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™
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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!
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.
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 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.
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.
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!
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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.
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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