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Blog posts tagged with 'low vision'

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

03 March, 2016

Searching For 20/20 Pens

A Tale of Low-Vision Pen Obsession

Lately, we've all gone a bit pen crazy here at MaxiAids . . .

One of our most popular products was unexpectedly discontinued by the manufacturer. Now, aside from our desire to give our customers what they want, no business likes to lose a bestseller. The product was the 20/20 Pen™.

Our Wholesale Purchasing Department could not hunt down any substantial quantity of the product. In fact, even though I'm not in Purchasing, I tried to help out by personally calling the manufacturer to try to score some stock that might have been forgotten in some corner of one of their warehouses. But no luck. Not a single carton.

I confirmed that the manufacturer had no intention to make a new direct replacement. The company decided to streamline their product selection and felt the 20/20 Pen™ unnecessarily duplicated their Sharpie™ line of marker pens.

Now, we love Sharpie™ markers. I mean, who doesn't? They are really super writing instruments. And for some tasks and on some surfaces, they are clearly the best choice – so we stock, sell, and often recommend them.

However, many of our customers prefer to make their appointment entries on our Jumbo Appointment Calendar and write their shopping lists with marker pens that have a bit less bleed through. So our Purchasing Department came to the rescue by contacting all their suppliers and brought in other low-vision pens, like the Pilot Bravo!™ that would meet our customers' needs.

Because most people prefer a variety of choices, we also offer the budget-priced Economy Low Vision Pen™. This is a slimmer-designed, very affordable option.

But we didn't stop there. Oh no. O-as-in-obsession no.

With all this frustrating, laser-focused searching for the 20/20 Pen™ our Owner and Business Manager decided that they never wanted MaxiAids, or our low-vision customers, to be at the mercy of some other company's business decision.

The King (namely the 20/20 Pen™) is dead, long live the King!

MaxiAids, under our proprietary Reizen™ brand, is now the proud manufacturer of the BoldWriter 20 Pen™. 

We believe this will soon become a customer all-time favorite, destined to replace any fond memory of the old 20/20 Pen™. After all, it has to be darned good because it successfully stopped the Must-Get-Low-Vision-Pens OCD Express we all were riding on.

So what's the big deal about low vision pens?

Almost nothing is more frustrating than not being able to read something you yourself have written. If it's a matter of sloppy handwriting, you have no one to get annoyed at but yourself. But when it’s due to the writing looking too faint, light, and thin, it feels like your pen betrayed you.

And for the visually impaired and all those who live with low vision, not being to read the time of your next doctor's appointment on your calendar is a serious issue. That is why a pen that produces deep black, vivid, bold writing, yielding high contrast is so important.

A disability should not be allowed to define us or the life we lead. Every day we see our customers with disabilities choose solutions to make their lives more independently livable. 

Low vision is a very common disability, especially for our aging population. Low vision means that despite all possible medical correction – including prescription eyeglasses – you still need help to see and read. Luckily, there are many assistive and adaptive products available for low vision. This includes illuminated magnifiersvideo magnifiers, talking devices, and so much more. But the least expensive, most useful item – in addition to a handheld magnifier – that you will use every day, is a low-vision pen.

If you have low vision  or know someone who does – check out the end result of our low-vision pen quest:

BoldWriter 20 Pen™ is the easy-to-read pen for those without 20/20 vision

"If you're going to write, write boldly . . . The BoldWriter 20™ is the high-visibility pen for those with low vision."

BoldWriter 20 Pen

Major Features:

  1. Easy-to-see and read with incredibly vivid, high-visibility, black ink
  2. Quick-drying ink doesn't smudge or bleed through paper
  3. Bold point produces highly legible line width – ideal for low vision and the visually impaired
  4. Superior Quality - Made in the USA

 

Visit MaxiAids.com for the largest selection of products for independent living at the lowest prices. 

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14 April, 2015

5 Easy Ways to Make Your Spring and Summer More Accessible

Spring is finally here and with that comes sunshine, clear skies and beautiful weather that should inspire all of us to get active and enjoy the outdoors. The best part about this time of year is that we have several months of spring and summer ahead of us, making this the perfect opportunity to set goals, gear up and plan to get outside as much as possible. Whether you are looking to protect your eyes, see things clearer, increase your mobility or just make life a little easier, here are 5 Easy Ways to Make Your Spring and Summer More Accessible:


5 Easy Ways To Make Spring and Summer More Accessible - MaxiAids.com

1. The sun is so bright, you gotta wear shades: No warm weather season is complete without sunglasses. As fun as it is to bask in the sunlight, it's equally as important to protect your eyes. Sunglasses are vital to protecting your vision and helping you alleviate painful exposure to light and harmful UV rays.

