News about Blindness and Vision Loss

Want to know what's going on in blindness research, adaptive technology, independent living products, or general news that can help you live independently?  We'll bring you some of the latest stories and links to information that you can use!

Ways to Connect

October each year is designated as Blindness Awareness Month or Eye Care Awareness Month. 

We take this month to raise awareness to the importance of eye health and to preventable and treatable blindness. It is said that up to 80% of blindness is avoidable through prevention or treatment. That's why, during Blind Awareness month, we are urging you to take care of your eye health.


For decades, patients with retinitis pigmentosa were told that there was nothing for them and they would have to live with little to no vision. The bionic eye implant has changed that.

Retinal specialists at the Flaum Eye Institute, Dr. Mina Chung and Dr. Ajay Kuriyan introduce us to the eye in the Medical Innovation.

Watch episodes of Second Opinion

So You Think You CAN'T Dance? Guess again!

Sep 25, 2018

Often in our posts to this page we talk about being an "I Can" sort of person.  Just because you've lost your vision, doesn't mean that you "can't" do all the things you used to do or always wanted to do.  Sure, something things won't be possible.  But other things may be, if you are willing to say "I Can Try!"

On Saturday, September 15th WXXI Reachout Radio partnered with area 20E-1 region Lions clubs to provide FREE vision screenings for children age 2 to 7.  We had two great teams of Lions representing four area Lions Clubs to do vision screenings for children attending WXXI bi-annual Open House.  68 children were screened and three children were referred for follow-up care. 

This past winter I had an unexpected vision loss with a torn retina in one eye and a detached vitreous in the other, caused by nothing more than aging.  None of us knows when these things may happen, and there is nothing we can do to prevent "age-related" vision loss.  That's why it's important to have WXXI Reachout Radio, to provide access to print news and information for those who need it.

Update on Blitab braille tablet technology

Sep 10, 2018

We've shared information on Blitab before, but here's an updated article from the September 3, 2018 New York Times on the tablet-style device with a glass surface which is perforated at the top into a grid with holes that allows liquid-based technology to present content in Braille.

Rochester-based grocery giant Wegmans becomes the first supermarket in the United States to become accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired using the Aira mobile app for smart phones.  Long known for its commitment to customer service and accessibility for all, Aira is pleased to announce that Wegmans Food Markets is the first Aira-enabled supermarket chain in the United States, according to a report from the American Council of the Blind.

The Foundation Fighting Blindness shares this news which is important for all those who deal with vision loss.

An important bill has been introduced to the US House of Representatives that has the potential to greatly increase research funding for all blinding eye conditions, including retinal diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa, Leber congenital amaurosis, Usher syndrome, and age-related macular degeneration.

Lighthouse International

The Filomen M. D’Agostino Greenberg Music School at Lighthouse International is the only community music school in the US for people who are blind or visually impaired, offering instruction and an accessible music technology center. Founded in 1913, the Music School is dedicated to artistic and educational excellence that unleashes imaginations.

American Foundation for the Blind

Vision loss, to any degree, creates unique challenges for students of all ages.  But making the transition from public or private school where students may have friends and family support, to college and career readiness, where a visually impaired student is often alone and educating the educators on his or her needs, presents all new challenges . 

Burlington County Eye Physicians

MedPage Today recently released the following reports on the effectiveness of anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) treatment for people with diabetic macular edema (DME) and nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR). 

Community Eye Health Journal

MedPage Today recently released a number of reports (July 2018) on a number of clinical studies regarding the effectiveness of anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) treatment for people with age-related macular degeneration.

WeWALK is not just an amazing new digital product that combines a traditional mobility cane for the blind with smart phone technology, it is a movement and a social platform that strives to unite blind people worldwide, creating awareness, accessibility and social inclusion for all people.

The WeWALK smart cane is still in development and will have three main features:

Meet Feelif, the first worldwide provider of multisensory digital games and educational content for the blind and visually impaired, enriching lives all over the world.  Feelif developers invented unique technology that enables blind to feel shapes on a touch screen.  The technology is now being used to make games, educational content and provide a platform for apps.

Did you know that if you are over age 60, you might be one of the one in eight people that will experience some degree of vision loss?  It could be cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration or glaucoma.  And other health problems, such as stroke, may impact vision as well. 


The Rochester Pioneers, the Rochester area's only beep baseball team for blind and visually impaired athletes, from children to seniors, is presenting the film The Renegades: A Beep Baseball Story, this Thursday, June 21 at 7pm at the Cinema Theater on the corner  of S. Clinton and S. Goodman.

News from APH and AFB with deadlines for you

Jun 18, 2018
American Printing House for the Blind

Over the past year, AFB has been implementing a new strategic plan approved by the AFB board of trustees in June of 2017. As we hope you are already aware from our earlier press release and social media posts, the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) will become the steward of several key programs founded by AFB, including AFB Press, and will assume responsibility for ensuring their continued impact.

