Eye Issues For Every Age Recap

Vision is something we take for granted, but when we start to have trouble seeing it is easy to panic. This blog has covered a variety of eye issues for every age, from children through older adults. Here are a few articles from leading doctors and specialists that you may have missed and might be of interest.
Artistic eye 6
Bill Takeshita, OD, FAAO – Visual Aids and Techniques When Traveling

Michelle Moore, CHHC – The Best Nutrition for Older Adults

Arthur B. Epstein, OD, FAAO – Understanding and Treating Corneal Scratches and Abrasions

The National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) – Low Vision Awareness
Maintaining Healthy Vision

Sandra Young, OD – GMO and the Nutritional Content of Food

S. Barry Eiden, OD, FAAO – Selecting Your Best Vision Correction Options

Suber S. Huang, MD, MBA – It’s All About ME – What to Know About Macular Edema

Jun Lin, MD, PhD and James Tsai, MD, MBA – The Optic Nerve And Its Visual Link To The Brain

Ronald N. Gaster, MD FACS – Do You Have a Pterygium?

Anthony B. Nesburn, MD, FACS – Three Generations of Saving Vision

Chantal Boisvert, OD, MD – Vision and Special Needs Children

Judith Delgado – Driving and Age-Related Macular Degeneration

David L. Kading OD, FAAO and Charissa Young – Itchy Eyes? It Must Be Allergy Season

Lauren Hauptman – Traveling With Low Or No Vision  /  Must Love Dogs, Traveling with Guide Dogs  /  Coping With Retinitis Pigmentosa

Kate Steit – Living Well With Low Vision Online Courses

Bezalel Schendowich, OD – What Are Scleral Contact Lenses?

In addition here are few other topics you might find of interest, including some infographics and delicious recipes.

Pupils Respond to More Than Light

Watery, Red, Itchy Eyes

10 Tips for Healthy Eyes (infographic)

The Need For Medical Research Funding

Protective Eyewear for Home, Garden & Sports

7 Spring Fruits and Vegetables (with some great recipes)

6 Ways Women Can Stop Vision Loss

6 Signs of Eye Disease (infographic)

Do I Need Vision Insurance?

How to Help a Blind or Visually Impaired Person with Mobility

Your Comprehensive Eye Exam (infographic)

Famous People with Vision Loss – Part I

Famous People with Vision Loss – Part II

Development of Eyeglasses Timeline (infographic)

What eye topics do you want to learn about? Please let us know in the comments section below.


Susan DeRemerSusan DeRemer, CFRE
Vice President of Development
Discovery Eye Foundation

Traveling With Low Or No Vision

What Good is Sitting Alone in Your Room?

Traveling with low or no vision

There is a whole world out there to discover — regardless of whether you can see it all with your eyes. No one will tell you traveling with low or no vision does not present challenges, but there are precious few that cannot be overcome with planning, creativity and patience.
Traveling with low or no vision
A plethora of for-profit and nonprofit companies exist to help you navigate the complexities of traveling with a vision disability — from technology and websites, to travel agents and tour operators. And don’t overlook helpful — and free! — resources such as your friends and family, assistance pets and even complete strangers.

Travel Tools
Everyday tools become even more essential when you are traveling in unfamiliar surroundings. A mobility cane (consider a small travel version) will let you find your way more easily — and notify others of your vision issues. This is especially helpful for two reasons: Strangers are less likely to get in your way and more likely to help if you ask for it. In a recent DEF blog post (“Visual Aids and Techniques When Traveling”

Linda Becker, who has retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and travels primarily with her guide dog, is planning her next trip to Australia and New Zealand with Mind’s Eye Travel, a company that specializes in creating tours especially for people who are blind or visually impaired, as well as providing sighted guides. There are many such companies that will assist you with all facets of travel, from immigration documents to reservations to tour guides. Traveleyes offers discounts to sighted travelers in exchange for helping guide non-sighted travelers during group vacations around the world. DisabledTravelers.com is a good resource for companies that specialize in travel for people with accessibility issues. It includes reviews and recommendations on everything from airlines and cruises, to travel agents and hotels.

