Book Recommendation

December 21, 2014

Here is a holiday book suggestion for people living with macular degeneration and stargardts. I highly recommend the book  Glimpse: A Telling Tattle by D.S. Sully.

You can get the book for Kindle and on Amazon.

Lauren Tappan


Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind

December 21, 2014

The following is from Lauren Tappan:

The Chicago Lighthouse has a helpful website and several videos on YouTube showing how to use assistive technology devices such as the KNFB Reader App, the Victor Reader Stream, the Eyepal ROL, etc.

Questionable Remedies for Eye Disease

December 20, 2014

Once again the effect of nutrition on eye disease is brought into question, this time in the NY Times.

A few years back, a big clinical trial showed that certain nutritional supplements could slow the progression of macular degeneration and reduce the risk of vision loss. The trial showed that one thing they could do was to take a specific formula of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Manufacturers quickly responded with a host of over-the-counter pills making a host of claims.
The clinical trial called AREDS (Age-Related Eye Disease Study), conducted at 11 medical centers around the country by the National Eye Institute, found that a supplement could reduce the risk of worsening macular degeneration and severe vision loss by 25 percent over six years.“But the benefits of the nutrients only apply to certain stages of the disease,” Dr. Scott pointed out. “The formula could slow the progression in patients with either intermediate age-related macular degeneration or with advanced macular degeneration in only one eye.”
It didn’t work for people with milder forms of the disease, or with advanced age-related macular degeneration in both eyes. It didn’t prevent people from getting the disease in the first place. It didn’t cure anybody. But it was the best doctors could offer most patients with macular degeneration, apart from lifestyle modifications like stopping smoking.

So only people with intermediate or advanced stage macular degeneration should take eye supplements.

The AREDS Formula:

– 500 mg vitamin C

– 400 IU’s vitamin E

– 15 mg beta-carotene (for smokers) OR Lutein/Zeaxanthin

– 80 mg zinc as zinc oxide

– 2 mg copper as cupric acid

For more info:

ZoomText for Free

December 17, 2014

While doing her Christmas preparation, Gail Johnson has come across her copy of ZoomText 9.1.

In keeping with the spirit of the season, she is generously offering it to a needy person. If you have low vision, just write to her, explaining how you will give it a good home. Not for resale.

Her email address is

Thank you Gail. A truly gracious offer.

Stargardt’s and Nutrition

December 16, 2014

This article by  Lauren Tappan and

Vitamin A and Stargardt’s – Part 1

 The only advice I was given when diagnosed with SD was that vitamin A was causing my vision loss and to not take supplements with Vitamin A. This totally contradicts the widely known fact that Vitamin A is essential for eyes. It’s not that this fact is incorrect, it’s that it doesn’t wholly apply to SD.
A paper published in Cell Death and Disease this year gives a good overview of the mechanism leading to vision loss and how Vitamin A is implicated. Essentially, SD is caused by an accumulation in the RPE of Vitamin A dimers (dimers are two molecules joined chemically), which are known as A2E (shortened version of the chemical name). Using an in vivo model, they found that increased A2E led to greater cell death.
So now we know vitamin A is not our best friend, where do we go from here? Part 2 will discuss diet and vitamin A and how we can ensure not to overload vitamin A and contribute to the SD process.
Lauren highly recommends taking a few minutes to look over this blog from Chrissy in Australia about stargardts disease. She has some interesting ideas about diet and supplements and stem cell research for stargardts. Also the affects of vitamin A. Check this out.