What do you do when you learn that your child has a vision impairment?  You feel so alone and don't know where to go for help.

The American Foundation for the Blind has a resource called Family Connect where you can find help after receiving a diagnosis of visual impairment.  There's also a Family Connect blog where you can read real stories like you.  There are also educational resources available and information in Spanish.

Learn more about AFB's FamilyConnect and Join the Community.


Many Americans think loss of vision is a normal part of aging. Think again. The number one cause of vision loss is actually a disease called macular degeneration. This episode of Second Opinion describes the disease and how you may be able to prevent it from compromising your vision.

Host Dr. Peter Salgo speaks with Retinal Expert Michael Rivers, M.D., Ophthalmologist Steven J. Rose, M.D.  and Low Vision Expert Dr. Gwen Sterns, M.D.

This June 7-10, 2018 the New York State School for the Blind (NYSSB) and its Alumni Association will be celebrating milestone anniversaries.  NYSSB turns 150 and the Alumni Association turns 100!

You can get in on the celebration by attending the annual reunion of the Alumni Association that will take place June  7 through 10 at the Quality Inn in Batavia.  To reserve your space, contact Alumni Treasurer Chet Smalley at (814) 566-6332.

Re-Imagine RTS, for background Listen Here

May 11, 2018
Democrat and Chronicle

Earlier this spring the Regional Transit Service announced Re-Imagine RTS, a proposal to overhaul, simplify and streamline the Regional Transit Service.  But how might these changes impact you? 

On Wednesday, May 23 at 12:00 p.m. WXXI-AM 1370's Evan Dawson spoke with RTS CEO Bill Carpenter about ReImagine RTS.  Listen Here.

Original Post:

Recently the Democrat and Chronicle reported the following:

Stem cell research shows hope for Dry AMD

May 2, 2018

Dry age-related macular degeneration is the most common type of age-related macular degeneration. Over time, it can lead to loss of central vision, which can diminish people’s ability to perform daily tasks like reading, writing, driving and seeing faces, impacting approximately 1.7 million Americans.  And that number is expected to rise to 3 million by 2020.  But progress is being made.

MIT Technology Review

More than 30 million Americans live with diabetes, which is the leading cause of Diabetic Retinopathy, the most common cause of vision impairment and blindness among working-age adults.  Diabetic Retinopathy occurs when high levels of blood sugar lead to damage in the blood vessels of the retina, the light-sensitive tissue in the back of the eye.

Retina Labs

Did you know that With uncontrolled diabetes and high blood pressure, your blood vessels can get leaky, causing greater risk of retinal bleeding, scarring and vision loss.

When you have diabetes, there's a lot of emphasis on controlling your blood sugar levels. But Dr. William Curry, vice chair for population health in Penn State Health's Department of Family and Community Medicine, says he may do more good for diabetes patients by getting their cholesterol and blood pressure under control than he can by intensifying their glucose control.

Art Access through Virtual Reality

Mar 28, 2018

We've all read the stories of how museums and collections of fine art have struggled with how to make these priceless masterpieces accessible to people with vision loss.  Now, the National Gallery of Prague is using technology - virtual reality to be specific - to allow people with vision loss to "feel" great sculptures and fine art. 

Do you miss reading? Do you know about NLS?

Mar 2, 2018

Do you miss reading?  Would you like to read with your grandchild? Then you need to know about the National Library Service for the Blind (NLS), a free braille and talking book library service for people with temporary or permanent low vision, blindness or a physical disability that prevents them from reading or holding the printed page. Through a national network of cooperating libraries, NLS circulates books and magazines in braille or audio formats, delivered by postage-free mail or instantly downloadable. 

Watch to find out more.

Nystagmus or wobbly eye - What is it?

Feb 7, 2018

Nystagmus is a vision condition in which the eyes make repetitive, uncontrolled movements, often side-to-side, up-and-down, or in a circular pattern, that can result in reduced vision and difficulty with depth perception.  According to the American Optometric Association, Nystagmus is most commonly caused by a neurological problem which occur

Floaters and flashes - the Saga Continues

Jan 31, 2018

Just two weeks ago I started down a road of vision changes that I had never experienced before - floaters and flashes in my field of vision in my right eye.  After some rapid changes over three days, a torn retina was discovered and repaired.  On my one-week check-up, all looked good.  That was then...this is now.

NEI information on Age-related eye diseases

Jan 29, 2018
Regenerative Medicine Now

DidYouKnow that as you age, you are at higher risk of developing eye diseases and conditions, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataract, DiabeticEyeDisease, and glaucoma? Visit aging eye to learn about your risk factors and what you can do to protect your sight.

The Laboratory of Retinal Cell and Molecular Biology (LRCMB) plans, conducts, and directs basic research in normal and abnormal functioning of the retina, other ocular tissues, and in retinal diseases, particularly those of a genetic nature. Visual process mechanisms are emphasized as well as the function of neural, glial, and pigment epithelial cells.