Vertical Reading to Aid Macular Degeneration

February 24, 2017

Individuals with macular degeneration often develop a Preferred Retinal Locus (PRL) used in place of the impaired fovea. It is known that many people adopt a PRL left of the scotoma, which is likely to affect reading by occluding text to the right of fixation. For such individuals, we examined the possibility that reading vertical text, in which words are rotated 90° with respect to the normal horizontal orientation, would be beneficial for reading. Vertically oriented words would be tangential to the scotoma instead of being partially occluded by it.

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Early Detection of Macular Degeneration

February 22, 2017

Dr. William Hart at Hart Eye Center in Lake Charles spends his days looking at patients’ eyes. One of the conditions he treats the most is macular degeneration, a progressive eye disease with both aging and genetic factors.

“That tiny spot that receives the light most clearly because of the way the retina is structured is called the macula,” explained Dr. Hart.  “Because of the anatomy of the macula, it’s vulnerable to vascular disease or degeneration of the macula.”

That can be seen most clearly through OCT or Optical Coherence Tomography, using infrared light waves to take cross-section pictures of your retina.

“It’s a laser scanner essentially,” said Dr. Hart. “The patient puts their head up against the instrument and the technician then can center the patient’s eyes onto the machine and then hits the process to start. The scanning begins and the images produced.”

Dr. Hart dais what makes this technology so incredible is the power to see through the retina, which is like a window to the body’s blood vessels and undiagnosed vascular diseases.

“This allows us to look at the person’s retina if we’re starting to be even mildly suspicious and look at the blood vessel structure under the retina,” he said.

If a problem is detected, special vitamins can be prescribed, along with other therapies.

“We increase therapy or even use in some cases laser or injections of medicine that will stop the new blood vessel growth,” said Dr. Hart.

The biggest warning sign of macular degeneration is blurred vision. If left untreated, central vision loss typically occurs within 15 years. It is something that can be slowed with monitoring and treatment.

Macular degeneration generally begins in people between the ages of 55 and 65. It is important to have routine eye exams as you age, to stay on top of any vision changes.

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Orange County NC Library News

February 22, 2017

The following is by Jason Richmond, Librarian

Subject: Accessability Grant

As we head towards a New Year, I wanted to share with all of you the progress that has been made with the Accessible Library Project. The State Library awarded us funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to make our services and collections more accessible and to hold programming raising disability awareness. Many of the big, visible parts of the plan haven’t been implemented yet but the foundations have been laid for an exciting start to 2017.

In October, the Triangle Disability Awareness Council led a great training on awareness and customer service for all library staff. Our librarians valued the chance to ask questions and learn about more ways they can assist all those who may come through our doors. Thank you again to all the trainers that made the trek up to Hillsborough!

November brought a makerspace to the library that showcased ways tinkering and technology can be leveraged to help others in our community. Participants in our workshops adapted toys by adding accessible switches and learned about creating prosthetic hands using 3D printers.

Assistive technology hardware has arrived at the library and will become available to the public by February. Library staff will be training on our new video magnifiers and assistive listening kits over the next couple weeks. For Disability Awareness Month in March the library will be working with the Triangle Disability Awareness Council again to hold educational and engaging programs.

A big thank you to each and every one of you! All of your support in time, encouragement and expertise has made this possible. Thank you to all the library staff who are making disability services part of their daily commitment to our community. And thank you to the library’s leaders, Lucinda and Andrea, who have made disability services a priority of the library and supported this initiative from the start.

The library will be sharing more information about our activities throughout the coming months as more services become available. If you have any questions please reach me at my contact information below.



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