Suggestions for MAC Owners

February 27, 2013

This article is by Gail Johnson.

This site has many interesting and useful ideas fro Mac users of iPod, iPhone and iPad.


Speaking engagement today!: I was invited to speak at the Duke disabilities office today. I have had the honor of speaking to them in the past and was invited back for new AT ideas. I brought in my new equipment from the state program and what I have purchased. I have offered my services as a volunteer to help with low vision students and professors. It is a good relationship which I have developed. I hope to hear from them in March.

Echolocation: I never heard again from Mr. Johnson, the author of the Echolation book after sending him information. He had  contacted you, Herb and I before Christmas, at least. So, no word. I guess he thought I was going to buy his book when I had asked him to end me a copy. What I read was interesting. It was no as useful for me right now as my vision is too good for what he was teaching. I did learn how to detect open spaces through experimenting in the mall!!!!
Mac Mt Lion Upgrade: Did you know the new Mac OS X Mt. Lion version has a dictation piece free with the upgrade? It only works for short sentences and I have had some trouble with it. Hopefully, I will have it fully working in the next few weeks while I am in Durham for my treatments.

Microchip Restores Some Vision

February 27, 2013

This article is by Gail Johnson.

A device that uses no externally visible gear enables patients to read letters and see faces.

The German medical technology company Retina Implant developed the artificial retina, which was implanted in one eye of each participant as part of a company-funded trial. The patients had all been blinded by retinitis pigmentosa.

With the implant, eight of the nine patients in the trial could perceive light. Five were able to detect moving patterns on a screen as well as everyday objects such as cutlery, doorknobs, and telephones. Three were able to read letters. Seeing their own hands and the faces of their loved ones had the biggest impression on the patients.

The implanted device consists of a three-millimeter-square chip with 1,500 pixels. Each pixel contains a photodiode, which picks up incoming light, and an electrode and an amplification circuit, which boosts the weak electrical activity given off by the diode. A thin cable that runs through the eye socket connects the implant to a small coil implanted under the skin behind the ear, which means most of the system is invisible. The coil under the skin is powered by an external battery pack that can be held behind the ear with magnets.

The results follow an announcement earlier this week from California-based Second Sight that its Argus II system was approved for use in the United States (see “Bionic Eye Implant Approved for U.S. Patients”). The two technologies take different approaches to restoring vision in patients with retinal degeneration. In Second Sight’s system, a camera mounted on eyeglasses picks up images that are converted into electrical signals by a small wearable computer. That data is then sent to a 60-electrode chip to stimulate neurons in the retina. The Retina Implant device instead attempts to directly replace the lost photoreceptors, allowing the remaining retinal circuitry to do the data processing.

More than 20 groups worldwide are working on some form of visual prosthesis.

For more info:

Help with Reading

February 18, 2013

Scrolling text may allow macular degeneration sufferers to read books.

Researchers at Royal Holloway University have developed software that converts electronic books into a single line of continuously scrolling text, allowing people with macular degeneration to read.

Sufferers of the condition lose sight from the centre of their field of vision, meaning they find it difficult to focus on detail, especially large chunks of text.

Users of ZoomText should be able to duplicate this.

Vision-Restoring Retinal Prosthesis Receives FDA Approval

February 18, 2013

This article is by Lauren Tappan:

The Argus II retinal prosthesis, a device that can restore some vision to people who are blind from advanced retinitis pigmentosa (RP), has received U.S. market approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Developed by Second Sight Medical Products, the device will be available later this year in approximately 10 clinical centers across the country. In 2011, the Argus II received marketing approval in Europe. Also known as a “bionic retina,” it is currently the world’s only retinal prosthesis with regulatory approval.

“This is truly an exciting and historic moment in the drive to restore vision in people with advanced retinal degenerative diseases,” says Dr. Stephen Rose, chief research officer of the Foundation. “By restoring some basic vision, the Argus II gives people independence, mobility and, ultimately, improved quality of life.”

The Argus II consists of an external video camera mounted on a pair of sunglasses which sends visual images to a 60-electrode grid surgically implanted on the retina. The grid converts those images to electrical signals, which are sent back to the brain.

Users of the device perceive patterns of light, which the brain learns to interpret as vision. The device has enabled clinical trial participants who are profoundly blind from retinal degeneration to see shapes, recognize large letters and significantly improve mobility.

For more info:

Artificial Retina Approved By FDA For Retinitis Pigmentosa

February 18, 2013

Gail Johnson has posted this article
Bionic Eye Implant Approved for U.S. Patients
The sight-restoring implant made by Second Sight is the most advanced prosthetic to date.

Argus 1

The company that makes the device, Second Sight, based in Sylmar, California, can now market the retinal prosthetic to patients with advanced retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that can cause blindness. This is the first approved treatment for the disease in the United States.

The company that makes the device, Second Sight, based in Sylmar, California, can now market the retinal prosthetic to patients with advanced retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that can cause blindness. This is the first approved treatment for the disease in the United States.

The device, called the Argus II, allows people to make out the sidewalk and stay on it without twisting an ankle, see unexpected obstacles like parked cars, make out a table, see someone coming through a doorway, Some patients can make out large letters, but the main function of the implant is to give patients enough sight to restore mobility.


Argus 2

For more info:

More on Aspirin and Macular Degeneration

February 12, 2013

This article may add some balance to the Aspirin controversy. The original study by Dr. Klein showed a slight increase for advanced AMD patients.

For more info:

The practical explanation of Dr. Klein’s observations is simple: most of the people taking aspirin regularly are also those most at risk for macular degeneration. Without a large prospective study involving thousands of people and lasting decades, we may never understand the link any better than that.

The bottom line is this: if you do not have macular degeneration, taking aspirin is not a concern; if you need aspirin for your heart disease, take it; and if you have both heart disease and macular degeneration, make certain you take the recommended eye vitamins, then weigh the advantages of aspirin therapy for your heart against the small chance that it can accelerate your AMD.

 For more info:

Michael Richie, M.D., is an ophthalmologist at Richie Eye Clinic in Faribault. He may be reached at 332-9900.


Free ZoomText Webinar for Mac

February 11, 2013

This article is from Lauren Tappan


 Each week, we’re going to host a one hour live webinar where you’ll see a demonstration of ZoomText Mac and then have an opportunity to ask us any questions that you have.

These webinars are free, but you do need to sign up to participate. Head on over to our training page to sign up! Can’t make a live session? We will be recording next week’s webinar and posting it to the website so you can watch it at your convenience.