Low Vision News and Products
New Low Vision Videos Inform and Inspire
February 2013 The National Eye Institute (NEI) has released a new video series called "Living with Low Vision: Stories of Hope and Independence," which features inspiring stories of people with low vision.
The challenges they face reading, working at a computer, recognizing colors, cooking and navigating their neighborhoods haven't always been easy to overcome.
But with determination, a positive attitude and the help of vision rehabilitation professionals, they have learned to adapt to their vision impairments and lead busy, productive lives.
She found resources to help her deal with vision loss from diabetic retinopathy. Source: National Eye InstituteShe found resources to help her deal with vision loss from diabetic retinopathy. Source: National Eye Institute
One example is Joma, who uses a computer in his work as a customer care associate at a call center. In his video, he explains how he uses special software to magnify his screen, change screen colors to enhance readability and more.
Another is Ruth, who has age-related macular degeneration. She discusses her love of painting in watercolors and playing bridge, as well as the tools and strategies she uses to read text and get around independently.
You can watch the videos via the blue box above or by visiting the NEI website. A booklet is available, too. Called Living with Low Vision: What You Should Know, it is downloadable in PDF format here.
Fear of Falling Among Visually Impaired Elderly People Can Cause Isolation
December 2012 A fear of falling can lead to a sedentary, lonely life for many seniors who don't see well.
A study found that 40 to 50 percent of older people with vision-impairing eye diseases such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and Fuchs' corneal dystrophy have this fear and limit their activities because of it.
In the study of 345 patients, those with the fear of falling tended to be older females with worse vision and were more likely to be depressed. They also tended to have additional diseases or conditions.
"It is important to know more about which activities are being limited due to fear of falling," said researcher Ellen E. Freeman, PhD, Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Montreal. "We can then develop and test interventions to help people feel more confident about their ability to safely do those activities."
A report of the study appeared in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science.
For Desktop Magnification, Presto Lite Keeps It Simple
September 2012 Operating on the principle that complicated features will be poorly understood and rarely used, Eschenbach and Ash Technologies created the Presto Lite.
This desktop video magnifier has only the most popular features, so it is simple to use as soon as you take it out of the box.
The device has an LCD anti-glare monitor, auto-focus camera and reading table, all connected together. It folds down compactly, so it's easy to ship and store, and it weighs just 15 pounds.
Continuous-zoom magnification ranges from 3X to 21X, and there are three viewing modes: color, black on white and white on black.
The unit is user-customizable, with a tiltable monitor and a sliding reading table. And according to the manufacturer, the LED bulbs never need replacing.
New World Record at London Olympics for Legally Blind Archer
July 2012 Im Dong-hyun of South Korea has broken his own record and helped South Korea set a team record in a preliminary round of archery at the London Olympics.
Im, who is aged 26, reportedly has only 20/200 vision in one eye and 20/100 in the other. (In the United States, most states require 20/40 vision or better to drive without corrective eyewear.)
Im does not normally use corrective eyewear during competitions, despite his very blurry vision. To aim, he concentrates on the bright colors of the target.
He won gold medals in two other Olympics: Athens and Beijing. He downplays his vision issues and says that he doesn't consider them a problem.
Exhibit Spotlights Blind and Visually Impaired Australians
Photo 1: Rita Solomon and her dog Chief. Solomon was one of the earliest Australians to use dogs for orientation and mobility. Photo 2: Chelsea listens to a Daisy Player. (Images: Illawarra Images and Vision Australia)
July 2012 Most museum exhibits have little to offer visually impaired or blind people, but here's an exception.
"Living in a Sensory World," opening August 7 at Melbourne Museum (Melbourne, Australia), has interactive displays, multimedia and a variety of touchable objects that tell the story of how Australians with vision issues have worked, played, learned and lived their lives.
Included are many interesting objects, such as the ball used in the first match of blind cricket played in Melbourne, an issue of Playboy magazine in braille and Sonicguide glasses from the 1960s that used sounds to identify objects. Also featured is the story of Louis Braille, the Frenchman who invented the tactile reading and writing format.
The exhibit also recounts the many achievements of the visually impaired and provides a look at new technologies, such as bionic eyes. And it helps people with normal vision understand what it's like to rely on other senses besides that of sight.
The exhibit, developed by Vision Australia in partnership with the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, will be open through October 28.
Affordable and Lightweight, the Pebble-Mini Is
Designed To Help You Stay Independent
May 2012 With the Pebble-Mini handheld magnifier, you can read menus, price tags, receipts and labels, as well as write checks and more.
It has a 3-inch high-resolution LCD display that magnifies from 2X to 10X. The choice of 28 viewing modes and the adjustable brightness let you optimize the Pebble-Mini for your own needs.
It weighs less than four ounces and charges with a USB into either an outlet or your personal computer. The "freeze image" feature lets you take a picture and then magnify the image or view it in a different mode. You can also save and recall images.
The Pebble-Mini comes with a pouch, neck strap, hands-free reading stand and two-year warranty. Please click here for closeup photos of the Pebble-Mini in action.
After-School Program Helps Visually Impaired
Children Stay Active, Avoid Obesity
March 2012 In many communities, blind and visually impaired children have fewer opportunities to play sports or be active than sighted children. Their fitness levels suffer and they have a high risk of becoming obese.
Junior Blind of America's After School Enrichment Program aims to change all that. It runs a multi-sensory playground, aquatics center, weight room, bowling alley, rooftop track and playing field from 3 to 6 pm every school day and all day in summer. Other activities include cooking classes, nutrition education and academic enrichment.
The program operates in Los Angeles, serving 75 visually impaired and sighted children ages 8 to 13 each year, most of whom have low-income, minority backgrounds.
What could your community be doing to help visually impaired children stay active? Visit juniorblind.org for more information.
Read more about living with low vision.
[Page updated February 14, 2013]
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