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Blog posts tagged with 'blind'

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 Blog will help make daily life a little less of a struggle and a bit more pleasurable with assistive products, suggestions, and advice. MaxiAids Helps You Do It . . . Yourself™
04 February, 2018

Eye Tips from Lighthouse Guild for Low Vision Awareness Month

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Here are some everyday eye tips in honor of February being Low Vision Awareness Month! Keeping eyes healthy is important at any age, beginning with young children. Lighthouse Guild, the leading not-for-profit vision, and healthcare organization are advising everyone to schedule regular screenings and comprehensive eye examinations.

Lighthouse Guild offers the following tips:

Get regular eye exams.
Vision screenings and eye exams are critical to maintaining eye health. Comprehensive dilated eye exams for adults can help detect glaucoma, macular degeneration and other serious eye diseases that can lead to blindness. Vision screenings can help detect problems, such amblyopia, also known as lazy eye, in children.
 Get high-quality eye charts for checking visual acuity here.

Speak up if your vision changes.
If you notice blurry spots, blurred vision, halos surrounding lights, eyes that itch or burn, black spots or "floaters," double vision, tearing or watering eyes, or if you find yourself squinting or having trouble reading or watching television, it's time to make an appointment. An eye doctor should be made aware of any gradual changes in your vision so the necessary action can be taken to maintain eye health.

Seek urgent care.
Seek urgent care if you experience sudden and/or severe eye pain, sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes, light flashes, or if your eyes turn bright red. Any of these could indicate a severe problem and should be addressed immediately.

Get UV-protected sunglasses. 
Tinted glasses will not necessarily protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. It is important to get good quality eyewear that provides both UVA and UVB coverage to protect your eyes properly. 
Get UV glasses here.

Give your eyes a rest from the effects of digital eyestrain. 
This type of eye strain—also known as computer vision syndrome—doesn't permanently damage eyesight, but symptoms could include burning or tired eyes, headaches, neck pain, fatigue, blurred or double vision. To rest your eyes, it's good to look up from your work every 20 minutes, focus on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds (the 20-20-20 rule).
 Get your computer, phone, and tablet light protectors here.

Dr. Laura Sperazza, Director of Low Vision Services at Lighthouse Guild, says, "The most important thing you can do to protect your vision is to get an eye exam.  If you find out you're in the early stages of an eye disease, your eye care professional will help you maintain the highest possible level of eye health and visual function."

Informational article: Lighthouse Guild/PRNewswire

Product links: MaxiAids

Photo courtesy: Allaboutvision.com

07 January, 2018

Low vision, Blindness Population Expected to Double in Next 30 Years

 

In the next 30 years, the blind and low vision population is expected to double amongst people 45 and older, according to new research from Johns Hopkins University. Researchers hope this new data will influence lawmakers to meet the growing demand for low vision services in the U.S. The new study was published last quarter in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Data about the low vision and blind population haven’t been recorded in nearly 20 years. The last United States Census data was collected in 2000. This new study, called Estimates of Incidence and Prevalence of Visual Impairment, Low Vision, and Blindness in the United States, examined findings from 6,016 participants who participated in the 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. However, researchers did not account for information on any visual field testing or from institutionalized individuals.

Lead author of the study, Tiffany Chan, OD, explained, “These updated results may help policymakers plan for the future and decide how to allocate resources to help people with loss of vision, an often life-changing issue. We expect a greater need for services for those patients with low vision as the aging population increases over the next several decades."

Out of the 6,016 people surveyed, 28.4% were younger than 18, 39.1% were 18 to 44 years old and 32.3% were 45 or older. The study looked at the prevalence and incident rates of low vision and blindness in the U.S., meaning the number of current cases and the number of cases that will develop over time. In the 45 and older age group, the estimated prevalence of best-corrected visual acuity less than 20/40 is expected to increase from 3,894,406 in 2017 to 7,594,797 in 2050. Meanwhile, the incidence of best-corrected visual acuity less than 20/40 in this age group is expected to increase from 481,970 new cases in 2017 to 1,006,711 in 2050. The number of cases of legal blindness will increase from 134,002 in 2017 to 279,900 in 2050.

Low vision and blindness is often a life-changing impairment, with the potential to interfere with everyday activities. Researchers hope this study will ignite change for people who need vision services.

Until then, the blind and low vision community can confidently depend on MaxiAids for all of their vision-based needs. An industry-leading product provider for the blind and visually impaired, MaxiAids will continue to serve this community and offer independence-enabling products and services. 

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

05 December, 2017
02 November, 2017

Blind Runner to Compete in New York Marathon Using Groundbreaking Technology

A blind New York Marathon runner is relying on the use of groundbreaking technology to get him across the finish line rather than an aide, according to ITV.

