News about Blindness and Vision Loss

Want to know what's going on in blindness research, adaptive technology, independent living products, or general news that can help you live independently?  We'll bring you some of the latest stories and links to information that you can use!

Ways to Connect

WeWALK is not just an amazing new digital product that combines a traditional mobility cane for the blind with smart phone technology, it is a movement and a social platform that strives to unite blind people worldwide, creating awareness, accessibility and social inclusion for all people.

The WeWALK smart cane is still in development and will have three main features:

Meet Feelif, the first worldwide provider of multisensory digital games and educational content for the blind and visually impaired, enriching lives all over the world.  Feelif developers invented unique technology that enables blind to feel shapes on a touch screen.  The technology is now being used to make games, educational content and provide a platform for apps.

Did you know that if you are over age 60, you might be one of the one in eight people that will experience some degree of vision loss?  It could be cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration or glaucoma.  And other health problems, such as stroke, may impact vision as well. 


The Rochester Pioneers, the Rochester area's only beep baseball team for blind and visually impaired athletes, from children to seniors, is presenting the film The Renegades: A Beep Baseball Story, this Thursday, June 21 at 7pm at the Cinema Theater on the corner  of S. Clinton and S. Goodman.

News from APH and AFB with deadlines for you

Jun 18, 2018
American Printing House for the Blind

Over the past year, AFB has been implementing a new strategic plan approved by the AFB board of trustees in June of 2017. As we hope you are already aware from our earlier press release and social media posts, the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) will become the steward of several key programs founded by AFB, including AFB Press, and will assume responsibility for ensuring their continued impact.

What do you do when you learn that your child has a vision impairment?  You feel so alone and don't know where to go for help.

The American Foundation for the Blind has a resource called Family Connect where you can find help after receiving a diagnosis of visual impairment.  There's also a Family Connect blog where you can read real stories like you.  There are also educational resources available and information in Spanish.

Learn more about AFB's FamilyConnect and Join the Community.


Many Americans think loss of vision is a normal part of aging. Think again. The number one cause of vision loss is actually a disease called macular degeneration. This episode of Second Opinion describes the disease and how you may be able to prevent it from compromising your vision.

Host Dr. Peter Salgo speaks with Retinal Expert Michael Rivers, M.D., Ophthalmologist Steven J. Rose, M.D.  and Low Vision Expert Dr. Gwen Sterns, M.D.

This June 7-10, 2018 the New York State School for the Blind (NYSSB) and its Alumni Association will be celebrating milestone anniversaries.  NYSSB turns 150 and the Alumni Association turns 100!

You can get in on the celebration by attending the annual reunion of the Alumni Association that will take place June  7 through 10 at the Quality Inn in Batavia.  To reserve your space, contact Alumni Treasurer Chet Smalley at (814) 566-6332.

Re-Imagine RTS, for background Listen Here

May 11, 2018
Democrat and Chronicle

Earlier this spring the Regional Transit Service announced Re-Imagine RTS, a proposal to overhaul, simplify and streamline the Regional Transit Service.  But how might these changes impact you? 

On Wednesday, May 23 at 12:00 p.m. WXXI-AM 1370's Evan Dawson spoke with RTS CEO Bill Carpenter about ReImagine RTS.  Listen Here.

Original Post:

Recently the Democrat and Chronicle reported the following:

Stem cell research shows hope for Dry AMD

May 2, 2018

Dry age-related macular degeneration is the most common type of age-related macular degeneration. Over time, it can lead to loss of central vision, which can diminish people’s ability to perform daily tasks like reading, writing, driving and seeing faces, impacting approximately 1.7 million Americans.  And that number is expected to rise to 3 million by 2020.  But progress is being made.

MIT Technology Review

More than 30 million Americans live with diabetes, which is the leading cause of Diabetic Retinopathy, the most common cause of vision impairment and blindness among working-age adults.  Diabetic Retinopathy occurs when high levels of blood sugar lead to damage in the blood vessels of the retina, the light-sensitive tissue in the back of the eye.

Retina Labs

Did you know that With uncontrolled diabetes and high blood pressure, your blood vessels can get leaky, causing greater risk of retinal bleeding, scarring and vision loss.

When you have diabetes, there's a lot of emphasis on controlling your blood sugar levels. But Dr. William Curry, vice chair for population health in Penn State Health's Department of Family and Community Medicine, says he may do more good for diabetes patients by getting their cholesterol and blood pressure under control than he can by intensifying their glucose control.

Art Access through Virtual Reality

Mar 28, 2018

We've all read the stories of how museums and collections of fine art have struggled with how to make these priceless masterpieces accessible to people with vision loss.  Now, the National Gallery of Prague is using technology - virtual reality to be specific - to allow people with vision loss to "feel" great sculptures and fine art. 

Do you miss reading? Do you know about NLS?

Mar 2, 2018

Do you miss reading?  Would you like to read with your grandchild? Then you need to know about the National Library Service for the Blind (NLS), a free braille and talking book library service for people with temporary or permanent low vision, blindness or a physical disability that prevents them from reading or holding the printed page. Through a national network of cooperating libraries, NLS circulates books and magazines in braille or audio formats, delivered by postage-free mail or instantly downloadable. 

Watch to find out more.

Nystagmus or wobbly eye - What is it?

