NFB 2010 Convention

June 29, 2010


Saturday, July 3—Thursday, July 8, 2010


Hilton Anatole Hotel
2201 Stemmons Freeway
Dallas, Texas 75207
Reservations: Call (214) 761-7500

Hotel Rates and Information:

The 2010 room rates are singles, doubles, and twins $62; and triples and quads $67 a night; plus a 15 percent sales tax. The hotel is accepting reservations now. A $60-per-room deposit is required to make a reservation. 50 percent of the deposit will be refunded if notice is given to the hotel of a reservation cancellation before June 1, 2010. The other 50 percent is not refundable.


The schedule for the 2010 convention will follow that of last year:

Saturday, July 3            Seminar Day
Sunday, July 4              Registration Day
Monday, July 5             Board Meeting and Division Day
Tuesday, July 6            Opening Session
Wednesday, July 7        Business Session
Thursday, July 8           Banquet Day and Adjournment

Dallas, Texas
July 3 – July 8, 2010



Sunday, July 4                                 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Monday, July 5                                8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday, July 6                               12:00 noon to 1:45 p.m.
Wednesday, July 7                           12:00 noon to 1:45 p.m.
Wednesday Evening, July 7                7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.


Sight Restored to Lazy Eye after 75 Years

June 28, 2010
This article is by Herb Halbrecht:
There are many people who lazy eye when they were young. Up to about 15 or so years ago, opthalmologists were taught in Medical School that unless a lazy eye, Amblyopia, is treated before the age of 8 it is futile to attempt to do anything when they become adults. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY WRONG AND HAS BEEN PROVEN WRONG. Up to now, this has been mostly proven wrong for people up to the age of 45 or 50.
I was diagnosed with Amblyopia at the age of 3 and with advanced macular degeneration over a decade ago. Four years ago,  I was advised by Johns Hopkins that the macular degeneration in my “blind” lazy eye was not as severe as in my “good” eye. I was further advised to use my telescopic eyeglasses to learn to read with my “blind” eye. It took many hours of practice, but I learned to read again, twice.
Last Tuesday I turned 83. I have clearly shown, after getting injections of hope and encouragement from the head of the Low Vision Dept. at Johns Hopkins, that determination and perseverance can lick this problem at any age. I’ve done it twice since I was 79. If the information I’m sending to Dr. Cousins is of interest to anyone for themselves, I will be pleased to assist them on a 1:1 basis 24-7-365. It can be done and it has been done.

Dr. Cousins,

When you saw me in May I indicated that I was having problems reading after a 3 months period of hospitalization/re-hab for surgery on my knee but I was determined to again get functional control for reading. I did the same things I had done the first time. I started reading a large print book using more powerful glasses than the 10X I used last time. They have been increased to 14 or 16. Dr. Goldstein at Johns Hopkins indicated that after examining me my vision had diminished somewhat, as it also had done 6 months earlier at my last visit to her. She was reluctant to increase the power any more because that would require me to keep the book so close to my eyes it would be touching my nose. I read an entire book of about 600 pages, large print, and although it was difficult at first it became less so as I went along. I was reading at least 30 minutes 3 times a day and then 4 times a day. Although the glasses used were more powerful than before I could easily tell that my eyesight has been diminished. I then went to a regular print book which I am reading now, also 30 minutes 3 or 4 times a day as well as a couple short sessions of 10 minutes a day.Hereto my reading is becoming better though still not as good as before I went to the hospital.
BUT I CAN READ! I have to keep the book closer to my face than I am accustomed to but I CAN READ.I am mostly convinced that “lazy eye” might be conquerable with diligence, perseverence, and a total refusal to accept the concept of futility which had been told me by a low vision OD.
I am paying attention to some important basic advice given me by Gerry Mansell who has been very helpful. I really have to have good special lights, the paper of the book has to be a good clean white, and the print a clear strong black. Inexpensive paperbacks simply won’t do.
Despite my being a voracious reader, I accept the notion that I cannot and will probably never read as well as I used to. But I CAN READ.
The one thing I am curious about is whether this reading enhancement is only useful for people with “lazy eyes”.
I feel relatively certain it can’t work with many diseased eyes, but ….