Simon Wheatcroft, who's been legally blind since 17 due to a degenerative eye disease, will reportedly use a device that will alert him when he's too close to other runners and warn him about obstacles ahead.

The device is called Wayband. It's an armband that uses GPS and emits vibrations that will guide Wheatcroft right and left during the marathon. A second device, worn on his chest, will be responsible for warning him about obstructions in his path.

Wheatcroft opened up about the trial and error period he endured in preparing to run this 26.2-mile race without a human guide. He told ITV he encountered a number of issues along the way, including some injury.

"When you can't see where you're running you have to assume the environment is constant," he said. "That has seen me running into burnt-out cars that have been left in the middle of the pavement and injuring myself quite badly."

He's hopeful that in being the first blind person to complete the New York Marathon without a guide, he'll be able to help others and advance technology created to help the visually impaired. "I'm not doing these things just so I can be the first to do this and the first to do that, what I'm interested in is making sure this technology exists to help everybody," Wheatcroft told ITV.

He added that he's "excited, nervous and a little scared" for the big day, which kicks off early on November 5th, Wheatcroft anticipates that he'll be overwhelmed with emotion when he's through with the race.

Click the links below and view our selection of life-changing products that enable independence for those who are visually impaired!

iGlasses Ultrasonic Mobility Aid- Clear Lens - Detects Objects to Help You Walk with Confidence

Ray Electronic Mobility Aid for the Blind - Great to Use Along with Your Cane for the Blind

iMerciv BuzzClip Wearable Mobility Aid for the Blind - Assistive Device for the Visually Impaired

Video Courtesy: ODN News

18 October, 2017

New Developments: Enabling Vision for Individuals who are Blind

Enabling blind people to see again is the dream of many neuroscientists. We still have a long way to go to make this happen, but we have also made a lot of progress over the last twenty years, says Richard van Wezel of the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition, and Behavior. He presented his research into the development of a 'prosthetic for blind people' on the occasion of World Sight Day (October 12th), an annual event that focuses attention on blindness and vision loss. Van Wezel and his colleague Marcel van Gerven belong to the NESTOR consortium, consisting of participants from a range of disciplines including neurobiologists and engineers specialized in microelectronics and wireless apparatus. NESTOR, which received a grant last November from NWO Applied and Engineering Science AES, is working on the development of a prosthesis that uses micro-electrodes to stimulate the brains of blind people to evoke phosphines. "These are phosphines, comparable to the stars you see when you stand up too quickly. Blind people can also perceive them," Van Wezel explains. "We use electrodes to stimulate the brain in such a way that blind people can have a limited form of vision to see what is happening in the world around them." It is a potential solution for people who have become blind because their eyes or optical nerves are no longer functional. "For this group, stimulating the visual cortex is the only option for restoring vision."

Evoking phosphines

"The beauty of the visual cortex is that it is organized very logically. In a sense, the visual cortex contains a map that we can use to evoke phosphines very precisely at certain locations. Even with a limited number of electrodes, you can create all kinds of patterns. We are still at a very early stage and are working with experimental animals, but our ultimate objective is to make this possible for blind people." Within the project, Van Wezel is focusing primarily on psychophysics: understanding the relationships between stimuli and perception. "I am especially interested in how much information you need to see certain things. We know that even a small number of moving points is sufficient for people to see the contours of a person or the layout of a room. For someone who sees nothing at all, even this limited vision can be extremely valuable."

Positive expectations

For Van Wezel, the cochlear implant is one of the great success stories in neuroscience. "Worldwide, more than 300,000 people have benefited from cochlear implants, but I expect it will be several decades before visual implants become so widespread. Many attempts have been made, but few of them have succeeded." Nevertheless, the researcher is optimistic. "Our starting position now is much better than 20 years ago, when trials with brain implants usually failed. Much more is now technically possible, due in part to artificial intelligence and developments in deep learning. Another positive note is that we now understand much more about the functioning of the brain and the retina."

In the near future, Van Wezel also expects that gene therapy will provide solutions for certain types of hereditary eye diseases caused by a genetic mutation resulting in blindness. "At present, a great deal of research is being done with injections of genetic material into the eye to stop eye diseases. The developments are promising." However, Van Wezel argues that the greatest gains can currently be achieved in developing countries. "The majority of people in the world who are currently going blind are from developing countries in which no money or suitable treatments are available, for cataracts for example. This disorder requires relatively simple surgery, which is widely available in developed countries."

Recognizing facial expressions

Another project, known as Sixth Sense, is a very practical application of the type of research being conducted by Van Wezel and his colleagues. In cooperation with the University of Twente, a belt has been developed that can be worn around the abdomen and is linked to a smartphone and a camera that recognizes facial expressions. "Based on the emotion shown in the face of the conversation partner, the wearer feels certain vibrations. Half of our communication is nonverbal, and cannot be perceived by people who are blind or have low vision. A tool like this enables them to sense emotions that they cannot perceive otherwise."

