WBH Weekly Blind News Digest – Edition 8


Welcome to Edition eight of Gonz Blinko's Blind News Digest. This edition has about 45 stories about blind people and blindness from all over the world. We're certain you will find articles that you think are interesting, informative and, in some cases, funny.

As we do in every edition of the digest, we'd like to acknowledge our friend in the UK, Leon Gilbert. He practically invented blind news and he has a terrific Twitter feed which you can follow at @leongilbert.

Last Edition

If you missed it, you can read edition seven of the news digest at Gonz Blinko's Blind News Digest – Edition 7. We'll include links to the previous edition in the Introduction section of each week's version.

Never Miss An Issue

If you're enjoying Gonz Blinko's Blind News Digest, you can subscribe by email to this blog and you'll never miss an issue. At this time, we do not have a way to subscribe to the news digest without also receiving my other blog articles which are about a single topic at a time. I never publish more than one blog article in any given week. If you subscribe and enjoy my articles, then you'll be receiving them more conveniently; if you subscribe and don't care for my articles, it's only a single keystroke to delete them.

How It's Organized

When we add a story to this digest, we put into one of the different categories we have to help keep the articles organized as best we can. Sometimes but not often, stories come to us that don't fit a particular category and I do my best to find the closest match or, in some instances, create a new category for that story and any others like it that may show up in the future. Not every edition has all of the same categories as some weeks no stories fall into a particular one and I try to refine the categories with each issue to make them better.

Help Wanted

A friend of mine called me with an idea for this digest. He thought that it would be good to add a short featured article to each edition of the digest and put it at the bottom of the categorized collection of links to stories. Aaron, David and I, the current team that makes the digest, agreed this was a good idea with one caveat: where will we find people to write all of these articles?

If you have an idea about any aspect of blindness and would like to write a short item of any length then please go to our contact form and pitch the story to us. If you don't have much confidence in your writing skills but have an idea you'd like to share, we can help by editing your essay for publication; if you are a good writer, then we'll publish your piece verbatim. But, you can write about anything related to blindness, you can write a rant about being ditched by an Uber Driver, you can write about a nice outing you had with friends, you can write about technology, science or medicine if you understand such things, you can write about learning something new, you can write about how you do your job, you can write amusing guide dog stories as everyone who has a guide dog knows they do funny things from time to time. In essence, you pick the topic and, if it isn't disinformation, then we'll try to run it in the digest.

I know you all have stories, write some down and send them to us. And, if you want to write about something controversial like having been the victim of sexual misconduct by a blindness agency staffer, we'll happily publish your article anonymously as long as I can identify you. A confidential source is fine but we can't run a story if the author is entirely anonymous.

Editorial By Chris Hofstader

Most editions of the digest lead with a section about braille. This is only the second time we don't have a braille section in the digest. Braille does play a major role in some other stories in this edition but, as those articles are mostly about different subjects, I put them into other categories.

The biggest story this week was that about Second Sight and its business dealings. While we rarely do this, we've included four stories about this seeming debacle in this edition, three under Science and Medicine and one in the Business section. The most important of these stories is the one from IEEE Spectrum and it's the first story in the science and medicine section. If these allegations are true (I have it on good source that it is), a few hundred blind people with retinal implants now have a device in their heads that's no longer supported. This story generated dozens of articles in the mainstream press and they all appear to be based on the IEEE Spectrum article.

This was kind of a weird week for news about blindness. We have a lot of sections in this edition with only one article so there's a real lot of variety in this edition. As usual, the science and medicine section is the largest but that's what gets the most press in the mainstream media. We also had a ton of false positives in our GoogleAlerts this week as every publication on Earth seems to be writing about the television show called "Love Is Blind."

We hope you enjoy this edition and send us feedback so we can make it better in the future.

Science and Medicine


Their Bionic Eyes Are Now Obsolete and Unsupported – Second Sight left users of
Its retinal implants in the dark. This story is from IEEESpectrum.

