National AMD Month

February 20, 2016

February is National Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Low Vision Awareness Month. This month, take the time to understand AMD and take note if you or your loved one may be losing vision.

It’s common not to know about the condition, but it’s important to take the time to learn and understand how exactly your eyes work and what happens if you develop AMD.

What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration
According to the National Eye Institute, AMD is a common eye condition as well as the leading cause of lost vision in older adults aged 50 and over. AMD causes damage to the macula, which is needed for sharp vision that lets you see objects that are straight ahead of you. For some, this condition develops slowly over time, and for others, the disease can progress fast and cause vision loss in both eyes. Over time, vision will become blurry and objects will not appear as bright as they once did.

AMD does not cause complete blindness, however, the loss of central vision can make handling everyday tasks – such as reading, writing, driving and communicating face-to-face – more difficult.

Unfortunately, age is a major risk factor for AMD. The source said that the disease usually occurs in people after the age of 60, but it can occur sooner. Other risk factors include smoking, race, family history and genetics.

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5 Things to Know About Macular Degeneration

February 20, 2016

The American Academy of Ophthalmology has written an article sharing the five things seniors should know about AMD.

  1. AMD often has no early warning signs.
  2. Early diagnosis = better prognosis.
  3. Don’t wait. Risk increases with age.
  4. Smoking increases risk and progression of AMD.
  5. AMD treatments are better than ever.

Read their full article for complete information.


iPad Review

February 13, 2016
I am a low vision user of the iPad Pro. One thing that I have noticed is that people working with low vision users on the iPad always recommend the zoom feature and voice over as a solution for low vision users. Both of these features are very valuable but must be used sparingly. In my experience, you cannot keep voice over and zoom feature on all the time. It’s best to use voice over and the zoom feature only when you need to use it. It is possible to set it up so that if you tap three times on the home button, you can turn on voice feature, and if you tap three times again, you can turn it off.
    I was able to take my iPad to the airport and without changing the setting, take pictures of gate signs and direction signs in the airport. Once I took these pictures, I could pinch the screen to enlarge the text. This allowed me to read the signs. This is all fine and good if you are not in hurry but if you have a tight connection between flights this may not be the best solution. It is nice to know this is an option.”
Lauren Tappen

Statins may Relieve Macular Degeneration

February 6, 2016

High doses of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs — medicines such as Lipitor, Crestor and Zocor — may help people with a common eye disease called macular degeneration, a small study suggests.

In the early stage clinical trial, a team from Harvard Medical School assessed the effects of statin treatment in people with the dry form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

They found that intensive doses of statins carry the potential for clearing up the lipid [fat] debris that can lead to vision impairment in a subset of patients with macular degeneration. Not all cases of dry AMD are the exactly the same, and their findings suggest that if statins are going to help, they will be most effective when prescribed at high dosages in patients with an accumulation of soft, lipid material.

Not everyone can tolerate statins. Many develop muscle cramps.

For more info: