one of the hottest weeks in August, I arranged for my OrCam demonstration with Dr. Bryan


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


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,


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


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


Ten New Tips for Braille Users of iDevices: 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 software.


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


What's New in iOS 9 Accessibility for Blind 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 adaptive


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


Ways to Make Monitoring Blood Sugar Easier, More Accurate, and Less Costly: Part 5 in a Series

Audrey Demmitt, RN, BSN, is a nurse diabetic educator, VisionAware Peer Advisor, AFB Career Connect mentor, and author of the VisionAware multi-part blog series on diabetes and diabetes education. At age 25, Audrey was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa and continued to work as a nurse for 30 years with her visual impairment. She has worked as an Adjustment to Blindness


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™


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


The New Low Vision Focus @ Hadley Program for Older Adults with Low Vision

This month, The Hadley School for the Blind is launching the innovative and highly anticipated Low Vision Focus @ Hadley program for older adults who have low vision. 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 and low vision service providers. A newly-revised series of 10 audio lessons is the core component of the Low Vision Focus @ Hadley program. Each lesson is approximately 30 minutes long and available on a CD (pictured below), which is


Be My Eyes App Lets You Help People Who Are Visually Impaired Using Your iPhone

By John Henahan, O.D. I Love Being an Eye Doctor I love being an eye doctor! Helping people experience the richness of life by giving them the best possible vision brings me a strong sense of satisfaction and purpose. But sometimes, people lose vision despite our best efforts. Sometimes, people are born with blindness or serious vision impairment. As eye doctors, we have a variety of special tools available to us to help those with vision impairment, but sometimes there is no substitute for a pair of eyes to see something. That is one reason why people who are blind and visually impaired have flocked to smartphones, especially Apple’s iPhone. By initiating a


My Top Book-Reading Apps for Braille Users by Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and a Senior Instructor in the Adaptive Technology Department and Communications Learning Center at the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. Most recently, Scott compiled his top picks for news apps that are user-friendly and accessible to braille users. This week, Scott reviews his personal picks for the top book-reading apps for braille users.


My Top App Picks for iDevices by Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team and Accessibility Specialist

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, (at left) is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and a Senior Instructor in the Adaptive Technology Department and Communications Learning Center at the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. Most recently, Scott compiled his Top Ten List of useful tips for braille users of the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, based upon his personal experience and his work


Part 2: Ten Braille Tips for iDevices by Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team and Accessibility Specialist

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, (at left) is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and a Senior Instructor in the Adaptive Technology Department and Communications Learning Center at the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. Previously, Scott has reviewed new accessibility features in iOS 7, RoboBraille, and the Humanware Communicator app. In his latest review, Scott


Part 1: Ten Braille Tips for iDevices by Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team and Accessibility Specialist

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, (at left) is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and a Senior Instructor in the Adaptive Technology Department and Communications Learning Center at the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. Previously, Scott has reviewed new accessibility features in iOS 7, RoboBraille, and the Humanware Communicator app In his latest review, Scott has


The Argus II Retinal Prosthesis ("Bionic Eye") Receives Medicare Approval

On August 15, 2013, Second Sight Medical Products, Inc. announced that its Argus® II Retinal Prosthesis System has been approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for both a new technology add-on payment (inpatient setting of care) and a transitional pass through payment (outpatient setting of care) beginning October 1, 2013. You can read the complete announcement at the Second Sight website. The Argus II Implantation Centers In July, Second Sight Medical Products,


The Argus II Retinal Prosthesis ("Bionic Eye") to Be Offered in 12 US Implantation Centers

Second Sight Medical Products, Inc., of Sylmar, California, has announced that its Argus® II Retinal Prosthesis System, also called the "artificial retina" or "bionic eye," will be offered in 12 implantation centers across the United States to treat patients with severe to profound retinitis pigmentosa (RP). The mission of Second Sight is to "develop, manufacture, and market implantable visual prosthetics to enable blind individuals to achieve greater independence."


myVisionTrack: An At-Home App for Monitoring Eye Disease Receives FDA Clearance

myVisionTrack™ is a hand-held, prescription-only medical device, provided as an app for the iPhone 4S, that has received clearance by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on March 24, 2013 to be marketed as an at-home method for monitoring the progression of degenerative eye diseases, such as macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. The myVisionTrack™ medical device is produced by Vital Art and Science (VAS),


AccessNote: A New Notetaker App from American Foundation for the Blind

On January 31, 2013, American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) released the AccessNote™ app, a specialized notetaker for the iPhone®, iPad®, and iPod touch®. AccessNote™ was developed by AFB Tech, the technology division of AFB, in partnership with FloCo Apps, LLC. The price of AccessNote is $19.99, available as a download from the App Store. Some Background about Notetakers and AccessNote A


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