WBH Weekly Blind News Digest – Edition 36

What's Inside

  • Why is web accessibility so important?
  • New funding opportunities for STEM education for blind
  • Cyclists causing problems for blind pedestrians in London
  • And, about 40 more articles about all aspects of blindness from all over the world

Editorial By Chris Hofstader

This is edition 36 of our weekly news digest and contains 46 articles about blindness and blind people from all over the English speaking world. Our average issue contains about sixty five articles. This week we're a bit on the slim side because I did some experimentation with the GoogleAlerts we use to find all of these articles. My intent was to hopefully find more stories about blindness and blind people and to cut down on the number of false positives so I'd have fewer headlines entirely unrelated to our primary subject matter.

Oddly, one of the tweaks I made to the GoogleAlerts seems to have caused it to think I had some sort of interest in window blinds, shades, curtains and other window coverings. I don't know what I changed that would make Google think this was my target but I had to skip over a lot of stories about Venetian blinds this week.

The tweaks I had to the alerts last week seem to have worked a bit too well and, while I did cut down on false positives, I also seem to have cut out some stories we'd ordinarily include so, once this issue is published, I'll revert to the alerts I had been using previously and continue making tweaks from time to time so as to better optimize the process of making this digest every week.

The problem with coming up with ideal search terms to find the most results about blindness and blind people is pretty hard. The word "blind" is simply used in far too many ways and in far too many combinations with other words to make good filters without also losing stories that we want to include. Some filters are easy as "Blind River" (a town in Canada) is always written the same way so is easy to filter out; the term "blind to," as in "Blind to the ways of mankind," Grand Master Flash cannot be filtered out as it is sometimes used to describe visual acuity. So, 2022 is the year for experimenting with this stuff so when World Blind Herald launches on January 4, we'll have everything running smoothly.

I do hope readers enjoy this edition although it's a bit abbreviated due to my experiments.

How It's Organized

Gonz Blinko's Blind News Digest is a very simple page to read. The categories are at heading level 2 and the stories are links at heading level 3. So, navigation to the sections and stories you find interesting is quite simple.


FWD Life Insurance's Braille Stories won the Gold Award at New York

"Braille Stories" is a series of braille-written poster portraits depicting the fascinating and empowering lives of four visually impaired individuals. Each featured person puts in considerable effort to succeed in their path and live their life to the fullest, without boundaries. Everyone can touch and scan the QR codes to see and hear these stories in each featured person's own words. All of these works were displayed in out-of-home media, such as posters and table wraps, to communicate and inspire people who may feel left out. This story comes to us from: nation multimedia.


Why Is Web Accessibility So Important?

You’re doing your company a disservice if you haven’t added web accessibility features for disability access. Fortunately, you can add a new level of website accessibility for those individuals who need and want it once you understand the various strategies and available options. Therefore, it’s important for brands to consider web accessibility – from the vital roles it can play in assisting your target audience, to the many ways you can make your website more accessible to everyone. Defining web accessibility The WC3 Web Accessibility Initiative defines web accessibility as implementing various tools and technologies that make a website more usable for disabled individuals. This disability access levels the playing field by giving everyone fair access to the same online services, products and functions. However, the term ‘disability’ covers more ground than you might realize in this application. While it applies to individuals with permanent disabilities, it can also apply to those who suffer from temporary disabilities. Others may contend only with situational disabilities, such as a sluggish internet connection or outdated hardware. Website accessibility options can help all of these individuals get more out of their online interactions. This story comes to us from: The Drum.


While simply color-coordinating or backlighting parts of an instrument may work for regular novices, it doesn’t translate to visually impaired users. Vitar hopes to solve that by covering its entire fretboard with Braille keys that can help blind and vision-impaired people navigate their way around a guitar. This story comes to us from: yankodesign.

Science and Medicine

A Spark of Life After Death Points to New Hope for Blindness

Researchers are restoring function to the eyes of organ donors, providing a new path for studying eye diseases to help restore lost sight. This story comes to us from: Wall Street Journal.