Check out these products that are also improving the lives of people who are blind or have low vision.

Provided by: Radboud University

16 October, 2017

Researchers Test Gene Therapy on Mice to Restore Eyesight

 

Retinitis pigmentosa, one of the most common causes of blindness, could be reversed with the use of gene therapy, according to a study by the University of Oxford in England. The study was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study’s theory was tested on mice and proved successful after reprogramming cells at the back of the eye to become light sensitive. Researchers used a retinol protein called human melanopsin to see if they could increase light sensitivity, and were successful after one year. The study’s administrators found the mice that received this gene therapy were more aware of their surroundings than the mice that did not receive it.

The study’s lead author, Samantha de Silva, told Seeker, “Treated mice showed a number of visual responses including the ability to detect their environment based on visual information alone, whereas control mice were completely blind by this time point.” De Silva added if this method was used on blind humans, it would be “hugely beneficial in terms of navigation and quality of life.” 

De Silva also said the researchers suspect this gene therapy will work in some blind humans with certain retinal degenerations, but their next step is to begin a clinical trial using this gene therapy on humans. The form of blindness that this gene therapy could treat, which is inherited retinal degenerations such as retinitis pigmentosa, is now the leading cause of blindness. De Silva said this breakthrough study will help researchers treat other forms of blindness using the same approach.

She told The Independent of her enthusiasm to use the gene therapy on patients, “There are many blind patients in our clinics and the ability to give them some sight back with a relatively simple genetic procedure is very exciting.”

Check out these products that are also improving the lives of people who are blind or have low vision.

Photo Courtesy: LinkedIn.com

04 October, 2017

Legally blind seven-year-old sees for the first time through high-tech glasses

Davin Bazylewski, a legally blind seven-year-old boy, is seeing clearly for the first time, thanks to a pair of eSight glasses. 

Davin was born with optic nerve hypoplasia (ONH) also known as septooptic dysplasia (SOD) or DeMorsier syndrome, a congenital disorder characterized by underdevelopment (hypoplasia) of the optic nerves, which causes continuous eye shaking and poor vision. In Davin’s case, he is completely blind in one eye and has poor vision in the other.

Davins's miracle was set in motion earlier this year when his parents got wind of this high-tech eyewear that could help him. They learned that these unique glasses have the capability to capture high-definition video and then optimize the images into an easily viewable format. They were even more pleased to find that the glasses actually did as advertised, after having Davin try them out. Davin's parents then started a GoFundMe page to assist them with the $10,000 purchase price and were beyond grateful to see absolute strangers donate towards covering the costs.

These glasses now allow Davin to see patterns and textures as well have the ability to read, watch TV and engage in all visual activities. Davin's parents are assured that with time, he will gain even more independence and confidence. 

Check out these products that are also improving the lives of people who are blind or have low vision.

Photo Courtesy: Winnipeg Free Press

24 February, 2015

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15 February, 2015

5 Steps for Planning a Beeping Easter Egg Hunt for the Blind and Visually Impaired

When any holiday approaches and you begin planning your activities, it is important to think about accessibility for both the day itself as well as the special events surrounding it. Whether party planners are trying to be more inclusive with holiday food traditions or attempting to plan an accessible Easter Egg Hunt for blind and visually impaired children, the common goal here is to make it so that everyone can celebrate such occasions and feel like they can join in on the fun.

If you are planning an Easter Egg Hunt in your community or school this your, there are steps you can take to ensure that kids who are blind or visually impaired can be included. The same holds true for seniors in nursing homes or assisted living facilities, hospitals or any other locations where people have special needs such as vision impairment.

Here are 5 steps for planning a Beeping Easter Egg Hunt for Those Who Are Blind and Visually Impaired:

1. Stock up on Beeping Easter Eggs. These specially designed Beeping Easter Eggs give blind and visually impaired kids accessibility to Easter Egg Hunts that are going on around them. Instead of going by visual cues, kids can locate these eggs by following the loud, clear beep they emit. Beeping Easter Eggs can also be used on Easter morning to provide an audible alert as kids with low vision experience the excitement of locating their Easter baskets. In addition, they're great for use at disability awareness functions as well as senior homes and assisted living facilities to bring the joy of Easter to all ages.

Beeping Easter Eggs available at MaxiAids.com

To use, just place an egg around the area of the hunt and flip the ON/OFF slide switch to turn on the beeper. The beeper assembly and batteries are housed in the bottom half of each egg, leaving the top half hollow. 