Herb Halbrecht
(919) 969-1573

Link Between Iron Overload And Macular Degeneration Under Study

June 27, 2010

The most common – and under-diagnosed – genetic disease in humans just may be a cause of the worst form of macular degeneration, Medical College of Georgia researchers report.

They are pursuing a link between hemochromatosis, which results in iron overload, and the wet form of macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in people 60 and older. They suspect that too much iron, known to wreak cumulative havoc on the body’s organs, hastens normal aging of the eyes.

If they are correct, avoiding the most severe consequences of a disease that robs the central vision could be as simple as donating blood a couple times annually to reduce iron levels, said Dr. Vadivel Ganapathy, chairman of the MCG School of Medicine Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

A $1.5 million grant from the National Eye Institute is enabling the MCG scientists to define the impact of hemochromatosis on the eye’s form and function. Support from MCG’s Vision Discovery Institute is enabling screening for its causative genetic mutation in the blood of healthy individuals and those with macular degeneration.

Red Wine Compound Could Point to Treatment for Eye Diseases

June 27, 2010

Resveratol – A compound found in red wine and grapes inhibits the growth of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) associated with eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, researchers have found.

Resveratrol, which is produced by a variety of plants to fight bacterial and fungal infections, is found in particularly high levels in grape skin and at lower levels in blueberries, peanuts and other plant-based foods.

Previous research has shown that resveratrol can decrease the effects of aging and act as an anti-cancer agent. In this new study, researchers found that resveratrol inhibits harmful blood vessel growth in the eye. They also identified the specific pathway through which the compound achieves this effect and found that specific inhibitors could reverse the angiogenesis-blocking power of resveratrol.

The study appears in the July issue of the American Journal of Pathology.

The findings may improve understanding of angiogenesis in eye disease, cancer and atherosclerosis and lead to new treatments for these conditions, Dr. Rajendra S. Apte, of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues stated in a news release from the journal’s publisher.

Cell Transplants for Macular Degeneration

June 24, 2010

This item is from Gail Johnson:

A stem-cell startup aims to test neural stem cells for treating two leading causes of blindness.

Reviving the retina: Human neural stem cells injected into the retina of rats that were engineered to go blind form a layer of tissue (purple) between the animals’ photoreceptors (blue) and retinal pigment epithelium (black), which typically nourishes photoreceptors. A startup called StemCells aims to begin human testing of the cells for retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration, two degenerative diseases that cause blindness.

The New Pebble 4.3 is Here!

June 24, 2010

This item is from Gail Johnson:

The New Pebble 4.3 is Here!

Read Menus, see prescriptions, and check price tags.


NEW! Larger viewing area in a compact design
NEW! 28 custom color select viewing modes
NEW! More flexibility and better focus when viewing objects farther away
NEW! ergonomically enhanced larger handle
Adjustable magnification of 2x to 10x
Freeze image feature with capability to magnify and change mode
Adjustable brightness
Easy writing capability
On/Off light option for reduced glare
Over 2 hours battery life
(rechargeable/replaceable batteries included)
Carrying case included

Call for more information


Low Vision Blogs at The BAT Channel

June 22, 2010

The BAT Channel blog – The Blind Access Tech Channel – is more than just an outstanding source for Assistive Tech and General Tech news for the Vision Impaired. It has the most comprehensive list around of blogs and podcasts for the blind and the low vision community.

The list includes the expected major commercial sites, announcing their latest developments, such as AI Squared, Freedom Scientific, Daisy, Dolphin, Jaws and GW Micro.

It also lists some lesser known, but valuable, business sites like  Blind BargainsNextUpCodeFactoryLow Vision Resource Center,  and  Serotek.  These sites often include useful information and commentaries.

Best of all are the advisory blogs, chock full of tips, tutorials, comments, news and advice. These include  Blind ResourcesFred’s HeadNFBPlanet of the Blind,  The Assistive Tech Blog,  The Blind Geek,  the Portable Player Portal,   The Ranger Station,   the T&T Consultancy Ltd blog,  and the Top Tidbits for Thursday. Some of these include built-in spoken text.

There is a list of Podcasts of special interest, many with computer tech advice, some with assistive tech advice.

The only valuable site not listed is our own, The Low Vision Assistive Technology Users Group. I hope they will correct this oversight soon.