350 people cured of blindness by bionic eye firm face losing their sight AGAIN as firm goes bust

We don't usually run two consecutive articles about the same story but we found the situation with Second Sight to be so outrageous that we thought our readers might want to hear more about it. A bionic eye firm that went out of business following the onset of COVID-19 has left people using their retinal technology blind if the implants malfunction. This story comes to us from Daily Mail Online.

Their Bionic Eyes Are Now Obsolete and Unsupported

It wasn’t her phone battery running out. It was her Argus II retinal implant system powering down. The patches of light and dark that she’d been able to see with the implant’s help vanished. This story comes to us from IEEE Spectrum.

[First successful implantation of revolutionary wireless visual prosthesis brain


While there is currently no cure for blindness, a first-of-its-kind artificial
vision system has undergone its first successful implantation, bringing with it
The potential to restore partial vision to people who have lost their sight. This story came to us from Illinois Institute Of Technology.

Hope for blind- First revolutionary intracortical visual prothesis successfully implanted

This surgery is part of a Phase I Feasibility Study of an Intracortical Visual Prosthesis. This story came to us from Medical Dialogues.

Scientists at Trinity College find gene linked to the damage that causes vision impairment

Scientists at Trinity College in Dublin have found a genetic target that could provide a breakthrough for helping treat many forms of blindness. This story comes to us from Independent.ie.

Factors associated with decreased vision: is it just a visual impairment?

Many causes of visual impairment can be prevented or treated. With global population aging, the need for eye health services has increased exponentially. This story came to us from Portugal Resident.

One Day, I Couldn't See Right. My Life Hasn't Been the Same Since

After I woke up one morning several years ago with freakishly blurred vision, doctors figured out quickly what was wrong: I’d had a rare stroke of sorts. Overnight, it had ravaged the optic nerve behind my right eye. This story comes to us from The New York Times.

World Health Organization recognizes Thai doctors for medical contributions

DrPaisan developed a method for detecting blindness through retina photos. This story came from Pattaya Mail.

Scientists pinpoint genetic target with promise for treating many forms of blindness

Developing therapies for genetic forms of blindness is extremely challenging, in part because they vary so widely. This story comes to us from ScienceDaily.

Angel Profile: Dr. Mercy Dawson and the Himalayan Cataract Project

Angels in Medicine … It is there that Dr. Mercy Dawson works to bring sight to many who are afflicted with blindness from cataracts. This story comes from Angels in Medicine.

Sardarpur: Mourning family turns tragic accident into a boon for the blind; Deceased groom's eyes donated Before Cremation

Family members of Ajay Kumawat, the groom who had died in a tragic road accident on Saturday morning, a couple of hours before his wedding, have donated his eyes before cremation. This story came to us from Free Press Journal.


The Hidden Image Descriptions Making the Internet Accessible

Some companies have turned to artificial intelligence to increase the presence of alt text. Microsoft and Google have both developed features that use A.I. to automatically generate alt text. In 2016, Facebook debuted its own “automatic alt text,” which uses A.I. to identify objects in images, which it also added to Instagram in 2018. (Instagram Stories does not have an option for alt text.) Cynthia Bennett, a researcher at Carnegie Mellon University’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute, who is blind and uses a screen reader, said that artificial intelligence and automation have enabled alt text to be generated much more widely. But the descriptions she comes across, she added, “Tend to not be very high quality. This story comes to us from The New York Times.

How imagination and technology are combining to bring comics to people with visual disabilities

Despite its reliance on visual impact, the comic book is being presented in modified forms for accessibility and inclusion. This story comes to us from Scroll Ground Reporting.

Blindness Organizations

New Member Orientation Material – Acronyms / State Services for the Blind

ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act ; BEP, Business Enterprises Program, Develops self-employment business opportunities for legally blind vendors.
His story came to us from Minnesota.gov.