Early onset of diabetes, hypertension can predict early glaucoma, ophthalmologists report

… Earlier they are likely to develop primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide, researchers report. This story comes to us from: ScienceDaily.

College of Optometry engages community members about eyecare during First Fridays at the Saint Louis Science Center

You may not immediately associate your favorite tabletop card game or movie with the field of optometry, but thanks to a new monthly partnership, the University of Missouri–St. Louis College of Optometry just might have you thinking deeper about your eyes. On Aug. 5, the College of Optometry attended its first “First Fridays” event at the Saint Louis Science Center. The monthly event offers visitors the opportunity to “learn the real science behind science fiction and mingle with others interested in the geekier side of life. This story comes to us from: UMSL Blogs – University of Missouri.

Symptoms of Diabetic Macular Edema

This is a long and very interesting article which the little blurb I paste in for every story does no justice. If this is a subject you find interesting, please do read the whole thing as I learned a lot from it and I read a lot of articles about diabetes these days.

Diabetic macular edema (DME) is a buildup of fluid in the macula—the part of your eye that processes what you see directly in front of you. DME can cause blurry vision or even blindness and is a complication of uncontrolled type 1 or type 2 diabetes. This story comes to us from: Verywell Health.

Cape Coast Teaching Hospital performs first cornea transplants

The Cape Coast Teaching Hospital (CCTH) has successfully performed its first set of cornea transplants to restore the sights of some eight patients on the verge of blindness. The surgeries were conducted in two days at no cost to the patients under a partnership between the hospital and Himalayan Cataract Project (Cure Blindness), a US-based foundation. This story comes to us from: MyJoyOnline.com.

Donate eyes and help someone see the world

This was a very problematic web site on my Macintosh, I hope readers have better success with it.

CHANDIGARH:Health and Family Welfare Department Punjab is observing 37th Eye Donation Fortnight from 25th August to 8th September. In this 15-day campaign celebrated every year, health institutes and other stakeholders are encouraged to campaign for mass public awareness about eye donation and to motivate citizens to pledge their eyes after death. His story comes to us from: Punjab News Express.

Novel method for accurate diagnosis and treatment of uveitis

An estimated five to ten percent of blindness worldwide is caused by the rare inflammatory eye disease uveitis. Posterior uveitis in particular is often associated with severe disease progression and the need for immunosuppressive therapy. In posterior uveitis, inflammation occurs in the retina and in the underlying choroid that supplies it with nutrients. This story comes to us from: News-Medical.

Glaucoma in women: What to know about the silent eye condition that can lead to blindness

Did you know that glaucoma, an eye condition affecting the optic nerve, is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide? This story comes to us from: CNA Lifestyle.

Tailored care approaches may improve glaucoma medication adherence

In a meta-analysis of 19 randomized controlled trials, tailored care with and without additional interventions was associated with significant improvement in glaucoma medication adherence. No adherence interventions, including tailored care, automatic reminders, or patient education, were associated with a significant decrease in intraocular pressure. This story comes to us from: 2 Minute Medicine.

New Dalhousie health research gets a boost from CIHR Project grants

From killing brain cancer tumors with ultrasound-induced bubbles to curing blindness with bioengineered corneal tissue, Dalhousie researchers are set to pursue life-changing health innovations with $4.8 million in new Project Grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Provided to health-focused scholars across the country. This story comes to us from: Dalhousie University.

The Medicine Box: Eye Care Market

The eye care industry, which includes services such as cataract, glaucoma, retina and squint, is valued around USD 1.4 billion in India.
Today, three out of 10 people in the world who are blind are expected to be from India and as many as eight out of 10 people go blind in the country due untreated cataract, which is a treatable condition. Similarly, over 1.2 crore people in India suffer from glaucoma, again a condition that can be managed. However, of them, 12.5 percent are losing their eyesight.
Today, more than 90 percent glaucoma cases remain diagnosed in the country and around 50 lakh surgeries are needed to clear the backlog. This story comes to us from: CNBC TV18.

