Blog Posts by Mary D'Apice

Luxturna, Gene Therapy and Your Inherited Retinal Disease

Caption: Scene as Viewed by Person with Retinitis Pigmentosa In December 2017, news broke to great fanfare that the FDA had approved the first ever gene therapy for a genetic disease. Luxturna (voretigene neparvovec-rzyl) had been proven to restore vision in people living with inherited retinal diseases. Stories about children seeing their parents’ faces for the first time and adults putting away their white canes forever were widely circulated. As a vision rehabilitation specialist, I’ve been approached by clients who ask how they too can become pioneers in the nascent field of gene therapy. It was time to look into

Coping with Geographic Atrophy, the Advanced Stage of Dry Macular Degeneration

How Macular Degeneration Affects Vision A progressive eye disease, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) may occur in one or both eyes and may advance very slowly or quite rapidly. While the condition can be devastating, ophthalmologists reassure patients that macular degeneration alone will not lead to total blindness. The reason is that both the dry and the wet forms of macular degeneration affect the

Disarming Glaucoma, the Sneak Thief of Sight: Wills Eye Hospital’s Glaucoma Detection and Treatment Program

Only Comprehensive Eye Exams Can Detect Disease According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the United States, but only 50 percent of those affected are aware they have the disease. Often referred to as the sneak thief of sight, glaucoma is normally painless, and vision loss may progress so slowly as to be undetectable. The disease affects peripheral, or side vision, first. Therefore, patients may unconsciously turn their heads to compensate for a field deficit that is not yet obvious to them. Although there is no cure for glaucoma, early detection is the best defense against vision loss because medications or surgery can slow its

Stem Cell Treatments for Dry Macular Degeneration—Cautious Optimism Advised for Patients

Treatments for Dry Macular Degeneration: An Unmet Need Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of legal blindness in Americans over 65. There are two distinct types of the disease, both of which result in the deterioration of the macula, the central part of the retina that allows a person to see fine detail. The wet form, which is considered the more aggressive of the two, affects about 10 percent of patients who may be helped by regular injections of

Two New Glaucoma Medications to Enter Market in Early 2018

Editor's note: January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, and VisionAware is bringing you critical information about management of this serious eye condition. Glaucoma is a diverse group of eye diseases that leads to a characteristic form of damage to the optic nerve. Elevated eye pressure is the primary known risk factor for glaucoma nerve damage and is caused by a buildup of fluid known as the aqueous humor. In a healthy eye, this fluid provides nourishment to cells before flowing out into the bloodstream through a drainage system made up of the primary outflow pathway, the trabecular

A Vision Specialist Reassures Clients About Charles Bonnet Syndrome

Portrait of Charles Bonnet As an itinerant vision rehabilitation teacher, I travel the highways of Central Indiana making home visits to people learning to adapt to vision loss. Each initial appointment begins on the front porch of a stranger’s home. When the door opens, I follow my new client inside to sit at their kitchen table. As I unpack the tools of my tradetactile labels, magnifiers,

91-year-old Inventor with Visual Impairment Designs for Her Generation

91-year-old Barbara Beskind is the toast of Silicon Valley as well the toast of the media, with interviews on National Public Radio and the Today Show. In the high tech industry where youth reigns, Beskind has a coveted job as a designer at IDEO, a world-renowned consulting firm perhaps most famous for designing the first Apple mouse. Beskind is living her dream, though it was a dream deferred. As a resourceful 8-year-old during the Depression, Beskind built a

Introducing Stuart Carduner, Glaucoma Patient and Advocate

Editor's note: Just in time for World Glaucoma Week, VisionAware is introducing a new Patient's Guide for Living with Glaucoma, written by a person who has glaucoma from his perspective. By Mary D'Apice, VisionAware peer advisor Author of Patient's Guide to Living with Glaucoma Is Both Patient and Advocate Stuart Carduner, author of the Patient's Guide to Living with Glaucoma, knows that many patients enter the ophthalmologist's office with a good

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

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

When the Eyes Play Tricks: Charles Bonnet Syndrome Explains Visual Hallucinations in Those With Visual Impairments

Editor's note: Information about Charles Bonnet Syndrome is of major interest to our visitors. It is often misunderstood by people experiencing the visual hallucinations and by professionals. So Mary D'Apice, VisionAware peer adviser, decided to share Dolores's story to enlighten readers. Visual Hallucinations One night, 75-year-old Dolores woke up to find a huge tree growing beside her bed. Dolores is not a character out of a fiction story but one of many individuals who experience visual hallucinations brought on by vision loss. Dolores later learned

Follow Us:

Blog Archive Browse Archive

Join Our Mission

Help us expand our resources for people with vision loss.