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MedPage Today has been covering the San Francisco annual meeting of the AAO (American Academy of Ophthalmology) and filed this report following up on a two year study of gene therapy.

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Uno is a super popular card game, and now even more people can play it. Mattel has released a Braille version of Uno. There's Braille in the corners of the card so people with sight and visually impaired people can play together.


Recently we've learned that the Aira app, which instantly connects a person with vision loss to a live agent who will help you with your daily tasks, is available for grocery shopping at Wegmans and at the Greater Rochester International Airport, to assist you with directions.

ScripTalk is a prescription reader device that is available at many pharmacies, free of charge.

ScripTalk is a device used to read out prescriptions to people who are visually impaired, and it’s now available in Walmarts pharmacies nationwide.


In this video Donna Danielewski, Senior Director of the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH (NCAM), shares NCAM's mission and accomplishments. They are working on behalf of all people with disabilities to make all digital media accessible.

LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Conchita Hernandez, a native of the Mexico City exurb of Jocotitlán, explains how she struggled to accept her blindness and gain independence. In 2018 she won the Holman Prize that allowed Conchita to convene the first-ever blind-led conference in Mexico devoted to bringing masses of blind people, their families and mentors together in Guadalajara to understand there is an alternative to the traditional expectation of dependence and poverty.

Nina Daut is blind and is accustomed to receiving assistance when she's at the airport.

But a partnership between the Greater Rochester International Airport and the Aira Airport Network could help change that.

Daut can now use a smartphone app from Aira, a company that connects her with a trained professional agent who can provide visual information.

This gives her a new sense of independence when traveling.

"Because if I ask them what am I facing, and which street is behind me, they would tell me," she said.

Life changing accident gives hope to many

Jun 11, 2019
Vanderbilt News - Vanderbilt University

A life-changing accident that suddenly left James Boehm blind gave him two choices - to be a bump on a log and let other people take care of him, or embrace his blindness and learn how to reinvent himself with independence.  Boehm chose the latter.

3-D printers have been used to make prothetic hands, feet, arms and other human body parts.  But now, scientists at the College of Pharmacy at Florida Agricultural and Mechandical Unitersity in Tallahassee have, for the first time in the U.S., printed a human cornea, filled with human cells. "This syringe right here is full of hydrogel and also cells," explained research assistant Paul Dinh.

Although the cornea is not yet ready for transplant, the research and work is well on its way.

Millions of Americans are progressively losing their sight as cells in their eyes deteriorate, but a new therapy developed by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, could help prolong useful vision and delay total blindness.

Ever wondered if your vision loss would compromise your  ability to defend yourself in a  dangerous situation?  

Rochester Area Blind Athletes is sponsoring a  free one hour  self-defense  workshop on Friday, May 10, 2019 from 6-7 PM at: Showgun Martial Arts 60 Barrett Dr.,  Webster 14580 *Note: The entrance is on the right of the building in the back.

In conjunction with the Hector and Sodus Lions Clubs and Rochester Area Blind Athletes, Mr. Ron Koniz of the Finger Lakes Preserve will be sponsoring the annual NY State Fishing Tournament for blind and visually impaired participants on Saturday, June 1. Individuals ages 18-99 with any level of vision loss are welcome to spend the day fishing for a variety of lake fish . An experienced sighted guide will be paired with each visually impaired person (VIP) to assist with baiting, casting, and reeling, as needed.

Could your tossing and turning at night be an indicator of glaucoma?  A recent study indicates that there may be possible connections. Read this article by Kierstan Boyd from the American Academy of Ophthalmology's EyeSmart to learn more.

Is there a connection between visual impairment and cognitive ability in older adults?  Scientists and researchers don't know for sure why vision problems affect cognitive decline, but studies indicate that seniors who have cataract surgery to improve their vision are more likely to stay active and independent, and are less likely to deal with depression, lonliness and a reduction in cognition.

Glaucoma affects 65 million people worldwide, and nearly 10% of them are blind due to optic nerve damage caused by increased eye pressure.  But a new study reported by the Journal of Glaucoma suggests that mindfulness meditation may help patients cope with the disease and improve outcomes.


Cannabis, commonly known as marijuana, has been all over the news lately, with speculation that its medicinal value may be helpful to many chronic diseases.  But the latest research shows little hope for those suffering with glaucoma.

Age-related macular degeneration, often referred to as AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in older Americans. AMD can lead to permanent loss of central vision which is essential for so many daily living tasks, from reading to driving, to recognizing the faces of your loved one.  The first step is to konw your risk factors and family medical history.  Then, its important to have regular appointments with your ophthalmologist.