Cocoons Low Vision Sunglasses - MaxiAids.com

MaxiAids offers a wide selection of protective sunglasses eyewear and UV protective sunglasses to help maintain your eye health and minimize light sensitivity. Sunglasses options from MaxiAids include Cocoons Low Vision Sunglasses available in four specific tints to help increase visual acuity, Cocoons and NoIR fitovers that are designed to be worn over prescription glasses, flip up sunglasses that you can attach to existing eyewear, and stylish all-purpose protective sunglasses suitable for everyone.

2. It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood ... so let's get moving: When the sun comes up on a picture-perfect spring or summer morning, you might find it hard to look on the bright side if you don't move as well as you used to. The good news is you don't have to let decreased or limited mobility put a damper on your outlook because MaxiAids has mobility solutions to meet all of your special needs and get you moving, including these brand new electric scooters from eWheels that are the perfect combination of speed, safety, performance and personality!

These colorful, stylish scooters even come shipped fully assembled and ride ready so you can get rev up that engine and revel in the outdoors as soon as possible.

3. I can see clearly now the strain is gone: Are you tired of squinting and straining your eyes whenever you are at a concert or a ball game, on vacation or outside trying to enjoy nature? Whether you have low vision and are seeking a way to magnify your view or simply want the clearest focus you can possibly get from a distance, these innovative and lightweight head worn binoculars from Beecher Optical Products can help.

Beecher Mirage Binoculars for Distance Viewing - MaxiAids Binoculars Store

Beecher Mirage Binoculars are one of many binoculars and monoculars available at MaxiAids. They are designed for distance viewing and perfect for bird watching, viewing special events, church services, vacation activities, sporting events, museums, theater performances, concerts, hobbies/crafts, computers/TVs, and much more.

4. Put Me Into The Ball Game, Take Me Out of the Crowd: Just because a child or adult is visually impaired, it does not mean he or she has to sit on the sidelines when it comes to playing sports or remaining active. Audible and beeping balls make it possible for sporting activities and competitions to be more inclusive, and MaxiAids is proud to offer a wide selection of accessible balls to help anyone with low vision enjoy the upcoming spring and summer months on the field with their friends and teammates.

Audible and Beeping Balls - MaxiAids

5. I would walk 500 miles, without even realizing it: While we all make an effort to exercise year-round and even set goals at different points of the calendar year, it is no secret that the spring and summer give us extra motivation to ramp up our fitness routines. With that said, a little positive reinforcement goes a long way and by tracing your everyday steps and seeing how many calories you've burned along the way, that just might be the key to gaining some confidence to help boost your desire to stay active. 

Talking WalkFit Pedometer - MaxiAids Exercise Store

If this interests you, MaxiAids has Talking Pedometers to get you moving in the right direction, both physically and mentally. Simply clip to your clothes or even place in your purse or backpack, and the Talking WalkFit Pedometer will count your steps and announce the amount back to you. It also tells you the time, exercise time, distance walked and calories burned in a clear female voice, making it a valuable exercise tool for anyone including those with low vision.

Well, there you have it, our list of 5 easy ways to make your spring and summer more accessible.

We hope you found this post to be a helpful resource in adding accessibility to these upcoming warm weather months, and from all of us at MaxiAids Products for Independent Living, we wish you a happy, healthy and accessible outdoors season!

Visit www.maxiaids.com for the largest selection of products for independent living at the lowest prices. 

24 February, 2015

MaxiAids Unveils 2015 Coupon Book Featuring Over $1,500 in Savings with Coupons on Magnifiers, Watches, Low Vision Products, Mobility Solutions, New Assistive Technology Innovations, Medication Management Systems, Accessible Cell Phones and More!

Unlock over $1,500 in Savings with MaxiAids 2015 Coupon Book! Great deals on accessible, affordable products for those with special needs!

MaxiAids Products for Independent Living is proud to give back to its amazing customers with the 2015 Coupon Book featuring over $1,500 in savings with coupons that can be redeemed at www.maxiaids.com!

MaxiAids 2015 Coupon Book - Over $1,500 in Savings!

Save big on top sellers, new innovations and accessible products that are designed to meet the unique needs of seniors, caregivers, blind, low vision, deaf, hard of hearing, arthritic, diabetic and anyone who just needs a little help in improving their daily lives and maintaining an active, independent lifestyle.

Unlock your savings today and check out our coupon book RIGHT HERE!