Prevalense of Eye Diseases

May 28, 2010

Natl. Eye Institute data –

Eye diseases greatly increase in frequency after 80 years of age.

Summary of Eye Disease Prevalence Data

Prevalence of Cataract, Age-Related Macular Degeneration, and Open-Angle Glaucoma Among Adults 40 Years and Older in the United States*

Age, Cataract Advanced AMD Intermediate AMD Glaucoma
Years Persons (%) Persons (%) Persons (%) Persons (%)
40-49 1,046,000 2.5% 20,000 0.1% 851,000 2.0% 290,000 0.7%
50-59 2,123,000 6.8% 113,000 0.4% 1,053,000 3.4% 318,000 1.0%
60-69 4,061,000 20.0% 147,000 0.7% 1,294,000 6.4% 369,000 1.8%
70-79 6,973,000 42.8% 388,000 2.4% 1,949,000 12.0% 530,000 3.9%
>80 6,272,000 68.3% 1,081,000 11.8% 2,164,000 23.6% 711,000 7.7%
Total 20,475,000 17.2% 1,749,000 1.5% 7,311,000 6.1% 2,218,000 1.9%

New Drugs Being Developed for Macular Degeneration

May 28, 2010

In 2005, two genetic studies of people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD)–the most common cause of blindness in people older than 65–made a surprising discovery. Research showed that defects in a gene that is an important regulator of parts of the immune system significantly increased risk of the disease. Scientists have since identified variants in several related genes that also boost risk, and which collectively account for about 50 to 60 percent of the heritability of the disorder.

Eye colors: Drusen, the yellow flecks in this image of the retina, are common in people with age-related macular degeneration. These flecks are made up of proteins involved in the part of the immune system called the complement system, which has also been implicated in the disease by genetic studies.
Credit: National Eye Institute

At the same time that researchers identified the harmful variation linked to AMD, Gregory Hageman, now at the University of Utah, identified a protective variant found in about 20 percent of the population. “That form is so incredibly protective that people with two copies are almost guaranteed not to develop the disease,” he says. Hageman founded Optherion, a startup based in New Haven, CT, and investigated how to translate the findings into new treatments. Optherion is now producing large quantities of an engineered version of the protein and doing preclinical safety and effectiveness testing–for example, examining whether the treatment can reduce ocular deposits in mice that lack the protein, says Colin Foster, Optherion’s president. He declined to estimate when the company will begin clinical trials of the drug.

Retina Created From Human Embryonic Stem Cells

May 28, 2010

UC Irvine scientists have created an eight-layer, early stage retina from human embryonic stem cells, the first three-dimensional tissue structure to be made from stem cells.

It also marks the first step toward the development of transplant-ready retinas to treat eye disorders such as retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration that affect millions.

UV Damage to the Eye

May 27, 2010

Now that Summer is near, we should be careful about the long-term and short-term damage sunlight can do to our eyes.

  • Cataracts
  • Photokeratitis – sunburn of the cornea
  • Damage to the retina, including macular degeneration
  • Cancer of the eyelids

Free Audio Books for Low Vision Readers

May 22, 2010

This item is from Herb Halbrecht, who is recovering nicely from his knee replacement surgery.

These sources have downloadable audiobooks. LibriVox provides free audiobooks from the public domain.

AudioBooksForFree Books are in mp3 format; technical help is available, and there’s an FAQ. Free registration is required. If you scroll down the page, you’ll   find links to a whole bunch of audiobook podcast sites. Bookmark this one; it’s a good fishing hole.

Project Gutenberg has both “human-read and computer- generated audio books.”



The following source lends audiobooks on a special cartridge, along with the required reading device.

NC Library for the Blind Special public library that lends & circulates books and magazines especially made for persons who cannot use regular printed material because of a visual or physical disability. Has both public domain and current copyright material, including current Best Sellers.  For legally  blind (20/400) North Carolina residents.

$100 Off Pebble Magnifier at AISquared

May 19, 2010

The Pebble is a fantastic handheld video magnifier that is the perfect companion whether you’re traveling or at home. You can easily read labels, prescriptions, price tags, menus, bus schedules and so much more.

Not only can you buy this device directly from us, but for one month, they are offering them to you for $495 – that’s $100 off!

To take advantage of this great offer, call us today at 800-859-0270  or use the code “PEBBLE” when you check out online at!

The Triangle Vision Walk – June 5, 2010

May 19, 2010

This item from Lauren Tappan:


Drum roll please…the Triangle VisionWalk has raised over $61,863 to date! Thank you so much for your continued support! We have 17 days of fundraising left before this year’s VisionWalk! We’re in the homestretch of the 5th Annual Triangle VisionWalk!

Haven’t Signed up for VisonWalk yet? Register for the Triangle VisionWalk Today!

Here’s what you can do to help us reach our goal:

Triangle Thermometer

1. If you haven’t done so already, sponsor yourself!

2. Ask your spouse, significant other or partner to sponsor you.

3. Turn all of your loose change in dollars and send bring
them to the VisionWalk!

4. Give up your expensive lattes or weekly manicures and donate the money saved to your team.

5. Personalize your VisionWalk homepage. Individuals and teams who personalize their pages consistently raise significantly more money than those who do not.

6. Send out e-blasts encouraging your friends, family and business associates to visit your page and sponsor you.

7. If you sent an email once, send it again – people forget! Now’s the time!

8. Recruit team members and fundraising too!

9. Remember to thank everyone who supports you!

10. Whatever you do, have FUN while you are doing it and SMILE!

Team Highlights
With only 17 days until the Walk I wanted to take this opportunity to recognize our top fundraising teams. They have done letter writing campaigns, encouraged their friends and families to visit their personal walk page, held personal fundraising events, and pounded the pavements for each and every dollar. THANKS for all that you do!

• Big Daddy’s Bunch (Team Captain, MarinBrinley) $16,277 raised to date!
• Janie’s Journey (Team Captain, Betsy Bradley) $5,000 raised to date!
• Gettin’ Jamie With It (Team Captain, Reston Mattox) $4,563 raised to date!
• Stormin’ Ormands (Team Captain, Jane Gardner) $3,155 raised to date!
• David Weekly Homes (Team Captain, Matt Hergenrader) $1,940 raised to date!

Got Spirit?
Bring it with you to the 5th Annual Triangle VisionWalk! Join the Team Spirit Contest.
This friendly competition will take place before the ribbon cutting ceremony on June 5th. The team with the most spirit will receive an award.

You can show your team spirit with matching team t-shirts, team hats or team banners, just to name a few ideas. The best part is – you are the judge! We will invite one person from each team to join us on stage for the voting process. The winner will be determined by applause. I encourage everyone to participate in the contest and be sure to cheer for your team!

I look forward to seeing everyone on Saturday, June 5th!
Join us at the Walk!
5th Annual Triangle VisionWalk
June 5, 2010
Lake Lynn Park
Raleigh, NC
Registration starts at 9:00am
Walk begins at 10:00am