Teva Pharmaceutical – European Commission grants marketing authorization for Ranivisio, a biosimilar to Lucentis, for age-related macular degeneration

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. announces that the European Commission (EC) has granted a Marketing Authorization for Ranivisio (ranibizumab), a biosimilar of the ophthalmology treatment Lucentis across all five indications in adults for which Lucentisis authorized. Richard Daniell, Executive Vice President, European Commercial, Teva Pharmaceuticals commented: 'With millions of people in Europe afflicted by this serious age-related eye condition this important milestone allows us, together with Bioeq, to bring ranibizumab to ophthalmologists and patients throughout Europe. The product is a welcome addition to Teva's growing biosimilars portfolio, and delivers on our mission to improve patient access to critical therapies. This story comes to us from: MarketScreener.

Study: Hearing, visually impaired adults less likely to be vaccinated for COVID-19

A recent cross-sectional study1 shows that COVID-19 vaccination rates are lower among individuals with hearing and visual impairments, compared to those without. This story comes to us from: Optometry Times.

Recovery of Complete Blindness and Internal Ophthalmoplegia After Transsphenoidal

Pituitary apoplexy involves the sudden expansion of a pituitary mass, typically an adenoma, due to either hemorrhage or infarction. The most common visual disturbance is bitemporal hemianopsia due to mass effect on the optic chiasm, though a range of visual presentations can be seen. This story comes to us from: Cureus.

Baylor professor uses lithophane to help blind students

Chemistry is a hands on and visual subject, so for those who are visually impaired, there can be some challenges. A professor at Baylor has come up with a way for everyone to access images regardless of their abilities. This story comes to us from: MSN.

Scientists Find That the Loss of a “Youth” Protein Could Drive Aging

The loss of the protein pigment epithelium-derived factor, the study discovered, is a driver of aging-related changes in the retina. This story comes to us from: SciTechDaily.

Blindness Organizations

Sight Action charity for blind and visually impaired flits from Highland capital to Dingwall

A CHARITY supporting the blind and visually impaired has moved offices. Sight Action has moved from Beechwood House in Inverness to Robertson House, Greenhill Street, Dingwall, where larger premises offer more scope for community engagement. This story comes to us from: Ross-shire Journal.

Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired to offer on-site vision rehab classes

The Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired now offers vision rehabilitation therapy at its Madison offices. This story comes to us from: Channel 3000.

Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision in 2nd phase of training sidewalk project

The Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision (CBLV) has now started the 2nd phase of building its training sidewalk. This story comes to us from: WSAV-TV.

Ksrelief Launches Voluntary Medical Program To Combat Blindness In Eritrea

SPA — King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) has launched the voluntary medical program to combat blindness and its diseases in Eritrea, within the 'Noor Saudi Arabia' voluntary program, which is being implemented from 19 to 26 August, 2022.
The KSrelief's voluntary medical team has medically examined 4,800 cases and performed 181 successful surgeries, as well. This story came to us from: menafn.

Seeing the Light: Alumnus Becomes Leader in Accessibility and Inclusion Practices

The forecast on this North Carolina night called for rain. And John Samuel, M.B.A. ’14, dreaded rain. A teenager at the time, Samuel knew the precipitation in darkness would puddle-up the road and make the light reflections from traffic or streetlights even brighter. And sure enough, as he drove to his friend’s house, the blurriness of oncoming headlights made it difficult for him to catch the puddles, which his tires would then go over without warning, causing him to jerk the wheel. It was another frustrating night in what felt like a string of many. It turned out Samuel was in the beginning stages of retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a rare, inherited degenerative eye disease that eventually caused him to be legally blind the rest of his life. But as the son of self-made immigrants from India, Samuel assumed he was just not working hard enough at this adjustment, causing more angst created by the underlying medical condition out of his control. “As a young person, you don't want to be different,” said Samuel, whose lower legs are scarred up from scraping his shins so many times on objects he couldn’t see. “You don't want to not know what was going on. I thought that's just what everyone's seeing and that I'm just not doing it as well as other people." For many years both before and after his official RP diagnosis, Samuel shielded his true self from the public, fearing it would hold him back or that others would think less of him. This story comes to us from: GW Today – The George Washington University.