Meeting Schedule / State Services for the Blind

Meeting Schedule. The council meets the first Thursday on the even months of the year. Meetings are from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. on Zoom. This story came to us from Minnesota.gov.

Services for the Blind Community Forum

Anyone interested in DSB or vocational rehabilitation services for the Blind or Visually Impaired Community is welcome to join this Virtual Town Hall. This story came to us from Tacoma Weekly.

Radio Talking Book / State Services for the Blind

Eligible individuals include persons who are blind, visually impaired, or have a physical impairment that makes accessing print difficult. This story came to us from Minnesota.gov.

Discrimination and Inaccessibility

Blind CDC employee claims agency broke the law, failed to provide accommodations

The alleged discrimination started with simple requests, like joining co-workers on work assignments. Michael said he was invited to take a tour of a laboratory in February 2020.
When staff learned a blind employee was coming, he said, the trip was scrapped.
“They canceled the trip and shared the whole reason to all my colleagues that, ‘We don't feel safe, that a blind person is coming. This story came to us from 11Alive.com.


Communication Failures in Healthcare for Deaf and/or Blind Individuals Lawsuit Investigation

Are you a person with a disability who has had trouble accessing health care services (such as at a doctor’s office, testing lab, or rehab center) due to a lack of effective communication by your healthcare provider? If so, you may have a legal claim. This story comes to us from Top Class Actions.

Persons Who are Deaf-blind Need a Seat at the Legal Table

We have all heard about Helen Keller, who, when she was only 19 months old, contracted an illness that left her deaf, blind, and mute. Quite likely, few of us have ever interacted with someone who is both deaf and blind. This story comes to us from Texas Lawyer.


United States Supports Visually Impaired Ghanaian Students with Braille Learning Materials

The United States is donating Braille teaching and learning materials for 1,400 visually impaired Ghanaian students. The materials were developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Education’s Special Education Division. U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Education Office. This story came to us from U.S. Embassy in Ghana.

Blind woman reveals she still dreams in color

Pupils from Welholme Academy in Grimsby, North East Lincs., and Kingston Primary School in Benfleet, Essex, were allowed to ask anything they wanted to a blind person – like how they pick up dog poo. This story comes to us from New York Post.

Meet the Teacher Empowering Visually Impaired Students With Next-Gen Tech

Special hardware and training from HP is helping make education accessible at this historic North Carolina school for the blind. This story comes to us from CSRwire.


Global Corneal Implants Market to Grow at 6.8% during 2021 – 2029

Penetrating Keratoplasty (PK) too Held the Largest Market Share in 2020. This story comes to us from Digital Journal.

Kodiak (KOD) falls 2.40% for February 17

Kodiak Sciences Inc (NASDAQ: KOD) fell to close at $54.08 Thursday after losing … to prevent and treat the leading causes of blindness. This story came to us from Equities.com.

Second Sight eyes buyout of Nano Precision Medical and its diabetes drug implant

Clear eyes, full pockets, can’t lose. Not long after chalking up nearly $60 million in proceeds from a public offering last summer, visual prosthetic maker Second Sight Medical has set its sights on expanding into new types of medical implants. This story is from Fierce Biotech.


How a treaty signed in Marrakesh made the Library of Congress more accessible

Braille and specially formatted audiobooks in Portuguese for a fifth-grader? The “Outlander” series in Braille? Various works by Nietzsche in Spanish audio? Books in Finnish for someone in hospice care?
Such requests are not unusual for the Library of Congress’s National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled. What’s dramatically changed for the library service and its 310,000 patrons is how those requests are answered. This story came from Washington Post.

Assembly Committee Advances Tucker & McKnight Bill to Require Employee Training Concerning Service or ‘Guide’ Dogs

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service dogs are allowed to accompany their owners almost anywhere an individual is permitted to go in order to perform their job as an aid. In August of 2013, a legally blind man was asked to remove his dog from a store even after he explained and gave proof that it was a trained service animal. This story came to us from Insider NJ.

