CCTV or iPad

February 24, 2014

The following is a note from Lauren Tappan

     Here is another potential note for the blog.  What do you do when your CCTB is starting to fade? I’ve owned my telesensory CCTV for 8 to 9 years and the camera is finally losing its focus.  It would cost me 1400 dollars to have the camera repaired.  I could buy a used CCTB for less than this.  There has recently been an explosion of low vision apps for Apple products.  I heard that the Ipad 3 has an app called voiceover and zoom reader.  Voiceover will let you tap on the icon and it will read you the name of the icon.  Zoom reader will also read and magnify text that is displayed on the Ipad screen.  Both of these apps cost around 20 dollars a piece.  I also heard that there is another app for the apple products that acts like a CCTB and again this app costs about 20 dollars.  The Ipad 3 also has a camera that will allow you to click on an object or text and then read it to you.  This is not as easy as it sounds.  There is a stand that you can put the Ipad 3 on which will stabilize the pad and help you to take a clear picture of the text you want to read.  It also seems to be very difficult to find staff at the Apple store that understand how these apps work.  There doesn’t seem to be an ability to go to the Apple store and try out these apps on an Ipad.  The Apple store’s staff has said that the best thing to do is find someone with an Ipad and ask them to help you with it.  So again, this is rather a mysterious adventure, but it might be worth the effort.  More on this later.


Diagnosed with Macular Degeneration? 7 Questions to Ask your Doctor

February 17, 2014
  1. What type of macular degeneration do I have?
  2. What lifestyle changes can help to manage my condition?
  3. Will supplements help improve my vision? What kind of formula do you recommend?
  4. Are there drusen present in just one or both of my eyes? Is it sure to progress to my unaffected eye?
  5. How can I ensure my condition is maintained and doesn’t get any worse?
  6. What is the role of low vision and vision rehabilitation in AMD care? How can I go forward with low vision rehab?
  7. Should my close family be tested for the disease? If so, when?

Bring a friend.

Write it down.

Ask your doctor is he or she has any extra materials, brochures or one page informational sheets that you can keep.

For more info:

StemCells, Inc. Announces Completion of the First of Two Cohorts in its Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration Trial

February 17, 2014

 StemCells, Inc. (Nasdaq:STEM) announced today that it has completed enrollment of the first of two planned patient cohorts in the Company’s clinical trial of its proprietary HuCNS-SC® product candidate (purified human neural stem cells) for dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This cohort consisted of eight subjects, four of whom each received 200,000 cells and four of whom each received 1,000,000 cells. The last patient in this cohort was transplanted by Dr. Ted Leng, M.D. Director of Ophthalmic Diagnostics at the Byers Eye Institute at Stanford.

“Our immediate goal for the study in the next quarter is to complete enrollment of  the second cohort. The eight patients in this stage of the trial will have better visual acuity than those in the first cohort,” said Stephen Huhn, M.D., FACS, FAAP, Vice President, CNS Clinical Research at StemCells, Inc. “

For more info:

Prevent Macular Degeneration With Exercise

February 17, 2014

New research shows that exercise may have a protective effect against blindness related to retinal degeneration and disease, providing a possible strategy to delay conditions like age-related macular degeneration.

Dr. Machelle Pardue, a researcher at the Atlanta VA Center for Visual and Neurocognitive Rehabilitation and senior author of the new study, said in a press release that the findings offer an unprecedented look at the relationship between exercise and retinal disease. Previous studies have found a similar effect on neurodegenerative disease and injury, but comparatively few have looked at how fitness influences a person’s vision. “This is the first report of simple exercise having a direct effect on retinal health and vision,” she said. “This research may one day lead to tailored exercise regimens or combination therapies in treatments of blinding diseases.”

For more info:

Scholarships from Learning Ally

February 17, 2014

This article is from Lauren Tappan.
55th National Achievement Awards:
Submission Deadline Is March 1, 2014
Each year, Learning Ally offers two endowed awards programs for outstanding students with visual and learning disabilities. The recipients of these awards are role models of success and inspiration to students from across the country. The three top winners from each program receive $6,000 scholarship award and participate at the national celebration in Washington, DC.

If you’re a member of Learning Ally… this could be your year to win!
Each year, Learning Ally awards over $50,000 to outstanding students with visual and learning disabilities through our National Achievement Awards.

Our scholarship programs include:

 The three top winners from each program receive a $6,000 scholarship award and join us in a
national celebration in Washington, DC.
For more info:

iPhone AP for Low Vision Movie Goers

February 8, 2014
by Maurie Hill, AISquared blog

On a recent rainy afternoon, I ventured to our local movie theater to watch “Philomena”.  I had the best movie experience since losing my 20/20 vision roughly 30 years ago.  Stargardt Disease (similar to macular degeneration) has gradually robbed my ability to read text on the big screen, identify characters’ faces or expressions at times, and pick up important details or actions, no matter how close I sit.  So what was different this time around?  As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I was anxious to try theMovieReading App on my iPhone as soon as “Philomena” came to town.  The app allowed me to hear details I would normally miss, and it more than confirmed the idea that this app is the easiest solution for those who are sight-impaired and still want to enjoy movies and television.

The movie “Philomena” was phenomenal and most of all, I knew what everyone was laughing or crying about because a pleasant voice in my ear told me what my eyes are not able to.

The MovieReading app was extremely easy to use.  It uses the microphone on your device to determine where the playback is at, and then automatically syncs with the movie’s soundtrack within seconds.  Though I arrived to the movie early, getting to the movie theater a little late is not a problem because it will sync.  You just hear the audio description and reading of any text on the screen (such as subtitles and credits) through your headphones; the rest of the movie you listen just like everyone else through the theater’s speakers.

For more info:

February is National Macular Degeneration Awareness Month

February 2, 2014

It is estimated that as many as 11 million people in the United States have some form of AMD. This number has been projected to double by the year 2050.

At this time the cause of AMD remains unknown. However there are risk factors that may help indicate whether or not a person is more at risk for developing AMD. These risk factors may include one or more of the following: • High blood pressure • High cholesterol • Obesity • Smoking • Family history of AMD • Age – particularly those older than 60 • Gender – women seem to be at slightly higher risk • Race – Non-Hispanic Caucasians are more likely to develop AMD • Prolonged sun exposure – Visible and UV light may damage the retina • High fat diet or one that is low in nutrients and antioxidants.

For more info: