What a Computer Can Do for People with Low Vision

June 24, 2016

Your change in vision status is a good time to rethink how technology can help you maintain your independence. An accessible computer can be one of your most valuable tools. Consider just a few of the tasks of daily living you will be able to accomplish independently using a personal computer:

  • Keeping in Touch
  • Keeping up with the News
  • Handling Finances
  • Shopping
  • Reading
  • Saving Money
  • Staying Entertained
  • Reading your mail and other important documents

Computers use special programs, operating systems, and applications, to perform tasks as varied as solving advanced mathematics problems to displaying your grandchild’s latest artwork on a screen. Though it might seem that the majority of a computer’s functionality relies on vision, the truth is that text lies behind most of what a computer does, from calculations to web pages. And since text can be output in an audible format, under the right circumstances and with the right training, computers are actually highly accessible to people with visual impairments. Think of it this way: When you type an “A” on a computer keyboard, you can either see that letter show up on the screen or hear it read aloud.

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iPad Pro & the KNFB Reader

June 14, 2016

The following is by Lauren Tappan.

  I am a low-vision user of the iPad Pro. I have found the iPad Pro to be extremely helpful when traveling. It’s nice to be able to check on departure and arrival times for flights and be able to read books and articles while I am waiting for the plane. It’s also been very nice to be able to continue to receive and send out emails while I’m away from my stand alone computer. I use the Zoom and dictation features on my iPad Pro, because of the Zoom and Dictation features I am able to navigate in different settings.
     Recently, I downloaded the KNFB reader app. The KNFB reader batch mode has allowed me to take photos and save at least 10-20 pages of a book or article that I will read at a later time. This has been an invaluable resource.
     It has taken some time to slowly incorporate this digital information into my life. As an example, I’ve saved several important palms and quotes for years. I’ve had these messages in my office and have not been able to read them without taking them off the wall and reading them with my stand alone CCTV. For this reason, I haven’t read these palms and quotes in a long time. Yesterday, I decided to take this important text off my wall and download it to the KNFB reader app. So now, I am able to have this text read to me whenever I’m interested. This may not seem like much to many but to me it means a lot to be able to read this text whenever interested.
    When we had a several hour wait at the airport recently, I was able to use the KNFB reader to read several Wallstreet Journal articles. This was also an invaluable use of my time.
    I strongly recommend low vision users of digital devices check out the KNFB reader.

High-priced drugs used to treat diabetic macular edema not cost-effective

June 12, 2016

The anti-vascular endothelial growth factor drugs ranibizumab and aflibercept, used to treat vision loss from diabetic macular edema (DME), and approximately 20 to 30 times more expensive than bevacizumab, are not cost-effective for treatment of DME compared to bevacizumab unless their prices decrease substantially, according to a study published online by JAMA Ophthalmology.

Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) medicines have revolutionized DME treatment. A recent comparing anti-VEGF agents for patients with decreased from DME found that at 1 year aflibercept (2.0 mg) achieved better visual outcomes than repackaged (compounded) (1.25 mg) or ranibizumab (0.3 mg); the worse the starting vision, the greater the treatment benefit with aflibercept.

These agents also vary substantially in cost. On the basis of 2015 costs, aflibercept was $1,850, ranibizumab, $1,170, and repackaged (compounded) bevacizumab, approximately $60 per dose. Considering that these medicines may be given 9 to 11 times in the first year of treatment and, on average, 17 times during 5 years, total costs can be substantial. In 2010, when these intravitreous agents were being used predominantly for , ophthalmologic use of VEGF therapy cost approximately $2 billion or one-sixth of the entire Medicare Part B drug budget. In 2013, Medicare Part B expenditures for aflibercept and ranibizumab alone totaled $2.5 billion.

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Japan to begin transplants using donor iPS cells

June 12, 2016

This news is from Lauren Tappan:

Four Japanese institutions will collaborate on transplanting tissue grown from induced pluripotent stem cells taken from donors into patients suffering from age-related macular degeneration, a hard-to-cure eye disease.

The initiative, announced Monday, will break new ground in that the cost of transplanting iPS-derived tissue will be significantly reduced by using stocked cells provided by donors, instead of using the patients’ own cells as in a previous case involving a sufferer of the same disease.

Under the partnership agreed on May 30, Kyoto University will provide iPS cells resistant to immunological rejection in the treatment and the government-affiliated Riken research institute will grow them into retinal cells. Osaka University and the Kobe City Medical Center General Hospital will implant these cells into patients as early as the first half of 2017.

The cost is approx. $1 million.

New hope for patients with macular degeneration

June 4, 2016

Macular degeneration is a progressive eye disease that often robs people of their vision. Dr. Julio Arroyo with Eye Health Consultants of Texas says his patients are seeing clearly again, some of them for the first time in a decade.

The macula, in the retina, controls 90 percent of vision. Dr. Arroyo says cells are supposed to repair the macula and make it new every two days. When that stops happening, vision is lost.

“We make cells constantly and in order to make them we need oxygen, water, raw materials including fats, amino acids, vitamins and minerals, and energy, the right form and information — if one of those is missing, that’s when we start having trouble,” explains Dr. Arroyo.

That’s why Dr. Arroyo developed a protocol called M-SHARP, which stands for Microcurrent Stimulation Holistic Alternative Retina Program.

“The treatment protocol consists of three different parts,” adds Dr. Arroyo. “One is epigenetics, methylation, that means we look at the bio-chemistry by looking at the genes that control the replication of cells, so having that information, we can actually design and personalize nutritional approach with very targeted nutraceuticals, then we look at the energy part of things, and we use two to three different energy medicine devices that provide the energetic information, that the cells need to correct.”

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To learn more about the treatment option, visit http://eyehealthconsultants.com/blog/665-251215-how-do-i-know-if-i-am-a-good-candidate-for-orthok.html.

Resistance to anti-VEGF therapy in AMD

June 4, 2016

As a progressive chronic disease, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of irreversible vision impairment worldwide. Experimental and clinical evidence has demonstrated that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) plays a vital role in the formation of choroidal neovascularization. Intravitreal injections of anti-VEGF agents have been recommended as a first-line treatment for neovascular AMD.

However, persistent fluid or recurrent exudation still occurs despite standardized anti-VEGF therapy. Patients suffering from refractory or recurrent neovascular AMD may develop mechanisms of resistance to anti-VEGF therapy, which results in a diminished therapeutic effect. Until now, there has been no consensus on the definitions of refractory neovascular AMD and recurrent neovascular AMD. This article aims at clarifying these concepts to evaluate the efficacy of switching drugs, which contributes to making clinical decision more scientifically. Furthermore, insight into the causes of resistance to anti-VEGF therapy would be helpful for developing possible therapeutic approaches, such as combination therapy and multi-target treatment that can overcome this resistance.

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