More on Amazon Echo & Google Home

August 24, 2017

More on the Amazon Echo & Google Home

August 18, 2017

The following is by Lauren Tappan

We have more updated information for low-vision AT users using the Echo. Google has come out with a competing device called Home. Home, evidently, will make free phone calls in the United States and Canada. So if you’re a low vision user of AT devices and are considering the Echo, you might look into Google’s competing product called Home.

Echo lists for $179. Home lists for $109.

Just remember, if you use these products Echo and Home, they may have some security issues.


Drug may prevent macular degeneration

August 16, 2017

More than 11 million people in the U.S. suffer from age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, according to the Bright-Focus Foundation.

Now, a team of researchers believes levodopa can delay onset of both “dry” and “wet” forms of the disease, or even prevent it from happening at all.

University of Arizona researcher Brian McKay’s team analyzed health records of 87 million patients, tracking their response to Levodopa, a Parkinson’s disease drug.
“We both reduce the risk of ever developing the disease and so the incidence was lower and also showed that if you were taking L-dopa for a movement disorder, you developed AMD much later.” Brian S. McKay, PhD, Director of Basic Research, SW Center for Age-Related Eye Diseases, Associate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Science at the University of Arizona explained.
If they did, onset was delayed by nine years. We make Levodopa in tissue pigment. It helps keep our eye’s macula healthy. Professor McKay says taking Levodopa pills keeps the pigmentation pathway active, protecting people from AMD.

Fair haired, fair skinned people with light colored eyes have less pigment and are more affected by AMD.

Fourteen percent of Caucasians over the age of 80 have it, compared to less than four percent of African-Americans, Hispanics and other minorities.

Echo from Amazon

August 11, 2017

The following is from Lauren Tappan.

Amazon Echo Amazon Official Site Alexa Enabled

    As a low-vision user of assistive technology, I’m always interested in new products. There is a visually impaired support group at Sun City Center in Florida that is looking at a product called Echo which is connected to Amazon. Evidently, you can use this product to read books to you as you would with the iPad. It has many other features that might be of some help to a low-vision user. I am investigating to see if the Echo would not only read books to you, but also your email. All of this is done with verbal commands. I have found the iPad features to be just as useful. I am now reading about 6 books using my iPad, as well as being able to use my iPad to arrange for Lyft rides and look through my emails while I’m away from my home. As low-vision users of assistive technology, we have to be our own advocates and investigate what technologies are out there that would be most useful to us in our daily lives.


Dry macular degeneration treatment

August 1, 2017

The following is from:

Treating dry macular degeneration

The unfortunate reality of dry macular degeneration is that it cannot be reversed. Symptoms develop gradually over time, with the user not realizing that they have vision problems until much later in the course of the condition. If caught early, treatment can be initiated before significant levels of vision loss occur. The following are some of the most common treatment methodologies.

  • Vitamin intake: Certain vitamins are known for improving symptoms of dry macular degeneration. In some cases, they help to slow down progression as well. Zinc supplementation helps in this regard. Vitamins rich in anti-oxidants such as A, C, and E are also beneficial.
  • Beta-carotene: A commonly promoted attribute of carrots, beta-carotene can also be useful for promoting eye health. However, beta-carotene supplementation is thought to increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers while increasing the risk of coronary artery disease.
  • Healthy lifestyle: Eating a well-balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables can help not only promote overall health but also maintain your vision.
  • Surgery: Selected individuals with significant vision impairment in both eyes may require this form of treatment. Surgically implanting a telescopic lens into the eye can help magnify field of vision. This surgery can help improve both distance and close-up vision but has a very narrow field of view.

Home remedies for dry macular degeneration

Your lifestyle can play an important role in the progression of dry macular degeneration. By making simple changes to your daily routine, you can give yourself the best chances for slowing down vision loss. Most of the home remedies recommended act as preventative measures to help you keep your sight as long as possible.

Don’t smoke: Smoking is considered a risk factor for dry macular degeneration development, so by quitting the habit, you’re helping preserve your vision further. If quitting smoking is too difficult, speak with your doctor to get some help.

Choose a healthy diet: Foods that contain antioxidants help to prevent damage to the sensitive structures in the eye. Several fruits and vegetables help to protect eye health. Some of these foods include kale, spinach, broccoli, and peas. These foods contain lutein and zeaxanthin—types of antioxidants that may benefit people with macular degeneration.

Foods with high zinc content may also help preserve vision. These include high protein foods such as beef, pork, and lamb. Non-meat sources include milk, cheese, yogurt, whole grain cereals, and whole wheat bread.

Studies have shown that food with omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, tuna, and walnuts may lower the risk of advanced macular degeneration. However, this correlation was not seen when taking omega-3 supplements.

Manage other medical conditions: Having high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease can accelerate the progression of macular degeneration if not properly managed. It is recommended to control these conditions with prescribed medications to help slow down macular degeneration progression.

Exercise regularly: Getting exercise on a regular basis helps to slow down macular degeneration and keep the body healthy. Losing excess pounds also helps.

Get routine eye exams: There is no better way to determine if something is wrong with your vision then to test them, and the most qualified person to assess your eyes would be an eye doctor or ophthalmologist. By going to your eye doctor on a regular basis, you can be sure that if macular degeneration were to begin, you would catch it at the earliest stage possible.

Vitamin supplementation: Patients with intermediate or advanced macular degeneration taking a high-dose formulation of antioxidants can help reduce the risk of vision loss. Unfortunately, those in early stages of the condition do not benefit from these supplements. The following vitamins and dosages are recommended:

  • Vitamin C – 500mg
  • Vitamin E – 400IU (international units)
  • Lutein – 10 mg
  • Zeaxanthin – 2 mg
  • Zinc (as zinc oxide) – 25 or 80 mg
  • Copper (as cupric oxide) – 2 mg