Browse By Topic: Planning for the Future

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


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


My Impressions of the Orbit Reader 20

Editor's note: Recently, Steve Kelley wrote The Holy Grail of Braille and discussed exciting new refreshable braille technology including the Orbit Reader 20. Peer Advisor Sandra Burgess has been part of the testing program of that device and tells us about her experience in this informative post. Efforts to Make Braille More Affordable Braille is such an incredible tool for the blind and for some with low vision. However,


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


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


Out of the Box Technology, Low Vision, and Quality of Life

You may wonder how the phrases in the title connect? Read on! February is both Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Awareness Month and Low Vision Awareness Month. If you have recently been diagnosed with AMD and experienced some of the frustration and grief that seem to arrive simultaneously with the onset of a vision loss, you will not be surprised to learn that there is a high incidence of clinical depression among individuals


Steps I Have Taken to Regain a Creative Life After Experiencing Vision Loss with Low Vision Technologies

Editor's note: February is Low Vision Awareness Month. Peer Advisor Lynda Lambert talks about her experience with vision loss and getting her life back together by seeking immediate professional help and obtaining the necessary low vision services. In this three-part series, she outlines critical steps you should take if you are experiencing vision loss. My Experience with Vision Loss By Lynda Lambert <img src="http://www.afb.org/image.ashx?ImageID=8228" width="250px" alt="Lynda sitting at a desk with books"


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


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


New Year’s Resolution for Assistive Technology

If like many individuals experiencing vision loss, you are finding it difficult to read the text on the computer screen, tablet, or smartphone, you may be completely unaware of what options are available on your existing devices to make them easier to see, or in some cases, read the screen to you. Chances are, if you have a recent loss of vision, you may have no idea that features or technology exists called Assistive Technology (AT) that makes it easier for users with vision loss to access their devices. With the other New Year’s resolutions you may have thought to commit to this year, why not make a


Four Misconceptions to Learning and Reading Braille

January Is Braille Awareness Month January is braille awareness month, in honor of Louis Braille, the inventor of the raised dot system of reading and writing. He was born January 4, 1809. If you were born without sight or limited vision, there is a very good chance you learned braille at an early age, and that is how you learned to read and write your way through school. For many of us who are able to read print or could access it at one point in our lives, braille is like another


National Teleconference Addresses How Medicare Might Provide Coverage for Low Vision Devices

  As reported by Maureen Duffy in a recent VisionAware blog post, the American Foundation for the Blind hosted a national teleseminar on October 4 to discuss this critical topic. Approximately 200 people across the nation participated to hear what the panelists (listed below) had to say and to make their own comments about the need for coverage and what that coverage should look like. Panelists


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


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


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


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


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: 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


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: Stepped Care for Coping with Age-Related Vision Loss, Depression, and Anxiety

New research from Europe indicates that stepped care – a type of treatment that can offer self-help and "as needed" options for coping with age-related vision loss and depression – can offer promise in dealing with depression and anxiety in visually impaired older adults. Further, this stepped care approach (detailed below) could lead to standardized strategies for the screening, monitoring, treatment, and referral of visually impaired older adults with vision-related depression and anxiety. From the British Medical Journal (BMJ) The research, entitled


Coming Soon: The National Prison Braille Forum at American Printing House for the Blind

The 15th Annual National Prison Braille Forum (NPBF) will be held on October 7, 2015, in Louisville, Kentucky, in conjunction with the American Printing House for the Blind Annual Meeting. This year, the theme of the NPBF is Transition Success and will feature transcribers who are transitioning out of prison and establishing careers in braille translation. About the National Prison Braille Network The National Prison Braille Network (NPBN) is a growing group of blindness/low vision and corrections professionals who are forming partnerships to produce braille materials in prisons across the United States. Since 2001, the


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


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


Preparing for the 2015 White House Conference on Aging: Highlights of the Phoenix Conversation on Aging and Vision Loss

