Are You Aware Of Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

February is the month for increasing awareness of Macular Degeneration, often called age-related macular degeneration or AMD. AMD is an eye disorder that normally occurs with aging and causes a loss of sharp, central vision. We use our central vision for many tasks during the day, to read, to drive, to watch TV or a computer screen; it is how we see clearly.

I want us to spend a moment thinking about what having AMD would mean in our lives and how it would affect us. Imagine having a conversation with a person who is very important to you, but not being able to see their face when you look at them. How would you know how they were reacting to your comments or your questions? You could not see their smiles or a frown on their face. The only way you could see those expressions would be to turn away from them and watch them out of your peripheral side vision. Would they wonder why you were “not looking at them” during your conversation? What would they think if they did not know of your vision loss? Would they think you were being rude, trying to end the conversation, looking for someone more interesting to talk with?

In another situation, imagine you were just being introduced to someone, but you need to look sideways in order to see their face. You turn away and appear to be looking in another direction...Would they feel that you were pleased to meet them?

It is estimated that 1.8 million Americans aged 40 years and older are affected by AMD and an additional 7.3 million are at substantial risk of developing AMD. It is very likely that you know someone with AMD; why don’t you talk with them about it and learn how to assist in making their lives a little bit easier?

Vision loss awareness: Let’s not make it more than just a thought in February!

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November Is Diabetic Eye Disease Month

Over 3.6 million Americans above the age of 40 suffer from a diabetic eye disease, most commonly diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness for American adults and the leading cause of preventable blindness worldwide. The number of Americans with diabetic retinopathy is projected to increase 50% by 2030.

If you have diabetes, please get a comprehensive eye exam annually even if you do not believe you are experiencing any vision difficulties. The vision loss is caused by high blood glucose levels that damage or destroy blood vessels in the retina.

This damage is irreversible—but the damage may be prevented in many cases if detected early. Unfortunately, symptoms often not detected until the condition reaches an advanced stage. These symptoms include blurry or double vision and can include dark patches in your vision or floaters. If you have any of these symptoms please schedule an eye exam as soon as possible.

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If It Is Such A Great Tool, Why Don’t We See More Of Them?

Why celebrate a “White Cane” Day? It was originally hailed as a “staff of independence” when the day was first established by our Congress in 1964.

But if it is such a great tool, why don’t we see more of them?

If you think back to October 15, 2015, did you see a single white cane? I presented a seminar to a group of about 90 health care professionals the other morning and I asked them: did they know October 15 was “White Cane Day” and did they see one? No one knew of the celebration nor had a single white cane been spotted that day.

I have spoken with women who have lost a portion of, or all of their sight as adults, about their thoughts about the white cane and the fact they were not using them. At first, they looked towards me and shook their heads as though asking themselves “did she really ask me that question?”

Then I continued, “I have a theory about why I don’t see women with canes, but since I am sighted, I don’t know if my theory is correct….” The answer was not a surprise to me; why on earth do we want to wave a “red flag” and bring to people’s attention that we are vulnerable? As women, we often wonder if we are in safe environments or entering an area were the risk of assault or rape is increased.

Why are we silent about this? It is difficult enough for people to overcome vision loss. Why aren’t better tools and modern technology out there for this growing population of the visually impaired?

I think it is time for open and frank discussion. Will you join me?

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He Could Play Beautiful Music; Now He Can Read It Too

We earlier posted a success story involving eSight, and how its product helped a woman see her son for the very first time. Here is another, and it tells the story of Nicholas, who a 17-year-old cellist from Lawrenceville, Georgia and has been legally blind since birth. He has played at Carnegie Hall and his dream is to turn his talent into a career, but in order to join a professional orchestra, Nicholas needs to have the ability to sight-read.

In April, Nicholas received his eSight and Kleenex - a product you may need when watching this - created an amazing video about it.

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Blind Bowlers Association Could Use Your Help

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

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A Closer Look

• 7 of 10 people with severe vision loss are unemployed

• 80 percent of people with severe vision loss experience chronic depression

• Visually impaired veterans are 10 times more likely to commit suicide than any other type of disabled veteran

• Total cost of vision loss exceeded $50 billion in 2007

• Roughly 21.5 million adult Americans have trouble seeing

• One in three youths under 25 are currently obese and a large percentage will suffer from vision loss

Our Services:

The goals of the Overcome Vision Loss Foundation include:

• Serving as advocates for those with vision loss from any reason

• Targeting causes of preventable or reversible vision loss

• Supporting research on quality of life to speed societal changes in public policy and legislation

• Serving as a primary source of information for all such research

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The OVLF Blog keeps up on news and developments involving those dealing with vision loss. Take a look, and if you like, leave a comment...


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