Governor Hochul Establishes Office of the Chief Disability Officer

Governor Kathy Hochul – NY.gov
Appoints Kimberly T. Hill as the State's First Chief Disability Officer … and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into State law. This story came to us from Governor Kathy Hochul.

Guide Dogs

Service dogs are allowed everywhere disabled people go

A legally blind man walked into a deli in Essex County to buy a sandwich in 2013, only to be told by an employee that the customer’s service dog wasn’t allowed. This story came to us from NJ.com.

Who let the dogs, and other animals, in?

Is your business prepared to welcome animals into the workplace? It may not have a choice, as employees with disabilities — ranging from physical limitations to psychological or emotional disorders — may legitimately request the presence of an animal as an accommodation to their disability. This story came to us from NH Business Review.

Yes, NJ should train its employees when it comes to service dogs

This is on the heels of an incident that occurred in 2013 when a blind man was refused service because of his service dog. This story came to us from New Jersey 101.5.

Heart-warming moment 101-year-old blind Lanarkshire woman meets guide dog named in her honour

A 101-year-old woman, who was a guide dog owner for 55 years, has been visited in her care home by seven-month-old pooch Mary. This story came from Daily Record.

Blind Community Activist's Guide Dog Killed in Harvey Hit and Run

A community activist who is blind is devastated after his guide dog was killed in a hit and run in south suburban Harvey. NBC 5’s Regina Waldroup reports. This story came to us from NBC Chicago.


Blind man needs help for home

Blind man needs help for home … The 25-year-old visually impaired man has spent all his life in this unfinished house in Las Lomas. This story comes to us from Trinidad Express.


Man accused of holding knife to blind roommate's throat

A man was arrested on Friday after he allegedly held a knife to his blind roommate’s throat and threatened him, according to the probable cause affidavit. This story comes to us from ABC 57.


Far More than Blind: Sam Chavez's Life, 1904-1981

New Mexico celebrated the courage of another resourceful blind person in 1946. Like Sam Chavez, Cecelia “Celia” Lovato had been blind from birth. This story came to us from Valencia County News-Bulletin.

Stories From the Past- Blind Woman Sight Restored

Woman, Born Blind, Sees After Operation Performed by Livingston Physicians: Thirty-One Years in Darkness Ends As Cataracts Are Removed By Doctors Brown and Clark in 1910. This story is from Overton County News.

Good News

Good Samaritans fix blind woman's garden after cowboy builder ruined it

GOOD Samaritans stepped in to finish a blind woman's dream garden when she was ripped off by a rogue builder.Lisa Potter, 49, had paid £6500. This story came from The Sun.


More than meets the eye for blind speedskater in Harrisburg, Skate Like a Girl

Hillary is totally blind, the only speedskater in Pennsylvania with total loss of sight. This story comes to us from ABC27.

Goalball Americas Champs to break records

The 2022 International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Goalball Americas Championships will feature a record number of countries as a total of 25 teams are set to compete.This story comes to us from IBSA Sport.

IBSA seeks Media Officer

The International Blind Sports Association (IBSA) is the world’s leading sports organization for people with visual impairments and a founding member of the Paralympic Movement. This story is from IBSA Internal Blind Sports Federation.

Blind athlete, 400 runners take on Jackpot-Ultra Running Festival in Henderson

The 100-mile Jackpot Ultra-Running Festival took place in Henderson at Cornerstone Park. Jackpot is the most inclusive and diverse ultra-race in the country. This story came to us from FOX5 Vegas.


Why continuing driver education is a must

I remember my time as a cub reporter with GMA News when Jessica Soho did a story on how easy it is to get a driver's license. She applied at the LTO main office at East Avenue, Quezon City and the subject was a blind person. The blind man got his license without any problem. This story came to us from The Manila Times.


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