On April 8, 2015, a large group of older individuals with vision loss, family members, service providers, eye care specialists, policy makers, and researchers gathered in the same room in Phoenix, Arizona, during the American Foundation for the Blind Leadership Conference. The purpose of the gathering was to hold a “conversation about aging and visual impairment” to discuss issues to be raised at the upcoming White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA) to be held in July, 2015. White House Conference to Be Held July, 2015 How fitting that the conference will be held in


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


Tips on How I Prepare for an Emergency

The author with wall-mounted fire extinguisher Are You Prepared for an Emergency? The month of September is observed as National Emergency Preparedness Month. As a person with vision loss are you prepared for an emergency? Do you know what things to do to handle an emergency? Several years ago I had to say no to both of those questions. I would tell myself to put things in place but I allowed procrastination to get in the way. It was not until Hurricane Katrina hit in the fall of 2005 that I sobered up and really began to get more serious about preparing myself for an emergency.


Social Security Administration's "Ticket to Work" Program to Host Free Self-Employment Webinar

The Social Security Administration's (SSA) Ticket to Work program will host a free webinar on self-employment through the Ticket program on Wednesday, August 28, 2013, from 3:00-4:30 PM EDT. SSA's team of disability benefits experts will present a Work Incentive Seminar Event (WISE) webinar titled Working for Yourself with Ticket to Work: Achieving Financial Independence, for people aged 18-64 who receive disability benefits and are interested in employment and self-employment. The webinar will provide an overview of


Update: An Employment Mentoring Project for Students and Professionals with Vision Loss

As our readers know, I admire and support the ongoing – and critically important – work of the Mississippi State University (MSU) National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision (NRTC). The mission of the NRTC is to enhance employment and independent living outcomes for individuals who are blind or visually impaired through research, training, education, and dissemination of project results. Previously, I've blogged about a number of significant NRTC projects, including the Online Participant Registry for Blindness


My Excellent Experience as a Hadley School for the Blind "Ambassador"

On May 13 and 14, it was my privilege to attend the Hadley Ambassador Training Program at Hadley School for the Blind in Winnetka, Illinois. 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. About Hadley School for the Blind Mr. William A. Hadley (at left) was a college and high school educator and


Getting On with Life when the Rules Change by VisionAware Peer Advisor 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. You can learn more about DeAnna's life and work at her VisionAware Peer Advisor


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


My Journey Back to Braille by Empish Thomas, Center for the Visually Impaired in Atlanta

Guest blogger Empish J. Thomas is the public educator for the Center for the Visually Impaired (CVI) in Atlanta, where she organizes tours, exhibits, presentations and speaking engagements. She also posts on CVI's SightSeeing Blog and the CVI community bulletin board. In addition, she talks with potential clients, medical professionals, social service representatives, family members and others about the services that CVI can offer. In her spare time, she is a career columnist for


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


A "Top Eight" List of My Favorite Blog Posts by Joe Strechay: Part 2

Guest blogger Joe Strechay is the CareerConnect Program Manager at American Foundation for the Blind (AFB). Here's Joe's description of his AFB working life: "I spend most of my time writing about employment, career education, job seeking, and


The Hadley School for the Blind Opens the Forsythe Center for Entrepreneurship

I just received a press release about an exciting new educational and employment program at The Hadley School for the Blind: On September 19, 2011, The Hadley School for the Blind officially opened enrollment for the Forsythe Center for Entrepreneurship. The goal of the new Forsythe Center is to provide individuals who are visually impaired with the knowledge, resources, and networking opportunities that will enable them to advance in their careers and/or successfully launch and grow their own businesses. The Forsythe Center program includes a number


A New Employment Research Project for College/Graduate Students and Mentors Who are Blind or Visually Impaired

Earlier this year, the Mississippi State University (MSU) National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision (NRTC) was selected by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) as the federally-designated National Research and Training Center on Employment Outcomes for Individuals Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired. This five-year, $4.25-million federal grant will support the NRTC's efforts to increase competitive opportunities and outcomes for blind or visually impaired individuals in the job market.


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