Mandaue helps students with visual disabilities

MCPL head Angelina Cagatulia said the device is a huge help to many visually impaired individuals, including students. She said the City and MCPL planned to buy braille display devices in 2019, but they did not push through with it because KGS lacked supporting documents back then. This story came to us from: ph news yahoo.


Researchers at UTSA develop learning platform for students with disabilities with NSF funding

College of Sciences and the College of Education and Human Development are developing a cloud-based web interface that will help students with blindness and vision impairments (BVI) learn computer science, data science and artificial intelligence. The researchers’ goal is to make high-paying and flexible tech careers more accessible to people with BVI. This story comes to us from: UTSA.

[Brookhaven Elementary embraces MCPS' only classroom for blind, visually impaired students][

Days before students were set to return for the first day of school, the walls of Diana Garcia-Mejia’s pre-kindergarten classroom at Brookhaven Elementary School remained bare. Missing were the posters with brightly colored reminders about the order of the alphabet and the bulletin boards with inspirational messages that adorned the walls of neighboring classrooms. In Garcia-Mejia’s room, there are no toy bins and there is no clutter. Colors are neutral, like the deep navy rug in the center of the room where story time is held, and there are few busy patterns. It’s all intentional — Garcia-Mejia’s students won’t be able to see the wall decorations, or if they can, the room would feel “cluttered” and likely be more confusing than helpful. That’s because Garcia-Mejia teaches a class dedicated to prekindergarten students who are blind or have visual impairments. This story comes to us from: Bethesda Beat.

Blind student sets blistering pace in life

Yang Xiaoting, 23, has become the first totally blind student to be enrolled in an undergraduate university in Guangdong province. This story comes to us from: China Daily.


First chancellor with acknowledged disability sets sights on 'attitude problem

Australia’s first university chancellor who identifies as having a disability says things have improved since the days when his law studies revolved around whatever resources he could obtain in Braille or reel-to-reel audio tape. “I had a smaller range of material,” said lawyer and disability advocate Graeme Innes, who was born blind. “My challenge was that I had to know that material better than other students who could research more broadly than I could. This story comes to us from: Times Higher Education.

New funding will help expand STEM opportunities for the visually impaired

This site appears to use an overlay to provide its accessibility, this is not good.

New funding, a university's ingenuity, and a leading advocate's guidance could now result in sought-after jobs in coding for the blind and visually impaired. Even with a lot of developments in recent years, much of the internet isn't accessible for people with visual impairments. This story came to us from: WOAI.


Blind people avoid Central London as cyclists keep dumping bikes on street

Blind Londoners are giving up on going to Central London due to e-bikes blocking their paths, a charity has said. The National Federation for the Blind said visually impaired people are being put off going to museums and theatres in the capital as the streets are littered with abandoned cycles for hire. This story comes to us from: my London.


Grandmother Blinds Infant Grandchild in Hudson Valley

A Hudson Valley grandmother is heading to prison for assaulting her infant grandchild, leaving the child blind. This story comes to us from: Hudson Valley Post.

Man jailed for hitting blind wife on head with meat cleaver

A man who struck his blind wife in the head with a meat cleaver because she had knocked his Xbox and television over has been jailed for nine years. Jonathan Eldridge had been out drinking on Christmas Eve 2021 when he returned to the home he shared with wife Victoria in Ryde, Isle of Wight, to find his games console and TV on the floor, which he told police was the “trigger” for the attack. This story comes to us from: Yahoo News UK.

