LIKE THIS! Facebook for people with low vision

Posted on: April 7th, 2016 by lowvision 1 Comment

Facebook is making changes in a big way this week for those who suffer from visual impairments. More than 30 million across the globe are blind, and over 30 million in America alone suffer from low vision caused by eye diseases like cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.

An integral part of many social media platforms is imagery – and Facebook is one of the biggest players in that space. Like The Verge says, “It’s difficult to imagine Facebook without photos.” But for the blind and those who suffer from low vision, the Facebook world has been quite different – until now.

This week, Facebook launched a feature called “automatic alternative text” which will automatically describe the content of photos to blind and visually impaired users. According to The Verge, auto alt text will use an iPhone’s voiceover to read descriptions of the photos aloud to users. While still in it’s early stages, it can already identify concepts in categories including transportation, nature, sports, food and people. It’s currently available to iPhone users, but will later be available to Android users and via the web.

Facebook’s team recognized they needed to create a solution to this problem if they wanted everyone to be a part of the community – so with hard work and help from artificial intelligence, that’s what they did.

To read more about the new feature, visit: http://www.theverge.com/2016/4/5/11364914/facebook-automatic-alt-tags-blind-visually-impared



Cooking made possible while living with low vision

Posted on: March 1st, 2016 by lowvision

For many people living with low vision, dining out often is not financially possible. It’s also difficult at times to travel to a restaurant and read a menu without struggling or asking for assistance. For others, cooking inside the home and feeding themselves and family members is comforting, fulfilling, and tradition. But cooking at home while living with low vision can be difficult. There are measurements to be made, hot surfaces to contend with, and sharp knives that must be used. Never fear, these helpful tips from The Washington Post can make cooking at home while living with low vision not just possible, but enjoyable too.

  • Organization is essential. Be sure to have everything it its place. Counter tops should be clear of clutter and each cooking bowl, tool, and ingredient should have its place.
  • Contrast is key. Having a few sets of measuring cups or working bowls will prove to be very helpful. Measure milk in a brightly colored cup, for instance,  to accentuate the difference in color. Cut meat or vegetables on a white cutting board to make them easier to see.
  • Tools are necessary. Special oven mitts, pot holders, and other items can make reaching for a hot pot or pan less dangerous and burns less frequent.
  • Communication is needed. Talking timers and thermometers are available making both setting a gauge and measuring time and temperature both simple and accurate.
  • Trinkets are helpful. Egg slicers, apple corers and cutters, and other specialized tools make tasks easier and keep fingers free from injury.

Beyond these tips, there are online retailers such as Low Vision Chef and LS&S Products who cater to low vision cooks. Their products offer the elements mentioned above, and also feature raised bumps or even Braille to help make whipping up a masterpiece in the kitchen even easier.

To read the article from The Washington Post, click here.

 

 



Living with Low Vision: A Patient’s Perspective

Posted on: February 4th, 2016 by lowvision

Living with low vision is not easy. Many people, upon first receiving a diagnosis of low vision or an aging eye disease, have a hard time coping with how they will retain their independence as their sight begins to fade.

There are many people living productive, independent lives with low vision diseases. One prime example is Ruth Lotz, a woman living with macular degeneration. Her story comes from the National Eye Institute, and is inspiring for patients and care givers alike. In honor of Low Vision Awareness Month, take a few moments to be comforted and invigorated by Ruth’s story.

Watch Ruth’s video here. 



February is Low Vision Awareness Month

Posted on: February 2nd, 2016 by lowvision

February is Low Vision Awareness Month. This February, start the month off right by having a low vision examination.

A low vision examination is quite different from the basic examination routinely performed by an eye care provider. This exam–often done by a low vision specialist–includes a review of your visual and medical history, and places an emphasis on the vision needed to read, cook, work, study, travel, and perform and enjoy other daily activities. The goals of a low vision exam include assessing the visual needs, capabilities, and limitations of your vision, assessing the presence or warning signs of aging eye diseases, and evaluating and prescribing low vision therapies. In addition to the medical diagnosis and evaluation, education and counseling of family and other care providers, referrals to low vision resources and support groups, and training on low vision devices will round out the exam.

The low vision examination takes much longer than a typical eye exam, but the information gained can be invaluable. No matter what your visual acuity, it is important to understand any diagnosis you may receive and to keep your eyes as healthy as you possibly can.

If you are interested in a low vision exam, you can find a low vision specialist here.



January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

Posted on: January 4th, 2016 by lowvision

As you plan for a healthier 2016, why not add this sight-saving exercise to your list of resolutions: Get a comprehensive dilated eye exam. It’s the only way to find out for sure whether you have glaucoma, one of the leading causes of blindness in America.

Glaucoma is often referred to as the “sneaky thief of sight” because it has no symptoms in its early stages. If detected early, before noticeable vision loss occurs, glaucoma can usually be controlled and severe vision loss can often be prevented. Vision that is lost from glaucoma cannot be restored. This is one of the many reasons that having an annual eye exam is so important.

Anyone can get glaucoma, but those at higher risk include:

  • African Americans over age 40
  • Everyone over age 60, especially Hispanics/Latinos
  • People with a family history of the disease

Start the new year off right by learning more about the health of your eyes, how to keep your vision healthy, and how to manage your vision as you age. To find a low vision professional, click here.