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Blog posts for April, 2018

Discover the latest innovations in the low-vision, low-hearing, and mobility industry, as well as those must-have products to enhance your day-to-day life. Our Independent-Living Blogs will help inspire you and make your daily life a little less of a struggle and a bit more pleasurable with assistive products, suggestions, motivational stories and advice. MaxiAids Helps You Do It . . . Yourself™. We welcome you to leave a comment if you enjoyed reading a particular blog!
23 April, 2018

Blind USC Football Player Inspires with Story about Going Blind at Age 12

When Jack Olson was 8 months old, he was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a rare cancer of the retina. This diagnosis would later cause him to go blind by the age of 12, a setback that he’s turned into an inspiring story.

When Olson was just 10 months old, he had his left eye removed. By age 12, both eyes had to be removed. “I found out I was going to go blind on October 1," Olson, now 21, told CNN (https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/04/health/vital-signs-football-jake-olson-eye-tumor-retinoblastoma-blind/index.html). "November 12 was my surgery, so there's a month and a half there of knowing I'm going to go blind. And that thought tormented me."

During his last days of having vision, Olson said all he wanted to do was watch the USC football team, and he was welcomed with open arms by Coach Pete Carroll. Olson called it “liberating” that he was able to take his mind off losing his sight while on the sidelines of the football field; a field that he would someday play on himself.

“Once I went blind, it was almost this kind of realization of, 'OK, I'm blind,' " he explained. "'There's no way of reversing it. It is my life. I don't have to worry about going blind anymore, because I am blind. Now let's deal with it. Let's focus on living my normal life.' I was determined to not let it stop me."

After starting on his high school varsity football team during his junior and senior years, Olson joined the USC football team as a long snapper when he was a freshman. Although he has to work harder than his teammates to overcome his disability, his roommate and manager Danielle Hennes said, "To be honest, I've really only seen him get down once or twice.”

Olson’s inspirational story has many more chapters to come. "I think that sports have given me a platform ... so I could prove myself to others," he said. “I can go out there and have a place where I can show others that yes, I'm blind, but that doesn't mean I don't belong out here or that doesn't mean I can't perform out here."

On September 2, during a game against Western Michigan, Olson proved that by executing a snap. The crowd and his teammates went wild, causing him to become a viral story that will serve as inspiration for years to come.

Take a look at these products that are currently improving the lives of people who are blind or have low vision.

23 April, 2018

New Research Suggests Eye Patch Can Improve Vision in People with Severe Age-Related Vision Loss

New research published in the journal Science Translational Medicine has suggested a revolutionary eye patch can improve vision for those who have severe age-related vision loss. 

Dry Macular Degeneration

What is dry macular degeneration? This disease is common amongst those aged 65 or older and affects 1.75 people in the United States. Dry macular degeneration causes central vision to deteriorate as we age, which essentially makes it impossible to focus on the people, text or objects before us. However, peripheral vision is unaffected in dry macular degeneration, meaning going blind is usually not a factor in this disease.

The wet form of this disease happens more suddenly, caused by the area under the retina leaking blood vessels. Dry macular degeneration happens over time, which is why it’s affected as we age. The thinning of the macula in dry macular degeneration comprises patients’ direct vision, which can impact people’s driving and overall quality of life.

The Experiment

Researchers from the University of Southern California came to this conclusion after placing the 6x4mm patch coated with healthy human embryonic stem cells on four people with advanced dry macular degeneration. The patch was placed on the back of the eye, on the tissue near the eye’s optic nerve, which resulted in impulses being sent to the brain to create images.

The four participants were found to have improved or stabilized vision by the end of the experiment, which lasted one year. All participants received the patch on just one eye so that researchers could compare the results to the untreated eye. Researchers found that the treated eye saw a stabilization of the disease while the untreated eye became worse over time. One of the participants’ eyesight improved so much that she was able to read 24 letters on an eye chart after the experiment, compared to seven letters before it.

Researchers plan to conduct a larger experiment that will test this pioneering patch on patients at earlier stages of dry macular degeneration.

Take a look at these products that are currently improving the lives of people who are blind or have low vision.