Plan, Prep, Pack
Ask any experienced low-vision traveler, and they will tell you planning, planning and more planning is the key to successful travel. Not only will it make your trip go more smoothly, it will give you peace of mind, as well as the ability to relax and enjoy yourself. The fewer surprises, the more confident and comfortable you will feel. And if something does goes awry, it is easier “go with the flow,” because everything else has been planned.

Right at the top of the list with planning is, well, making a list. Prepare a list of all the items you will need, then double it. That means if you wear contact lenses, pack at least one extra pair, as well as cleaning solutions. Same goes for glasses and sunglasses. Make sure you have plenty of the medications and other supplies you use on a day-to-day basis. Most seasoned travelers suggest you have multiples of all these stashed in different bags: your carry-on, your suitcase and a handbag of some kind that never leaves your side. This way, if one bag gets lost, you still have another one or two. Sample sizes may become your best friend!

Carolyn Hammett, an accomplished photographer and world traveler who has keratoconus (KC), advises: “Be prepared; having backups makes you more comfortable. Be ready to change contact lenses in public restroom if you need to. Have one of everything you need, vision-wise, with you at all times.” To learn more about Hammett and see what she packs for a two-week trip, see “Through a Lens with One Eye Blind,” a story from our recent e-newsletter focused on travel experiences and tips.

“Leave extra time, notify airlines or others in advance that you may need assistance, and don’t be afraid to ask for help,” says Adam Lawrence, who also has RP and travels regularly with his guide dog. (Read more about traveling with guide dogs in “Traveling Tails”, from an article in our recent e-newsletter.

Speaking of help, don’t forget the helper sitting next to you right now, whether it’s a spouse, a friend or a guide dog. Traveling alone can be vexing for people with full vision, so it’s natural for those with low vision to feel even more anxiety.

Dame Judi Dench, who has age-related macular degeneration (AMD), recently told Radio Times she no longer travels alone. “I need someone to say, ‘Look out, there’s a step here!’ or else I fall all over the place like a mad, drunk lady,” she said.

“Don’t travel by yourself the first time — go with someone you trust, and let them know how much help you want,” Hammett says. “I’ve gotten to the point where I tell my husband, ‘Don’t tell me anything until I screw up.’”

With planning, preparation and practice, you may get to a point where you feel comfortable traveling alone. You will only know your limitations if you try to stretch them.

“Just try,” Hammett says. “Do it once to find out if you can.”

Additional Resources

Access-Able Travel Source’s “Travel Tips for People Who are Blind or Visually Impaired”

Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality

Transportation Security Administration’s “Passengers Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision”


LH1_RESCANLauren Hauptman
Lauren Hauptman INK

Visual Aids and Techniques When Traveling

I was 43 years old when I learned that I had an incurable disease of the retina that would cause permanent vision loss. I was devastated and could only think of how sad my life would be without being able to play basketball, ride my bicycle, travel to new destinations, and to enjoy the finer things in life. Fortunately, all of my preconceived ideas were wrong! I met a group of people with macular degeneration and they told me about all the fun things they did together. They told me about how they went horseback riding, bowled, golfed, rode tandem bicycles, and traveled across the United States together. The purpose of this article is to share with you many helpful tips and strategies to allow you to enjoy yourself when you travel and play outdoors. Here are some visual aids and techniques when traveling.
Visual aids  and techniques for traveling
Sunglasses and Filters
Sunglasses are one of the most helpful visual aids to improve your eye comfort and vision when traveling outdoors. There are many different color filters that are made of various materials to maximize your vision. Often, people purchase sunglasses that are too dark and they do not allow a person to see details most clearly. Amber and yellow filters are very helpful for people with macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy while green and plum lenses are very comfortable for people who are in the direct bright sunlight. Another type of sunglass lens that is very helpful is polarized lenses. These lenses filter light from reflected surfaces, such as the water or a windshield. Thus, a polarized sunglass will be very helpful if you will be traveling on an ocean cruise or traveling in the car on a road trip.

Hats and Visors
Hats and visors are another excellent visual aid to reduce glare. Wearing a hat or visor with a wide brim made of a dark color will reduce glare caused by the bright sidewalk. Many hats and visors are shaped such that they also filter light coming from the sides.