[Mumbai: Man arrested for molesting blind woman in train][

A 57 year old unemployed man has been arrested for allegedly molesting a blind woman in a local train. Ravindra Kamble, the accused has also been booked under the Railway Act for ticketless travel. This story comes to us from: Oneindia.

Guide Dogs

[Chasing Their Tails: Are Service Animals Protected Under the American Disabilities Act?][

Imagine you are the owner of a valuable service animal, a German Shepherd, and you need to board the dog while you attend a conference. What rights, if any, does the German Shepherd have for protection under the American Disabilities Act (ADA) during your absence? It’s important to clarify that a service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, or performing other duties. It is not a pet. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide is directly related to the person’s disability. This story comes to us from: Lexology.

Roofing company blamed for death of Cape Coral guide dog

For almost a decade, Mary Ann relied on Percy, the yellow lab, to keep her out of danger. “My Percy, he guided me for nine years. I can tell you that not one time, not once was I hurt on his watch,” she said. Last Monday, everything changed for Mary Ann when a roofing contractor she hired found Percy’s body under a tarp covering her pool. The family hired Roof Smart to replace their roof. “You would think that any reputable company would knock on the door to assure themselves that they’re supposed to be there, to let the homeowner know they’re there. But they never did that,” she said. Mary Ann could hear the roof work. But didn’t know workers laid a tarp over her pool to block falling debris earlier in the day. She said she fed Percy around 2:30 p.m. “We ate dinner at some point and he was around. He must have gone through the doggie door which is right through our guest bathroom,” she said. “The next thing we know, it was 5:30 and we heard a knock at our door…” Roof Smart employees brought Mary Ann’s husband to Percy’s body. This story comes to us from: NBC2 News.

Blind man from Stoke-on-Trent in bid to fund guide dogs

Wayne Pugh said he has been able to live independently after getting his guide dog Vince. This story comes to us from: BBC.


Quebec advocates want government to cover treatment for boy with vision loss

Eleven-year-old William Khayrallah has a rare disease that causes progressive vision loss, but a new treatment for the illness isn’t yet funded by the Quebec government. “He’s already close to legal blindness,” said Dr. Robert Koenekoop of the Montreal Children’s Hospital, who follows him. “In the night he’s completely blind." William has inherited retinal degeneration, a rare disease caused by a genetic defect affecting the light sensitive cells in the retina. This story comes to us from: Globalnews.ca.


Blind Leicester woman to battle Government in court over height of kerbs

I usually support the plaintiff in such cases but this woman is arguing against wheel chair ramps which are also useful for baby carriages and skateboarders. This problem has an existing solution: use textured "foot braille" where the curb needs to be lowered and the blind person will know that they are at a street corner and should be careful. We can't forget about our friends with disabilities other than blindness.

A blind Leicester woman will take the Government to court over the height of kerb stones. Sarah Leadbetter, from Narborough, says the kerbs need to be certain height to keep her and her guide dog safe from traffic. All kerbs should be at least 60mm high to stop visually impaired people from walking into the road, according to studies produced in 2009. However the Department for Transport (DfT) has not taken this advice on board. The DfT has put plans in place for dropped kerbs to ensure wheelchair users or mothers with buggies can cross the road safely. This story comes to us from: Leicester Mercury.

[Large RIAs sued over claims that websites are inaccessible to the blind][

I don't need to write ADA trolling stories anymore, the mainstream press does it for me. This attorney is a troll and will be part of what leads us to see ADA or at least ADA on Internet lose its ADA protections.

The plaintiff’s attorney, Jeffrey Gottlieb, has been one of the country’s most prolific filers of ADA-related civil rights lawsuits since 2018. This story comes to us from: Citywire USA.

