World Sight Day Happenings
Join in: Combat Blindness International’s World Sight Day virtual event, October 14, 2021 from 6:30 to 9:15 pm CDT. This free, livestreamed celebration features special guests, an online silent auction, and more. Those who register will also be entered in a drawing to win a Nest Audio smart speaker. Combat Blindness International works across the world to “eliminate preventable blindness worldwide by providing sustainable, equitable solutions for sight through partnerships and innovation.” To learn more and register, check out their World Sight Day virtual event.
On October 10, 2021, Optometry Australia is hosting a virtual World Sight Day event, #Everyone Counts, from 7:30 to 8:30 pm AEDT. Sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, the Zoom webinar aims to increase awareness and understanding of statistics related to vision impairment and blindness and “how this relates to current global and local sight needs.” The webinar will also highlight programs providing access to health and medical services as well as information on eye care. For more information or to register, check out this Australian World Sight Day 2021 Virtual Event.
The World Sight Day 2021 Photo Competition is “an opportunity to demonstrate your photography skills and share with the world what you see.” Sponsored by The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), this year’s competition highlights the theme #LoveYourEyes. The sponsors are seeking images that depict a wide range of what it may mean to have “healthy vision” – from children reaching their potential because of “clear vision,” to older adults participating more fully in society due to corrective surgery, to the efforts of health workers, or the “hope for a brighter, healthier future.” Photos may be submitted through October 18, 2021; winners will be announced on October 29, 2021. #LoveYourEyes is open to all. Find out more and submit your photo for the IAPB World Sight Day 2021 Photo Competition.
In honor of World Sight Day, and in recognition of October as World Blind Awareness Month, free streaming of the film Going Blind: Coming Out of the Dark About Vision Loss is offered throughout the month of October by A Closer Look, a not-for-profit health and social justice organization. The documentary conveys stories of “everyday people and the adaptations they make to live in today’s world with vision loss.” Director Joseph Lovett tells his own story as well, revealing his experiences losing vision due to glaucoma. To view the film, go to the Going Blind film website and select one of the three yellow button options to access one of three versions: Standard, Audio-Described, or Captioned.
Virtual Celebrations of White Cane Day: October 15, 2021
Interested in learning more about the history of the white cane, the “’White Cane Law’” or more about the use and benefits of the cane? The Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB) is hosting a virtual event on the 15th from 12 to 1 pm ET, covering these and other related topics. Participants will “Hear from inspiring individuals who use white canes to travel to work, school, and community engagements.” For those in Massachusetts, information will be offered about support groups and about MCB’s Orientation & Mobility services. To register check out the 2021 MCB White Cane Awareness Event.
“Traveling with Confidence: Rising Above the Struggles” marks the theme of the virtual 15th Annual Houston White Cane Safety Day, hosted by the Greater Houston Disability Chamber of Commerce (GHDCC) on the 15th from 10 am to 12 noon CT. The event features speakers, entertainment, and more. A virtual resource fair will follow, from 1 pm to 3 pm CT, where attendees can visit the exhibitors through 20 breakout rooms. Check this event out and sign up at 2021 White Cane Safety Attendee Registration.
The Braille Institute is celebrating White Cane Awareness Day virtually on October 15th from 1 pm to 2:30 pm PT. They will be joined by the Lions Club, who will highlight how they are “’Knights for the Blind,’” and will also share the history of White Cane Day and the White Cane Law. The program includes white cane users, who will describe their experiences. To register for this open online workshop, go to White Cane Day/Braille Institute.
A virtual celebration is also being held on October 13, 2021 from 10 am to 1 pm CT for the Austin, Texas White Cane Day Celebration – and will include the reading of the 1965 White Cane Day Proclamation from President Lyndon B. Johnson. The Zoom link will be released on October 12th. Find out more about the event and how to get the link to Celebrate White Cane Day Virtually in October.
Online Accessible Board, Card, and Dice Games
By Ahmat Djouma
Do you want to be able to play – or know about – online games, but have not found a source for accessible versions? RSGames has you covered, offering many popular games like Yahtzee, Uno, and Monopoly. They have developed accessible board, card, and dice games for people who are blind or visually impaired. Beginning in 2009 with the introduction of the first accessible version of the Monopoly board game, they have been adding to the list ever since. Currently they have 20 games and now release a new game every year on December 20th, holiday time and their anniversary. While playing, you can communicate with other players using voice-chat or text-chat. The games are available on Windows, Mac, and iOS. All are free on windows and Mac OS.; a small up-front cost is associated with the iOS application. If you use a screen reader, you can download and install the RSGames client “for the best experience.” Those using VoiceOver can download the RSGames app from the Apple app store. For users of Android and other platforms, as well as users who are sighted, it is recommended that they play the games from a web browser. Visit RSGames to learn more and to download the appropriate product for your use.
“Ask an AT Professional” – New Service for Assistive Technology Users
Need some help with your assistive technology? Wondering what that JAWS or NVDA command is? Puzzled about your braille display or having trouble with your iPhone? Asked friends or Googled and still don’t have the answers? A new service from Our Space Our Place, Inc. for blind or low vision assistive technology users, “Ask an AT Professional” offers assistance via Zoom each week, on Wednesdays from 1 to 3 pm ET and Saturdays from 10 am to noon ET. Register and get the Zoom link to Ask the AT Professional.
Collision-Warning Device In Development Shows Promise in Clinical Trial
A recent study of a wearable device designed to improve mobility among people who are blind or have severely impaired vision has revealed some promising results. According to an article in Ophthalmology Times, among users participating in the clinical trial, the rate of collisions decreased by more than one-third during daily walks over a four-week period. The device in development consists of a video camera and microcomputer contained in a slingback bag. When worn, the camera is level with the user’s chest and provides alerts to them via “vibratactile wristbands.” The study’s authors, lead author Shrinivas Punklik, PhD, and senior author Gang Luo, PhD, are both from the Schepens Eye Research of Massachusetts Eye and Ear and the Department of Ophthalmology of Harvard Medical School. “’In this study…the collision warnings were associated with a reduced rate of contacts with obstacles during daily mobility, indicating the potential of a device to augment habitual mobility aids.’” Read the full article: Collision warning device developed for visually impaired patients.
Ophthalmologist Patricia Bath, MD, to be Inducted Into The National Inventors Hall of Fame
Since its founding in 1973, The National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) has inducted more than 600 inventors. NIHF will be inducting its first two African American women into its 2022 class, ophthalmologist Patricia Bath, MD, a pioneer in cataract surgery, and engineer Marian Croak. Dr. Bath, whose work was highlighted in this bulletin earlier in the year, invented the laserphaco, used in cataract removal. This “minimally invasive device” makes an incision in the eye to facilitate breaking down and “vacuuming out fragments” of the damaged lens prior to its being removed. According to NIHF, Dr. Bath’s work “forever changed cataract surgery.” These two inductees join 48 women and 40 African American men who have been previously included in the Hall of Fame. Read more about their achievements in the article in DiversityInc: Engineer Marian Croak and Ophthalmologist Patricia Bath Will Become First Black Women Inducted into The National Inventors Hall of Fame.
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