Telescopic glasses are very helpful low vision aids that allow people to identify distant objects very clearly. A telescope consists of two lenses separated by space. They are available in different powers to provide different levels of magnification. The larger the telescope, the higher the magnification. Telescopes are available to be mounted in glasses or they may be held in your hand. By looking through a telescope or telescopic glasses, the world will be magnified, similar to looking through a pair of binoculars. Telescopes are very helpful for sight seeing, reading traffic signs, watching plays, sporting events, and for people watching. Consult with your low vision optometrist for a demonstration of these devices!

Magnifiers are very helpful tools when traveling. They allow one to read menus, identify your currency, read bus schedules, and to also see the slot machines! Magnifiers are available in various shapes, sizes, and forms. Some are simple lenses that are held in your hand while others are placed in glasses to allow you to use your hands to perform other tasks. I will never forget the first time that I prescribed magnifying glasses to allow my patient to play Black Jack in Las Vegas. He came back from his vacation ad was so happy that he was able to play cards again!

Mobility Cane
A mobility cane is very important to take when you travel because it informs others that you have a vision problem and it allows people to assist you by moving out of the way as you walk. I recall how strongly I resisted the use of my long white cane. I did not feel that I needed it because I still had vision. However, when we walked on the Las Vegas strip, I could not enjoy the sights of the new hotels because I had my head tilted towards the sidewalk so that I could see where to walk. My wife told me, “Why don’t you try using your cane so that you can enjoy the scenery?” I reluctantly agreed and was so excited to be able to lift my head and look around at all the hotels and people. People moved out of our way as we walked and it made me feel as though I was Moses walking through the parted Red Sea!

Smart Phones
Another very helpful tool to use when traveling or performing activities away from your home is the use of the cell phone. Today, there are cell phones called Smart Phones. These phones are essentially a small computer that has the ability to magnify the print on the screen and they are also able to talk to you and understand your voice! I personally use the Apple iPhone 5 and this device is extremely helpful. I can ask it to give me directions to specific areas to walk and visit, or I can ask it where the nearest bank, restaurant, or hotel is. When my phone locates the available options, it says the options aloud. My phone is also helpful because it can take pictures of objects and tell me what they are. When shopping, my phone will scan the bar code and tell me what is in the package and it will also tell me the price. Lastly, my phone has the ability to identify the currency, colors of clothing, and it also can help me to obtain a taxi cab or a bus ride.

All in all, there are many tools and techniques that are available to allow people with low vision or blindness to perform enjoyable activities away from home and to travel. I never thought that I would be able to enjoy all the things that I now do as a person who is totally blind. To learn more about these low vision aids and strategies, contact your low vision agency.


Bill Takeshita - July 2011Bill Takeshita, OD, FAAO
Chief of Optometry
Center for the Partially Sighted

Our First Three Months Of Eye Care


Discovery Eye Foundation Blog’s First Three Months

It is hard to believe, but this blog has been providing information and insights into eye disease, treatment options, personal experiences of living with vision loss, and other eye-related information for seven months.

All of this would not have been possible without the expertise of remarkable eye care professionals who took time out of their busy schedules to share information to help you cope with vision loss through a better understanding of your eye condition and practical tips. Since so much information was shared in the seven months, here is a look at the first three months, with the additional four months to be reviewed next Tuesday.
Thank You - first three months
I am very thankful to these caring eye professionals and those with vision loss who were willing to share their stories:

Marjan Farid, MDcorneal transplants and new hope for corneal scarring

Bill Takeshita, OD, FAAO, FCOVDproper lighting to get the most out of your vision and reduce eyestrain

Maureen A. Duffy, CVRTlow vision resources

M. Cristina Kenney, MD, PhDthe differences in the immune system of a person with age-related macular degeneration

Bezalel Schendowich, ODblinking and dealing with eyestrain

Jason Marsack, PhDusing wavefront technology with custom contact lenses

S. Barry Eiden, OD, FAAOcontact lens fitting for keratoconus

Arthur B. Epstein, OD, FAAOdry eye and tear dysfunction

Jeffrey Sonsino, OD, FAAOusing OCT to evaluate contact lenses

Lylas G. Mogk, MDCharles Bonnet Syndrome

Dean Lloyd, Esqliving with the Argus II

Gil Johnsonemployment for seniors with aging eyes

We would like to extend our thanks to these eye care professionals, and to you, the reader, for helping to make this blog a success. Please subscribe to the blog and share it with your family, friends and doctors.