Chic Soul class action claims website inaccessible to blind, visually impaired Users

Retailer Chic Soul does not make its website accessible for blind and visually impaired people using a screen reader, in violation of the law, a new class action lawsuit alleges. This story comes to us from: Top Class Actions.


Second Sight Medical Products Announces Successful Completion of its Merger with Nano Precision Medical and its Name Change to Vivani Medical

Second Sight Medical Products, Inc.(NASDAQ: EYES) (the “Company” or “Second Sight”), a leading developer of implantable visual prosthetics that are intended to create an artificial form of useful vision for blind individuals, announced today the completion of its merger with Nano Precision Medical, Inc. (“NPM”). NPM is a biopharmaceutical business which develops miniaturized, subdermal drug implants utilizing its proprietary NanoPortal™ technology to enable long-term, near constant-rate delivery of a broad range of medicines to treat chronic diseases. This story comes to us from: Business Wire.

Vivani Announces Trading under New Ticker Symbol (Nasdaq: VANI

ical, Inc., formerly Second Sight Medical, Inc., (NASDAQ: VANI) (the "Company" or "Vivani") announced that trading of the Company’s common stock on The Nasdaq Capital Market under the symbol "VANI" will commence today. This story comes to us from: Yahoo Finance.

Preventing Blindness

Research to Prevent Blindness and Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology

Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB), an anonymous donor, and the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology (AUPO), annually recognizes and celebrates an excellent vision researcher. The award carries the name of David F. Weeks, former President and Chairman of RPB, in honor of his contributions to the field of vision research. Dr. Calkins will receive his award and deliver a presentation during the AUPO 2023 Annual Meeting in San Diego, California in January. This story comes to us from: Newswise.

The growing economic burden of childhood blindness necessitates immediate action to fight avoidable eye diseases

Blindness in childhood has far-reaching consequences for the affected child and family as it has a significant impact on educational, employment, personal, and social prospects throughout life. India houses the largest number of blind children in any one country. There are 9.3 million visually impaired and 270,000 blind children in India. The current prevalence of blindness in children is known to be around 0.8/1000. However, over 75 % of all visual impairment can be prevented or treated. This story comes to us from: The Financial Express.

[Ophthalmologists seek stakeholders' partnership in preventing avoidable blindness][

The Ophthalmological Society of Nigeria (OSN) has called for collaborative efforts among stakeholders in the health sector in preventing avoidable blindness in Nigeria. This story comes to us from: Dailytrust.


Burning Man shows how a riotous festival can be accessible

Mobility Camp members serving as “Lamplighters” at Burning Man roll through Black Rock City, a sprawling campsite that serves as home base for the desert festival. Lamplighters provide illumination every night of the festival helping people return to their camps after sunset. This story comes to us from: National Geographic.

Summer Camp for kids who are blind

Summer vacation—it’s something almost every school-age kid eagerly anticipates. But that wasn’t the case for Sam Chandler at age 11. Sam’s been nearly blind since he was very young—he has no vision in the left eye and 20/1600 in the right eye. That means that what he can see at 20 feet, the average person can see clearly at 1600 feet. This story comes to us from: lurid geoutdoors.

Art and Artists

Arts council in Las Cruces to feature ‘Kaleidoscope Eyes’ of legally blind artist during September exhibit

The Dona Ana Arts Council will feature the work of George Mendoza, a Las Crucen who is legally blind and a well-known advocate for the disabled. This story came to us from: KTSM.

Blind boy adapts braille album

The World Cup album is something that piques the interest of people of all ages. However, the traditional model is not inclusive and people with visual impairments cannot participate in the game. This story comes to us from: play crazygame.

Sports and Athletes

Bonded by blindness and song: These best friends were much more than their football rivalry

Best friends since childhood, John Sutton and Agnes Dutill were inseparable for decades, a relationship forged as much by their shared experience of blindness as their love of sports and music. Sutton, who died in October 2021, was memorialized last week at the Overbrook School for the Blind. This story comes to us from: Audacy.


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