2. Pick and time and date that works best for your event. When planning any event, you want to check your calendar and make sure the time and date make sense. If you are a teacher planning an Easter Egg Hunt for special needs students, chances are you will be doing this as a special activity during school hours the week before Easter Sunday. If you are planning a community event, then you are looking at Easter Weekend and you want to make sure the time and location you pick do not conflict with other events surrounding Easter Sunday.

3. Plan your Beeping Easter Egg Hunt keeping age groups in mind. It is important to plan an age-appropriate Beeping Easter Egg Hunt to make sure everyone can have the best time. For example, when planning for younger children, make sure hiding spots are not out of their reach. When planning for seniors, you can award them special prizes that aren't chocolate or candy especially if they are on a diet due to certain medical conditions.Use the resources around you and when in doubt, consult with colleagues and family members when planning.

4. Map out your location, list hiding places and set clear boundaries. Once you have the Beeping Easter Eggs, time and date and a game plan for the big event, you want to scout your chosen location to map things out. When hiding Beeping Easter Eggs, make sure to list the hiding places so that you can make sure all of them are retrieved at the end of the event. Also, it is important to let everyone involved know what the boundaries are for the Easter Egg hunt to ensure safety.

5. Make sure there is proper supervision at all times. This is a vital piece to all Easter Egg Hunts, especially where special needs groups are concerned. Having proper supervision measures in place before, during, and after the Beeping Easter Egg Hunt will only add to the overall enjoyment of the day because the planners, participants, and spectators will know ahead of time that instead of being a free for all event, it is a FUN for all event... and that's the way it should be!

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05 May, 2013

Elliot Zaretsky Honored by Long Island Council of the Blind for His Lifelong Dedication to Helping Blind and Visually Impaired People

The Long Island Council of the Blind has recognized Elliot Zaretsky, president and founder of MaxiAids Products for Independent Living, for his dedication to the equality of rights, dignity and independence of the blind and those with low vision.

Elliot Zaretsky Award

Elliot Zaretsky, president and founder of MaxiAids, holds the plaque he received from the Long Island Council of the Blind for his dedication to the blind and those with low vision

FARMINGDALE, NY, May 06, 2013 -- Elliot Zaretsky, president and founder of MaxiAids Products for Independent Living was honored this week by the Long Island Council of the Blind for his extensive work helping people who are blind or who have low vision live more active, independent lives.

To mark the occasion, Mr. Zaretsky was presented with a plaque that recognizes his "commitment to ensuring the equality of rights, dignity and independence of people who are blind and/or have low vision... by his continued work and support for the population." In addition to printed engraving, the plaque was also imprinted in tactile Braille.

Lori Scharff of the Long Island Council of the Blind presents MaxiAids' president and found Elliot Zaretsky a plaque recognizing his contributions to the blind and low vision community

While accepting the honor, Mr. Zaretsky recalled that he was motivated to get into the independent living industry after he found out his son was deaf.

A pharmacist by profession, he was operating a successful chain of pharmacies at the time. Frustrated by the lack of products available to help his son, and at the expense of the few products he did find, he vowed to make a difference.

So, in 1986 Mr. Zaretsky started MaxiAids Products for Independent Living.

"My goal was to find and develop products to help people with special needs live more healthy, active and independent lives," he says. "And I was determined to keep the prices low so more of the people who really need these items could afford them."

After three decades in business, he has met his goals and expectations. MaxiAids has been at the forefront of the independent living industry and is responsible for many inventions and developments in the field. With over 8,000 items it has become the one-stop super-store for those with special needs, and its product catalog is considered by many to be the reference guide of the industry.

And beyond the products it supplies, the company also employs people with disabilities.

"I am proud of our dedicated staff, which includes blind, deaf and autistic people," noted Mr. Zaretsky. "And there are several deaf-blind individuals in our job training program who show an amazing determination to come to work."

He also expressed his satisfaction at the strong partnerships MaxiAids has established with non-profit organizations including Helen Keller National Center and Braille Institute, as well as numerous Lighthouses for the Blind and schools for the deaf across the country.

Lastly, Mr. Zaretsky reflected on his three decades at MaxiAids.

"Even after all of these years I still go to work every day with the same passion for serving those in the special needs community that I had at the start," he concluded. "And I am happy to say that I believe I am exactly where I was meant to be in life."

MaxiAids is a world-leading provider of products for independent living, supplying an extensive range of items designed to improve the lives of seniors, as well as the blind, low vision, deaf, hard of hearing, diabetic and those with mobility challenges and other special needs. For more information, visit www.MaxiAids.com or call 1-800-522-6294.

The plaque presented to Elliot Zaretsky by the Long Island Council for the Blind in honor of his service to the blind and low vision individuals has both print and Braille Writing