Local AT donation of a Sara to the Chapel Hill Library:

April 24, 2009

Lauren Tappan has been working on a project to donate a Sara/ Reading Machine to our Chapel Hill Public Library. She has a grant application for funding and has already heard from two vendors that they are willing to sell us a re-furbished Sara at a discounted price. The Friends of the Library has been supportive but we have not officially heard from the Director of the Library. Lauren had a recent conversation with the Library Director in which the Director said they would like to accept the Sara and are now looking for a space to place it. The wait continues.

Meantime, Lauren has also contacted the Carrboro branch of the Orange County Library and has beginning conversations with our local University Library as another possible donation site for this AT reading machine. We will probably know by the end of May whether the funding will be available to purchase this equipment.

Lauren is also waiting to hear from the Library staff as to whether they are interested in a demonstration of this product. Jerry Mansell from Duke Eye Center as well as two vendors have agreed to demonstrate the Sara whenever the Library staff is willing.

Carol Woods, which is a a local Retirement Community, has a reading machine for their residents but their reading machine only increases the size of the text, it does not read to them. It is also rather complicated to use and the residents give up trying to use it. I am hoping that the Sara will be a new and useful reading solution for people with poor vision.

One of the issues with AT donation to our local library is that they decided to put Zoom Text and Jaws on their computers. They then say that it is rarely used and therefore why get additional equipment. I would have made other suggestions for AT equipment to the library. It is my hope that there will eventually be some type of AT consumer group that can advise organizations when they are considering purchasing AT equipment. I think that if the user group is consulted then the piece of AT equipment would be generally used more frequently.

Thanks for listening.
Lauren Tappan


Othera’s Eye Drop to Cure ARMD Seems Promising But Too Early to Tell

April 20, 2009

An eye drop that stabilizes the most common form of AMD is encouraging.  The ability for an eye drop to be effective is curious.  Historically it has been difficult to get any medication effectively delivered to the retina via topical medications.  The development of geographic atrophy is very, very slow and it is surprising that a positive trend can be noted in such a short time.

The dry form of AMD is the more common form affecting about 90% of all those afflicted with macular degeneration.  The most severe of these is geographic atrophy (GA).  It is a slowly progressive disease causing damage and loss of the vital underlying RPE cells.  It usually takes years for patients to notice a change to their vision.

The news release describes a treatment that may be potentially helpful to most patients that are afflicted with macular degeneration.  A simple eye drop to treat this disease is very intriguing.



Anti-blindness stem cell therapy perfected

April 20, 2009

UPI News Service – Published: April 19, 2009 at 2:27 PM
LONDON, April 19 (UPI) — British scientists say they have developed a stem procedure that will reverse the most common cause of blindness, age-related macular degeneration.
The procedure, pioneered by the Institute of Ophthalmology at University College London and Moorfields eye hospital, involves replacing a layer of degenerated eye cells with new ones obtained from embryonic stem cells, The Sunday Times of London reported.
The newspaper said pharmaceutical research company Pfizer this week will announce financial backing to bring the therapy to patients.

Revolutionary Genetic Test Now Available for Age-Related Macular Degeneration

April 15, 2009

For the first time ever, an individual’s inherent risk of developing this devastating eye disease can be determined

TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – March 10, 2009) – ArcticDx Inc., a molecular diagnostic company with expertise in the design, development and commercialization of validated molecular diagnostic tests, announced today the availability of a test specifically designed to determine one’s inherited risk for Age-Related Macular Degeneration (“AMD”).


Stem cell treatment for sight loss could be in use by 2012

April 13, 2009

The Edinburgh Science Festival will later this week hear that scientists want to start patient trials of the treatment for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by 2012.

If the tests prove successful, a treatment could be available four years later.


Implantable Miniature Telescope for Macular Degeneration

April 13, 2009

Magnifies 2.2 X or 3 X. This is the eyesight of an eagle. It redistributes the  image on the undamaged part of the retina.

Advantage: It restores vision.

Disadvantage: One eye sees larger than the other. Loss of depth perception.



New Low-Cost Handheld Device offers Independence for Millions of Visually Impaired Americans

April 13, 2009

Enhanced Vision, America’s leading manufacturer of magnifying solutions for the visually impaired, launched a powerful new hand-held device today that can bring affordable independence to the 15 Million+ Americans suffering from low vision conditions such as macular degeneration. At just $595 and no larger than a men’s wallet, “Pebble” is an exciting new vision device that gives users the freedom to read menus, check price tags, write checks, and much more while on the go.

News Image

The Pebble features:

  • Bright, 3.5″ high resolution LCD display that magnifies words and objects from 2-10X the normal size
  • Choice of six video viewing modes for optimal contrast
  • “Freeze image” feature with additional magnification capabilities
  • Hands-free mode for reading and writing
  • Built-in LED light source for dim lighting conditions(e.g. restaurants)
  • 2 AA rechargeable batteries, wall adapter and carrying case
  • http://www.emediawire.com/releases/2009/4/prweb2313854.htm