Susan DeRemerSusan DeRemer, CFRE
Vice President of Development
Discovery Eye Foundation

Better Lighting for Better Vision

Lighting is the most essential element for vision. Without light, we cannot see. Conversely, too much light causes glare and eye discomfort. People with macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, and other vision conditions require specific levels and colors of light to maximize their vision. For each person, the lighting requirements are specific and one should consult with a low vision optometrist or ophthalmologist and find out the best color temperature of light, the best brightness of light, and the best type of light bulb to maximize vision.

There are many different forms of lighting for indoor use. The incandescent light bulb has been the most popular light bulb for decades but it will soon be discontinued because there are new light bulbs that use less energy, produce less heat, and produce a brighter light of different colors.

OTT task lamp - lighting
OTT task lamp

Compact Fluorescent Lights

The most frequent replacement for the incandescent light bulb is the compact fluorescent light bulb, sometimes abbreviated as CFL. The CFL bulb consists of a tube slighter larger than the diameter of a pencil that is swirled to produce a bulb approximately the same size as a conventional light bulb. The base of the bulb has threads to allow the bulb to be screwed into most all light fixtures and this will enable people to keep their older lamps.

LED Bulbs

Another common replacement for the incandescent light bulb is the LED bulb, also called the light emitting diode. LED bulbs are very efficient and use less energy that the CFL bulbs. There are many varieties of LED bulbs with various color temperatures. Although the price of an LED bulb is higher than the CFL, the overall cost savings makes them an excellent choice if your eyes respond best to the LED bulb.

How to shop for replacement bulbs
One of the easiest ways to purchase replacement light bulbs for your lamps at home is to go to a light bulb store or to a home improvement store. Take the information provided by your low vision eye doctor and ask a clerk to help you to find the bulb that you need. The following information is the features to search for on the package:

 Lumens: Lumens inform you about how much light the bulb will produce. The higher the lumens, the brighter the light.

 Temperature: The package of the bulb will describe the Kelvin temperature of the bulb. 2800 degrees will produce a white light with a reddish tint. 3500 degrees will be a whiter light while the 5000 degree bulb will be white with a tint of blue. Ask your doctor about the best temperature color because some bulbs with a temperature over 5000 degrees contain blue light which can be hazardous to the retina of some people’s eyes.

 Watts: The watts only tell you how much energy the bulb uses. The lower the wattage, the less energy it consumes.

 Base: A medium base is the standard base of the typical incandescent light.

Task Lighting

Task lights are designed to provide the recommended lighting for the specific activity that you are performing. A desk lamp is the most popular task light for reading, writing, paying bills, arts and crafts, and eating. The lamps are small and easy to move from one location to another. The table lamp has a cover that will direct the light from the light bulb directly on the items you want to see. This is very important because light will not shine into the eyes of the user and cause glare. Desk lamps are also positioned close to the table and this increases the amount of light that illuminates the item. The closer the light is to the reading material, the brighter the illumination. Too many times, people with low vision attempt to improve their lighting by installing a brighter bulb in the ceiling. However, the distance between the bulb and the reading materials is too large and one will not be able to see maximally.  Some of the most popular desk lamps for people with low vision are the Ott desk lamp and Veralux desk lamps. These lamps are very easy to turn on and off and they provide a wide area of illumination for reading and desk-work.

Track lighting
Track lighting
Some people require task lighting at different locations in the home, such as above the stove, kitchen counter, or in the living room. The most effective solutions for this type of task lighting are track lights. A track light consists of a metal strip that is mounted to the ceiling. Light fixtures can then be connected to the metal strip. Low voltage halogen light fixtures with a MR-16 bulb provide users with the largest variety of lighting needs. The MR-16 bulbs do not use much energy, they are available in different color temperatures, and they are very bright. Many people will install a track light above their lounge chair to read in the living room. Similarly, they can be installed over the stove or kitchen counter. The bulbs come in a spot light design and a flood design to spread the width of the light to a level that works best for the person. Track lights are very elegant and work very well in dining rooms and in conference rooms.

Bill Takeshita - July 2011Bill Takeshita, OD, FAAO, FCOVD
Chief of Optometry, Center for the Partially Sighted
Consulting director of low vision education, Braille Institute