One-stop shopping for vision resources

Apr 26, 2019
Louisville Tourism

The American Printing House for the Blind has compiled a very comprehensive list of services for people who are visually impaired in the APHConnectCenter.

The Library of Congress wants to hear from you! WXXI Reachout Radio, in partnership with Gallup is assisting the National Library Service (NLS) at the Library of Congress to conduct a survey about your experiences accessing and using technology. The results of this survey will help the NLS better understand how to best use technology to meet the needs of people with disabilities.

17-year-old Shayy Winn "sings like an angel"

Mar 10, 2019
American Idol - The Voice April the Girafef 2019

17-year-old Shayy Winn brings Lionel Richie to tears, at her American Idol audition.  After describing her voice as "like and angel" the judges unanimously sent her through to Hollywood.  Read her story.

Democrat and Chronicle

Blind owners of vending businesses will be allowed to operate in soon to be revamped Thruway rest areas, thanks to a decision on Monday, March 4th.  

Thanks to efforts made by the New York State Commission for the Blind Business Enterprise Program (BEP), the Thruway Authority has stated that it will negotiate its vending options to give blind vendors priority.  

Clayton Mack finds new life with guide dog

Mar 10, 2019

Diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa about 12 years ago, master mechanic had to give up a good job due to vision loss, but he didn't have to give up living his life, thanks to now travelling with his best friend and guide dog Eddie from Guiding Eyes for the Blind in Yorktown Heights, New York.

Meet Laurie Rubin, an operatic mezzo-soprano, author, advocate and jewelry maker who happens to be blind.  Her memoir Do You Dream in Color? Insights from a Girl Without Sight (2012) tells of her experiences from childhood to becoming an opera star and performing on some of the world's biggest stages, from Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York City, to Wigmore Hall in London and the Parcol Auditorium della Musica in Rome, and the Ravinia Festival where she will return in 2019 for a solo recital.

National Eye Institute - NIH

Each February organizations across the country take time to draw attention to Low Vision Awareness.  But what exactly is Low Vision?  According to the National Eye Institute at the National Institute of Health, Low vision is a visual impairment that cannot be corrected by standard eyeglasses, contact lenses, medication, or surgery.

Perkins eLearning

For years being literate simply meant the ability to read and comprehend the printed word.  But today, being literate is so much more.  It means you have the ability to solve problems, think critically, communicate and collaborate with others and have a deeper learning experience that allows greater learning.  Literacy can also lead to independence, the ability to find and hold down a job, and ultimately to pay your bills and raise a family, if that is your desired path.

Coaching Through Chaos

Computer & electronics designer and artist Vahkn Matossian has created the first high-tech baton to allow blind musicians to follow the motions of a conductor leading an orchestra, reports The Telegraph in the United Kingdom. The haptic baton was designed based upon a prototype by composer Rolf Gehlhaar, who is also Vahakn's father.

The device has microchips which translate the movement of the conductor's baton and send wireless vibrations and buzzes to electronic devices worn by visually-impaired musicians in the orchestra.

 AARP is sharing information on how new tech devices can be life-changing for people with vision loss. Many causes of low vision are simply age-related, and it's great that AARP is sharing this information with the ever growing group of aging baby boomers. Low vision doesn't mean the end of doing things you've enjoyed doing. Often it just means doing them differently.

There are many places to find resources for people with vision loss; but the challenge is to find the information you need and the right fit for you.  Recently I came across the updated site & resources of the Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and boy, was I impressed.  So I wanted to share some information and links with you.

The mission of Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired is to create personalized learning opportunities that empower people to thrive – at home, at work and in their communities.

Meet Rachel Flowers, a multi-talented young musician and composer who lost her eyesight due to Retinopathy of Prematurity. 

Hearing Is Believing, a new feature documentary from Award-winning producer/director Lorenzo DeStefano introduces the world to the multi-talented young musician and composer, Rachel Flowers. Hearing is Believingpremieres on WXXI-TV Friday, January 18, 2019 at 9 p.m. as part of WXXI and Al Sigl Community of Agencies' Dialogue on Disability week.


A guest blog post from Catherine Lewis, a musician who lost her hearing and is learning to redefine "disability."

Here in Rochester we are so fortunate to have a local public radio station deeply engaged in our community and attuned to important conversations happening in the world today. For several years now, WXXI Classical 91.5 has hosted a Dialogue on Disability during which composers and performers with disabilities are featured and disability experiences are celebrated. WXXI’s insightful programming is a powerful vehicle for changing the narrative around disability.