the iPhone’s Best New Feature

March 26, 2016

Most people look at their iPhone first thing in the morning and last thing at night. The problem? Blue light.

“Exposure to excessive amount of blue light can disrupt sleep by suppressing the natural release of melatonin,” says Jessica Lutz, a spokesperson for The Vision Council. “This eye exposure before bedtime has been shown to disrupt sleep patterns by increasing alertness in the brain.”

Also, says the Review of Optometry’s research, blue light inflicts damage to the back of the eye, a major cause of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is the leading cause of vision loss, affecting more than 10 million Americans, says the American Macular Degeneration Foundation. Baby Boomers, the first generation to be tethered to computer screens, are getting hit especially hard.

Apple is fighting this problem with its latest iPhone update. A new feature called “Night Shift” automatically changes the color of the iPhone’s display to the warmer, yellow end of the spectrum, reducing the amount of blue light pouring out of your phone.

Night Shift

Apple typically releases minor updates occasionally to add new features or fix software glitches. This is one of Apple’s larger in-between updates; iOS 9.3 brings a handful of all-new features.

Night Shift, for instance, automatically adjusts an iPhone’s display to remove blue light during use in the evening. Studies have shown blue light can interfere with individuals’ ability to sleep or aggravate your AMD. Night Shift is intended to reduce this effects.


App Helps Locate Lost Items.

March 25, 2016

There are several Apps for your SmartPhone that help you locate a lost item. However they only work if you have previously “tagged” the lost item. Here are some sources for both Apple & Android Apps. The best value seems to be Tile. The tags have an internal battery which has a 1 year life that cannot be replaced. The battery would cost $5 or $6. The tag costs $20.

Within these limits, they seem to be a help for those with low vision.

Here are the sources.





Lauren Tappan

Protect your vision from blue light

March 19, 2016

Blue light is everywhere — from the sunshine you enjoy on a beautiful day, to the digital devices you have come to depend upon.

You might think blue light does not affect the quality of your vision now, but studies are showing that the cumulative effects of blue light can negatively shape your vision quality many years into the future. Blue light from light-emitting diode (LED) televisions, smart phones or computers can cause accumulating damage, increasing the risk and severity of developing Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD). Blue light can damage photoreceptors: the rods and cones within the eyes.

One way to protect photoreceptors from blue light is to increase the density of macular pigment. The macular pigment acts as a pair of internal sunglasses, shielding photoreceptors from blue light. If Macular Pigment Optical Density (MPOD) is at suboptimal levels, this pigment can’t properly protect the photoreceptors from damage and oxidation.

Another way eye care professionals can help patients is to offer a Macular Pigment Optical Density screening. Measuring the macular pigment can serve as a biomarker for patients and assess whether supplementation is necessary. Since zeaxanthin and lutein aren’t produced by the body, they must be ingested in order to ensure optimal macular pigment density.Because the average American diet is scarce in zeaxanthin, supplementing this antioxidant can be beneficial to many. Eye vitamins like EyePromise’s vizual EDGE, Restore, or AREDS2 can replenish macular pigment optical density levels. This brand of macular health supplements is guaranteed to help patients increase their MPOD levels within six months.

For more info:

New view of AMD: Fuel-starved light receptors

March 19, 2016

New research from Boston Children’s Hospital could potentially change how doctors approach two blinding diseases: ‘Wet’ age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in the elderly, and macular telangiectasia (MacTel).

Both diseases are caused by abnormal growth of misshapen, leaky blood vessels in the eye’s retina. It’s widely believed this growth is triggered by oxygen deprivation. However, findings published Advance Online by Nature Medicine on March 14, 2016 suggest another cause: dysfunctional energy metabolism in the eye that starves the retina’s light receptors of fuel.

Based on their observations, senior investigator Lois Smith, MD, PhD, in Boston Children’s Department of Ophthalmology, believes it may be possible to use drugs to help photoreceptors take in nutrients, and that this could be a new avenue to treating diseases like AMD and MacTel.

Photoreceptors consume a surprising amount of fuel. “They have the highest concentration of mitochondria — the “furnace” of the cell — and use more energy than any other cell in the body,” Smith says.

Smith believes that fuel starvation contributes to age-related macular disease due not only through lack of fuel but also decreased energy efficiency in mitochondria as people age. She notes that abnormal lipid metabolism and mitochondrial dysfunction are both associated with aging and are important risk factors for AMD.

For more info:

iPhone Training at Duke Eye Clinic

March 11, 2016

Hi Lauren,

I hope that you are doing well.  I’ve enjoyed reading through your LVATUG blog entries.  Thank you for all the information and keeping up with this !

I wanted to let you know that we have the Vision Rehabilitation Technology Training (VRTT) course starting again. I realize that this is short notice, but we have just had a few slots open up.

The Course will be held on Friday afternoons, starting tomorrow 3/11/16 through 4/29/16, from 1:00 -2:30 pm, in the Duke Eye Center Vision Rehabilitation Clinic  (1st clinic to the left after entering the Hudson Building, Duke Eye Center).  The cost is free, but the participant/companion will need to pay parking costs (in the deck:  $2 / hour for parking, unfortunately).

This 8 week course will cover use of the I-phone, and will incorporate instruction and practical lab time.  The class size is limited due to the nature of the instruction and practical aspects.  The course will be led by instructor Johnathon Kirk, with assistant Lisa Touhey.

 If you know of any interested participants, please pass on our contact information.  We will want to hear from them asap !

 Thanks very much.

 Fay Tripp

Duke Eye Clinic

ARGO – Local Taxi Service

March 3, 2016
Recently a new transportation system has opened up in Chapel Hill/ Carrboro and Durham.
It is called ARGO.  Phone number 919-904-4822.
ARGO works with the new on-line transportation systems of Uber and Lift.  You pay ARGO a monthly fee of $40.00 and you can contact a central office that will contact the Uber or Lift driver for you.  The cost is close to half the cost of a taxi and ARGO sends you a monthly bill so there is no exchange of money after your ride. ARGO only uses drivers with the best rating and so far my wait time has been between 15 and 25 minutes.  This service works well for people with low-vision because the public service options do not work well.
Lauren Tappan