Feb 7, 2018

Nystagmus is a vision condition in which the eyes make repetitive, uncontrolled movements, often side-to-side, up-and-down, or in a circular pattern, that can result in reduced vision and difficulty with depth perception.  According to the American Optometric Association, Nystagmus is most commonly caused by a neurological problem which occur

Floaters and flashes - the Saga Continues

Jan 31, 2018

Just two weeks ago I started down a road of vision changes that I had never experienced before - floaters and flashes in my field of vision in my right eye.  After some rapid changes over three days, a torn retina was discovered and repaired.  On my one-week check-up, all looked good.  That was then...this is now.

NEI information on Age-related eye diseases

Jan 29, 2018
Regenerative Medicine Now

DidYouKnow that as you age, you are at higher risk of developing eye diseases and conditions, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataract, DiabeticEyeDisease, and glaucoma? Visit aging eye to learn about your risk factors and what you can do to protect your sight.

The Laboratory of Retinal Cell and Molecular Biology (LRCMB) plans, conducts, and directs basic research in normal and abnormal functioning of the retina, other ocular tissues, and in retinal diseases, particularly those of a genetic nature. Visual process mechanisms are emphasized as well as the function of neural, glial, and pigment epithelial cells.

As part of the federal government’s National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Eye Institute’s (NEI) mission is to “conduct and support research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs with respect to blinding eye diseases, visual disorders, mechanisms of visual function, preservation of sight, and the special health problems and requirements of the blind.”

Vision loss, along with aging, can have a negative impact on balance.  But there are things you can do to strengthen your body and help maintain balance. 

The American Foundation of the Blind has a few simple exercises and movements that you can work into your daily routine to help strengthen your core and improve your balance.

Read the full article and check out the exercises.

European Hospital

Johns Hopkins researchers have discovered a cell signaling pathway in mice that triggers vision loss in patients with diabetic retinopathy and retinal vein occlusion -- diseases characterized by the closure of blood vessels in the retina, leading to blindness.

You've just been diagnosed with low vision or vision loss due to one condition or another.  You have some vision, but suddenly everyday activities are more difficult and you need to figure out how to do things if you want to continue living independently.  From cooking, to laundry to managing your mediations or even navigating your home environment, The American Foundation for the Blind has information and resources to help.  Check them out.

Eye Associates of Lancaster Ltd

For the first time in more than 20 years, there have been some significant medical breakthroughs for the treatment of Glaucoma.  Today’s commonly used glaucoma medications were approved in the 1970s. Other medications with different chemical compounds followed, but until now, there had been no major medical breakthrough since 1998.


So you've just been diagnosed with some form of low vision (macular degeneration, glaucoma, or a myriad of other diagnoses) and you're not sure how you're going to do things around the house anymore.  Or maybe you've heard of a new adaptive device and you don't know if it is right for you.  

There are many ways that you can go about researching what to ask your doctor, how to do your laundry or cook with low vision, what device is best for your particular needs and uses.  But one research tool that can give you a broad spectrum of results is YouTube!

UA Ophthalmology - University of Arizona

There's an AMD Trial that is showing great promise for people dealing with vision loss from Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).  Brian S. McKay, PhD, Director of Basic Research, SW Center for Age-Related Eye Diseases, at the University of Arizona is studying Levodopa (L-dopa), a drug used to treat Parkinson's disease, restless leg syndrome and other movement disorders.  And thanks to a $1.7 million grant from the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. McKay is ready to take his research study to the next level.

WXXI Reachout Radio, is pleased to share an encore presentation of the story of science, technology, medicine, and humanity of human vision. SIGHT: The Story of Vision tells stories of individuals who struggle with vision loss and blindness including, an Iraqi war veteran’s vision loss due to a traumatic brain injury and a woman who is losing both her sight and hearing yet, refuses to stop achieving her dreams. The film also presents the complexities of human vision and the exciting future that lays ahead with new technologies and medicine only imagined a few years ago. The program will air on WXXI-TV, Channel 21, Cable channel 11, Monday, January 8 at 9 p.m.   Read More & watch a preview.

Despite a cancer diagnosis, NYS School for the Blind in Batavia alumnus Sukosh Fearon isn't giving up.  And his friends are going to be there to support him all the way.  The singer-keyboardist will be honored with “A Day of Music With Sukosh Fearon,” which takes place Sunday, Dec. 17, 1 to 5 p.m., at the Rusty Rail Party House, 3231 Seneca Turnpike, Canastota, near his hometown of Oneida.

Tablet for the blind full page braille output

Nov 28, 2017

Blitab is the world's first fully accessible braille tablet for those with vision loss, featuring full page refreshable braille. The device was demonstrated at the 2017 Computer Electronics Show and can be seen in this 16-minute video.

Be My Eyes app: Now available on Android

Oct 6, 2017

You may have heard of the Be My Eyes app that helps people with vision loss identify items by sight. This just released: Be My Eyes is now available for Android devices! Visit this site to find out more, and plan to tune into Eyes on Success on Wednesday, November 1st at 5pm when hosts Pete and Nancy go deeper into this application and how it works.

Today, the Be My Eyes community consists of more than 38,000 blind or visually impaired users and more than 550,000 sighted volunteers from all over the world.

Happy Days 365

National White Cane Safety Day is an annual observance celebrated on October 15th of each year.  Just as President Lyndon B. Johnson recognized the importance of the white cane as a staff of independence for blind people, we at WXXI Reachout Radio encourage independence through audio information as well.