Bradford and Bryan Manning, were diagnosed with Stargardt’s  (a form of macular degeneration) at a young age.  They have since started a clothing company, “Two Blind Brothers” that profits help with finding a cure for blindness.  Something I thought was awesome, is they have Braille incorporated in all of their clothing.

Here is a clip from Ellen talking about their clothing line and how they got started.

Disclaimer: I am not speaking on behalf of anyone I am just paraphrasing a few conversations I have had with some consumers and friends with vision loss.

Blindness and low vision are not that common (thank goodness).  But there are still many people who have vision loss.  I’ve said in a blog before unless you’ve known someone with vision loss the only thing people know about blindness or vision loss is what they have seen portrayed in the movies and or in media.  I would like to clear up some myths and shed some light on some issues.

1. Not all people who use a white cane are totally blind. – First off, totally blind means a person has no usable sight.  So some people who use a white cane may still be able to see some.  They may be able to see: colors, the sun and/or light sources, shapes, etc.  They may not be able to see: holes in the ground, cracks in the sidewalks, curbs, steps, faces/people, street signs, etc.  They are using a cane to identify the information they are unable to see and protect their body from injury.  A white cane also allows drivers to identify persons with vision loss. Kansas does have the “White Cane Law” (Statute 8-1542) which states: blind pedestrian’s right-of-way – the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to any blind pedestrian carrying a clearly visible white cane or accompanied by a guide dog.  http://acb.org/whitecane

2. It is called a White Cane – It is not called a stick! When I hear people calling a white cane a stick its like hearing nails on a chalk board.  A cane is a mobility tool and that is what a white cane is.  It is a tool that enables a person with a vision loss to maneuver their environment safely and efficiently.  Do not touch a person’s white cane unless you ask them or they ask for you to.

3. Just because a person can not see does NOT mean they can’t hear or speak – When you are out or possibly at work and you encounter a person who is blind that person make sure you speak to them in a normal voice.  Do not ask/talk to the person beside the person with vision loss about the person with vision loss’s needs!

4. Just say hello! –  When you see someone using a white cane and they are walking towards you on the sidewalk or coming close to where you are standing…  Just say “Hello”!  Don’t jump out of the way.  Don’t get off in the grass (unless very narrow sidewalk).  Just say hello.  That’s all you have to do.

5. Use your words – Here in the Midwest we are nice people (most of the time).  We open doors, say hello, and help people when we can.  So if you do these things for a person who has a vision loss make sure you say what you are doing, can do, would like to do.  For example: “Hi there! I’m holding the door open for you, go ahead.”  “Would you like help finding the front door?”  “Be careful down the hall you are walking in.  There is a wet floor sign by the fourth door and a large puddle that takes up most of the hallway.”  Remember saying things such as “Its right there”, “Look out”, “over there” and so on are not helpful for people who can not see.

6. Being Independent means different things to different people –   I work with individuals who have vision loss.  This vision loss can range from hard to read prescription bottles to totally blind with no light perception.  When I work with these individuals I teach them skills so they are able to live their life “as independently as possible”.  For some people “as independently as possible” may mean they are able to do everything on their own: cook, clean, find transportation, etc.  For others “as independently as possible” may mean they have assistance with a task such as vacuuming, laundry, etc.  Neither of these is better than the other, it’s what works best for each individual.

 

 

Though January is almost over there is still time to learn about Glaucoma.

  • Currently over 3 million people in the United States have Glaucoma
  • It is estimated that half of those people don’t know they have it
  • There is no symptoms and once vision is lost it is permanent
  • Glaucoma is the leading cause of PREVENTABLE blindness
  • It is 6 to 8 times more common in African Americans
  • There are multiple types of glaucoma most affect middle age but it can occur at any age
  • Best way to protect yourself is yearly eye exams

There are many resources available for more information.

http://www.glaucoma.org/news/glaucoma-awareness-month.php

https://nei.nih.gov/nehep/gam

https://nei.nih.gov/nehep/programs/glaucoma/keep-vision-in-your-future-toolkit-download

https://nei.nih.gov/sites/default/files/nehep-pdfs/GlaucomaFactSheet_2015.pdf