Low Vision Seminar at Chapel Hill Library

April 17, 2016

The following is from Lauren Tappan.

When: Friday May 6, 2016

Where: Chapel Hill Public Library

                100 Library Drive

                 Chapel Hill, NC  27514

Time:11:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Sponsored by the Community Low Vision Center and Triangle Disability Awareness Council


If you are totally blind, have low vision, or know someone who does, you should try to attend.  We will have representatives from Vanda Pharmaceutical available to answer questions.  Lynn shields will also present another segment on what it is like to live with this disorder. 

Other professionals who deal with blindness, low vision, sleep disorders, or people who have traumatic head injuries should try to attend. 

If you have any questions, or would like to make a reservation, please reply to this email or call Lynn Shields at 984-974-2058.  Reservations are due by Friday, April 22nd

Please feel free to pass this information along to anyone you think may be interested in attending.

Thank you for reading and I hope you are able to attend. 


Lynn Shields

Community Low Vision Center

Low Vision Services Coordinator



Vitamin D and AMD

April 10, 2016

Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Macular Degeneration Risk

Adults with the lowest concentrations of circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) had the highest risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to a new systematic review and meta-analysis published online April 2 in Maturitas.

For more info:




April 7, 2016

The NC State Library for the Legally Blind offers downloadable talking books, magazines and braille through two services.

1. BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) is a national program through which users can borrow braille and audio books. You must apply for this service. Format: digital talking books and braille

2. NOBLE (North Carolina BARD Local) is a local service through which users can download braille and audio books, magazines, and podcasts. No application is necessary. Format: digital talking book, podcasts, digital braille

Still with low-vision, I am now an I-Pad Pro user and have recently downloaded the BARD ap to my I-Pad Pro.  The BARD ap come from the NC Library for the Blind and it is their digital book collection.  A low-vision user will definitely need a sighted person to help them set this up.  Unfortunately,  the steps to set up this ap do not seem user friendly and require many steps.  Even with a sighted helper you might still need to contact the NC Libraries BARD tech support people to help with the set-up but once this has happened/ it is definitely worth the effort.
    I was able to download two books that I have been wanting to read and the download happened only in a few minutes.  Once the books are downloaded there is a quick and easy navigational system that is easy to learn.
    I have been trying to locate and read this  book for many years.  The book has dense and difficult material so it is hard/ if not impossible to find a personal reader to read this book to me.  I have been trying to read this book on my Clear Reader Plus but I can usually only read a few pages at a time.  So now that this book has been downloaded  to my BARD ap I can read this book quickly and easily.
    It is a new world and I am excited to be able to finally have access to the books I want
to read.
Lauren Tappen

Facebook Helps the Blind See Photos

April 5, 2016

Facebook is using AI to help blind people ‘see’ the photos in their newsfeed
Facebook recently announced its automatic alternative text, which describes the content of a photo as a user moves past it, giving blind users more context for the image.

iphone facebook

iPhone speaks: “Image may contain pizza, food”

On Monday, April 4, Facebook introduced automatic alternative text, a feature that uses object recognition technology to form a description of a given photo as the user passes over it. While using the Facebook app on an iOS device, the feature would tell the user that the image “may contain three people, smiling, outdoors,” according to the official Facebook press release.

Many blind smartphone users rely on screen reader software to respond to texts, compose emails, and surf Facebook. As the name would imply, the tool reads the text on a given screen aloud to the user. However, previous iterations could only tell the user that a photo was present, it could not describe the photo or give any context.

So, for example, if a user was scrolling through his or her Facebook feed, the screen reader would read out the person’s name who posted the photo and then simply say “Photo.” Now, with automatic alternative text, Facebook is hoping it can better describe the content of photos for users who may be blind or visually impaired.

For More Info:


Moorfields Acuity Chart Detects Early Age-Related Macular Degeneration

April 2, 2016

An international team of scientists, led by Prof. Roger Anderson from the University of Ulster at Coleraine in the UK and the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, has designed a test that can spot the first stages of sight loss in age-related macular degeneration.

Acuity Chart

For more info: