Household Organization Ideas for the Visually Impaired

Everyone knows that a clean home (or other environment) is preferable over a not so clean home. For persons with visual impairments a well labeled and organized home could mean the difference between being able to live independently or not. Product information linked within each section of this blog comes from ILA with most all other information coming from The Council of Schools and Services for the Blind (COSB).

Create an Organized Environment

If you keep your home organized, it will be easier to find things when you need them. It can also eliminate any tripping hazards and reduce frustration when doing everyday chores. Here are some tips to help you say organized:

  • Label, label, label. Label everything in your home, from reusable bottles to hangers for clothing to on/off switches. You can even label cabinets!
  • Use drawer dividers and closet organizers to separate clothing.
  • Label clothing with the letter of the clothing color on the tag.
  • Develop a system to keep food and toiletry items organized. Always keep these items in the same place and label them as necessary.
  • Always keep chairs and other easily movable furniture in the same place.
  • Use large numbered devices for telephones, timers, calculators or anything with numbers that need to be seen.
  • Train family members to respect the organizational system you’ve developed. Explain to them why and how it helps you.

Give Your Home a Tactile Effect

Adding tactile elements to your interior design can help you use your sense of touch to navigate your house with ease. There are several things you can keep in mind when designing your home or that you can easily modify after the fact. You should:

  • Buy furniture that has textured upholstery. This will allow you to recognize furniture in different rooms by their texture.
  • Use tactile markers/stickers in your kitchen and bathroom to let you know where things are located and when to use caution.
  • Use embossed letter stickers to help you distinguish between different things. For example, an “F” could let you know you are turning on the living room fan.
  • Mark toothbrushes or other important items with rubber bands or other tactile aids so that you can easily identify them.
  • Use braille labels for anything that needs special identification.

Label Foods

If there is some usable vision you can use a magnifying glass to identify the foods in your kitchen; however, if you can’t see that well then there are a few modifications you can implement:

  • Use braille labels to mark foods and medicines, especially if they can pose some kind of danger (like if you are allergic or need to take a specific dose).
  • Use rubber bands to identify certain food or medicine items. Place a different number of rubber bands on each different container.
  • Use brightly colored and labeled index cards to label items around the kitchen.
  • Use pipe cleaners, velcro, velour pads or foam alphabet letters to label different things (like canned goods).
  • Learn to identify kitchen items by their weight, location, sound, size, or shape.

Use Contrasting Colors

Keep the color principles top of mind as you prepare your home. Know that bright colors are often the easiest to see since they reflect light. Solid, brighter colors such as orange, red and yellow are more visible than their muted counterparts.

It’s important to keep in mind that dim light can wash out certain colors, while bright light can amplify them. Test what works best for you, and use contrasting colors to make the areas of your house easier to distinguish.

  • Use brightly colored vases, lamps or sculptures to help identify where key pieces of furniture are.
  • Avoid upholstery and rugs that are patterned. Stripes and checks can create confusion for some people who are visually impaired.
  • Use color to indicate changes in surface level (such as on the stairs).
  • Use contrasting colors to warn about places that may be hazardous or require extra attention (such as fluorescent tape on the inside of doors or cabinets that may be ajar).
  • Color-code household items you use often or bills and documents you may need to work with. (Brightly colored post-it notes or textured paint work great!)
  • Drape a brightly colored blanket or towel in a contrasting color on the back of your favorite chair or your spot on the couch.
  • Use dark, solid colors as borders around white or light objects (such as a light switch). This will help it to stand out.
  • Place dark objects (like chairs) in front of lighter colored walls which will also help these items to stand out.
  • Avoid using clear glass dishes and cups, as they are more difficult to see.
  • Paint door knobs and door frames a bright color so that they are easier to see.
  • Use a different color of paint on the ceiling than the walls.
  • Use solid (non-patterned) rugs to help you identify different areas of the home.

Adjust for Housekeeping and Laundry

Even simple chores like laundry can take longer than necessary if you don’t have some modifications in place. There are a few things you can do to make life easier:

  • Place tactile stickers on the dials and commonly used settings of your washing machine and dryer. If you share a household, you can use transparent stickers to make sure the rest of your family can see the dials as well.
  • Pin your socks together with sock locks before putting them away, and teach your family to do the same.
  • Load the dishwasher from back to front and remember to always load knives and forks point-side down.
  • Place safety pins in clothing of the same color or label clothing with a letter of clothing color on the tag.
  • Place dividers in drawers and closets to separate different kinds of clothing.
  • Label all cleaning supplies with braille or felt letters so that you know what you are cleaning with at all times. The WayAround labeling system is another great option to do this. (The WayAround product line is a combination of smartphone app and physical WayTags™ that allows you to tag and label nearly everything in your environment.)

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2021 World Sight Day: How to Love Your Eyes

This World Sight Day, find out what you need to do to prevent sight loss, and to protect, preserve and prioritize vision. Information and graphics for this blog were taken directly from articles from The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness website discussing World Sight Day and more specifically these pages: HOW TO LOVE YOUR EYES – PREVENT, HOW TO LOVE YOUR EYES – PROTECT, HOW TO LOVE YOUR EYES – PRESERVE, MAKE A PLEDGE, and HOW TO LOVE YOUR EYES – PRIORITIZE.

Prevent

Many eye diseases can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle is all about eating healthy and adopting healthy habits.

Eating a healthy balanced diet is often the crucial step in maintaining a healthy weight, controlling obesity, and preventing diseases such as Diabetes, all of which can impact eye health.

What can help?

Leading a healthy lifestyle is as simple as

  • Cutting down on smoking, drinking
  • Maintaining healthy weight through healthy eating and exercising
  • Maintaining normal blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels

Protect

While leading a healthy lifestyle can help you prevent several eye diseases it is equally important to protect and take care of your eyes. The risk ranges from severe sunlight, workplace accidents to prolonged exposure to screens at homes. So, what can you do to protect your eyes?

1) Protective Eye Wear

It is important to protect our eyes from harmful radiations like the Ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun. Using good quality sunglasses is the simplest step we can take towards protecting our eyes from such harmful radiations when we step out of the house.

A healthy workplace is important for your eyes too. If you are among those where work exposes you to hazardous chemicals, radiations, flying particles, and excessive heat, you must use protective eyewear as recommended by occupational standards and guidelines.

2) Clean out your cosmetics

It is essential to maintain good care and cleaning regimen with the use of make-up and eye cosmetics as these can induce issues such as dryness of ocular surface to allergic reactions. We recommend fair use of cosmetics in consultation with your eye care professional.

3) Work in a body-friendly way

Now that the use of gadgets has become an integral part of all our lives, it is important to cut down on screen time and take regular breaks to avoid symptoms such as eye strain, headache, dryness of eyes, and musculoskeletal issues, all of which come under what is referred to as computer vision syndrome or Digital eye strain.

To minimize the symptoms, and to work efficiently, it is important to ensure conscious blinking, regular breaks (20-20-20 rule), good posture, optimum lighting to reduce glare on the monitor, and optimize the work environment to reduce musculoskeletal symptoms. The 20-20-20 rule is a good and efficient pattern to help your eyes from the strain of gazing at screens for a long time. For every 20 minutes spent using a screen, you should try to look away at something that is 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds.

Preserve

Plan for—and get—a regular comprehensive eye examination. A comprehensive eye examination will ensure that your eyecare practitioner obtains a detailed medical history and family history to understand your risk factors, followed by checking your vision, eye power, and eye health by instilling dilating eye drops.

Get involved in World Sight Day by making a commitment to #LoveYourEyes. Pledge to have a sight test or care for your eyes and share on social media to encourage others to make the pledge too. When was the last time you got your eyesight checked? Make sure that EVERYONE COUNTS and pledge to #LoveYourEyes to help us towards our million target!

Prioritize

Ensure that eye examinations are a part of your routine medical examination. Prioritize your eye health and consider “Love your eyes” as a life’s mission and also educate your family, loved ones and community regarding the importance of eyes and vision.

When should you get an eye exam?

  • All of us should get our eyes examined once every two years
  • If you have an existing eye condition and have been advised of regular eye examinations by your eye care practitioner, it is important to keep up with the schedule
  • Do plan for an annual eye check-up if
    • You are aged-40 or above
    • Have a family history of Glaucoma (increased eye pressure or any sight threatening complications)
    • If you have Diabetes or Hypertension
    • History of chronic smoking
    • If you are already wearing spectacles and your eye power is high (High myopia)
    • Some red flags for an emergency eye examination would include (but not limited to) seeing flashes of lights, sudden blurring or loss of vision, redness, eye pain, seeing colored rings around light

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LED Lights: Learn More About the Highlighted Products

National LED Light Day is celebrated on October 7th each year. In celebration of this event ILA has several LED based lights currently on sale. This blog will look a little more in depth for each product. To further learn more about LED lights in general please see our previous blogs How to Optimize Your Light Source: Tips for the Visually Impaired, Do You Know The Difference Between Full Spectrum and “Daylight Bulbs”?, Light Bulbs Explained, LED Lighting, Lighting Makes A Difference: The 3 Primary Types of Light, or The Benefits of LED Lamps.

LED Screw In Bulb, Frosted 3000K

This patent holding LED bulb is designed to produce less flicker and lower damaging blue light than many standard LED bulbs.  With a Kelvin temperature of only 3,000K, these bulbs are in the warm light spectrum and emit a much lower level of blue light than the higher Kelvin “daylight” bulbs, making them safer for your eyes.  This frosted screw in bulb is compatible with 60-watt fixtures and has a 780-lumen output.  A frosted bulb reduces glare from the bulb and will last 25,000 – 100,000 hours, depending on usage. 

Why choose a LED bulb to replace your older bulbs? CNET provides an article outlining 5 interesting facts about LEDs that may make decision making easier. These facts include:

LEDs are cooler. When you’re running fans or an air conditioner on warmer days, having burning-hot incandescent bulbs just makes it harder to manage the heat. LEDs run much cooler than incandescent bulbs and significantly cooler than CFLs.

You get instant full light. You get the full brightness of an LED bulb when you turn it on, which is an advantage over CFLs.

LEDs don’t attract bugs. Pixi Lighting, which makes LEDs, lists “no bugs!” (that is, insects) as one of the reasons to use LEDs. This one is only true for those LED lights which give off no ultraviolet light.

This reason is more form than function, but LEDs come in funny shapes. While lighting manufacturers have tried to make LED bulbs as familiar-looking as possible, with most having a screw-in connector, there is also a wide gambit of available LED bulbs in many sizes, shapes, and colors.

You will need to learn some lighting lingo. We still talk about 60-watt and 75-watt equivalent bulbs because that’s what we’re accustomed to. This chart from Toolbox DIY gives a quick at a glance example of the watts to lumens conversion.

If you’d like to view and/or purchase this item, see LED Frosted Screw in Bulb.

Color Changing Desk Lamp

This sleek looking desk lamp offers three lighting tones ranging from warm light (3,000K) to natural (4,000K) to bright cool light (6,000K). It is useful in a variety of settings and for a variety of tasks. This lamp emits a lumens brightness of 400 which is equivalent to a 40-watt bulb. Its 11” inch long soft rubber goose neck makes it easy to position so you can direct the light wherever you need it most. This desk lamp is great for any desktop, side table, or anywhere you work on things requiring a little extra light.

If you’re unsure how to determine which light color to choose for a specific task, CNET offers the following information for the varying ranges of lighting tones.

Soft white (2,700 to 3,000 Kelvin) is warm and yellow, the typical color range you get from incandescent bulbs. This light gives a warm and cozy feeling and is often best for living rooms, dens and bedrooms.

Warm white (3,000 to 4,000 Kelvin) is more yellowish-white. These bulbs are best suited for kitchens and bathrooms.

Bright white (4,000 to 5,000 Kelvin) is between white and blue tones. With a less cozy and more energetic feel, bulbs with this color range are best for workspaces (such as a home office or garage) and kitchens with chrome fixtures.

Daylight (5,000 to 6,500 Kelvin) has a more bluish tone. This light color will maximize contrast for colors, making it ideal for working, reading, or applying makeup.

If you’d like to view and/or purchase this item, see Color Changing Desk Lamp.

Uno LED Flex Floor Lamp

Illuminate large areas and shine light exactly where you need it with this UnoLamp flexible arm. See every tone and shade as if you were in natural light, thanks to UnoLamp high quality, energy efficient LEDs. Great for tasks such as crafts as well as reading with low vision.

This lamp comes equipped with 28 high performance, energy efficient LED bulbs with 4 brightness settings up to a max of 400 lumens. It uses a 6,000K daylight color bulb and has a slim modern design for a sleek low-profile appearance. Its flexible arm allows for optimal positioning. The floor lamp stands 52” tall.

Why choose this type of lighting? Adjustable lighting usually comes with an arm or flexible head that allows you to direct light where you need it. This adjustable range of motion is key when looking for this type of lighting source. Light that comes over your shoulder is best for reading. If you are right-handed, position the light over your left shoulder. If you are left-handed, place the light over your right shoulder. This eliminates any shadowing from your hand as you hold the book.

To test out the potential glare on a book or project, set a small mirror on your workspace to see if any strong light reflects into your area of vision. If so, rearrange the space so that the light is bouncing away from your eyes. You don’t want your eyes to become injured or fatigued.

Effective adjustable, or task, lighting enhances visual clarity and keeps the eyes from getting tired. This lighting is more localized than other types of lighting, and it can come from a variety of sources. The function of task lighting is to brighten a certain work area, providing just enough contrasting light to enhance your productivity.

If you’d like to view and/or purchase this item, see Uno LED Flex Floor Lamp.

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Low Vision Learners: Tips, Strategies, and Dispelling Myths

Children with low vision and/or blindness can learn and advance alongside their peers when correct modifications are put in place.  This blog will look at suggestions for help with reading print and e-text, ideas to put in place with your child’s teachers, and will review some of the common vision myths and facts that have been passed down for generations. Information used in this blog came from Instructional Strategies for Students with Low Vision, Visual Impairments, and Vision Facts and Myths.

Strategies for Print and E-Text

There are a variety of ways in which students with low vision can access print, and many students will use different strategies in different situations.  For example, out in the community, they may prefer to use spot magnification to check menus or prices, but in school they may prefer to use textbooks in large print.  A CCTV (Close-Circuit Television) or other form of video magnification may be the preferred way to view graphics or a text in school that is not available in large print.  It is often necessary for the student to try different tools in various circumstances to be part of the decision-making process about what works best.

Instructional strategies for paper materials include:

1. Provide regular print

2. Use hand-held magnification with regular text

3. Enlarge Small Amounts of Text, Pictures, Diagrams, Charts on Photocopier

4. Provide Large Print Version of the Text

5. Use Stand-alone Video Magnification

6. Use Video Magnification with Computer Integration

Additional strategies for e-text, include:

1. Change Appearance of Text and/or Background

2. Magnify Text and/or Computer Screen

3. Provide E-text with Tracking Support or Highlighting

4. Provide E-text with Auditory Support

Ideas to Incorporate with Your Child’s Teacher

The information in this section came from an article meant for educators but the advice is sound and will product the most bang for the buck if they are incorporated both at home and at school. Obviously, some things will need to be slightly modified at home unless the child has a one-on-one working with them at home as well.

  1. Speak to the class (or persons in your home) upon entering and leaving the room or site.
  2. Call the student with a visual impairment by name if you want his/her attention.
  3. Work with a student’s intervention specialist for specific educational needs such as change in lighting, classroom seating, and print medium (also known as a teacher of students with visual impairments).
  4. Use descriptive words such as straight, forward, left, etc. in relation to the student’s body orientation. Be specific in directions and avoid the use of vague terms with unusable information, such as “over there”, “here”, “this”, etc.
  5. Describe, in detail, pertinent visual occurrences of the learning activities.
  6. Describe and tactually familiarize the student to the classroom, laboratory, equipment, supplies, materials, field sites, etc.
  7. Give verbal notice of room changes, special meetings, or assignments.
  8. Offer to read written information for a person with a visual impairment, when appropriate.
  9. Order the appropriate textbooks for the students in their preferred medium. Be sure to use the state NIMAS center for help in ordering textbooks. (Or appropriate books to read at home)
  10. Identify yourself by name, don’t assume that the student who is visually impaired will recognize you by your voice even though you have met before. Be sure to identify others in the room as well. (For use at the home this would include other family members, friends, and/or guests either that drop by in person or via phone)
  11. If you are asked to guide a student with a visual impairment, identify yourself, offer your services and, if accepted, offer your arm to the student’s hand. Tell them if they have to step up or step down, let them know if the door is to their left or right, and warn them of possible hazards.
  12. Orally, let the student know if you need to move or leave or need to end a conversation.
  13. If a student with a visual impairment is in class, routinely check the instructional environment to be sure it is adequate and ready for use.
  14. Do not pet or touch a guide dog. Guide dogs are working animals. It can be hazardous for the visually impaired person if the dog is distracted.
  15. Use an auditory or tactile signal where a visual signal is normally used.
  16. It is not necessary to speak loudly to people with visual impairments.

Vision Myths and Facts

This section will review old wives’ tales abound about the eyes. From watching TV to eating carrots, here’s the lowdown on some vision facts and fiction.

Myth: Sitting too close to the TV is bad for the eyes.

Fact: Although parents have been saying this ever since TVs first found their way into our homes, there’s no evidence that plunking down right in front of the TV set damages someone’s eyes. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) says that kids can actually focus up close without eyestrain better than adults, so they often develop the habit of sitting right in front of the television or holding reading material close to their eyes. However, sitting close to a TV may be a sign of nearsightedness.

Myth: If you cross your eyes, they’ll stay that way.

Fact: Contrary to the old saying, eyes will not stay that way if you cross them. If your child is crossing one eye constantly, schedule an evaluation by an ophthalmologist.

Myth: If parents have poor eyesight, their kids will inherit that trait.

Fact: Unfortunately, this one is sometimes true. If you need glasses for good vision or have developed an eye condition (such as cataracts), your kids might inherit that same trait. Discuss your family’s visual history with your doctor.

Myth: Eating carrots can improve vision.

Fact: Although it’s true that carrots are rich in vitamin A, which is essential for sight, so are many other foods (asparagus, apricots, nectarines, and milk, for example). A well-balanced diet can provide the vitamin A needed for good vision, says the AAO.

Myth: Computer use can damage the eyes.

Fact: According to the AAO, computer use won’t harm the eyes. However, when using a computer for long periods of time, the eyes blink less than normal (like they do when reading or performing other close work). This makes the eyes dry, which may lead to a feeling of eyestrain or fatigue. So encourage your kids to take frequent breaks from Internet surfing or video games.

Myth: Only boys can be color-blind.

Fact: It’s estimated that up to 8% of boys have some degree of color blindness, whereas less than 1% of girls do.

Myth: The eye is full size at birth.

Fact: The eye is NOT full size at birth but continues to grow with your child. This growth partially accounts for refractive (glasses) changes that occur during childhood.

Myth: Wearing glasses too much will make the eyes “dependent” on them.

Fact: Refractive errors (near-sightedness, far-sightedness, or astigmatism) change as kids get older. Many variables come into play, but most of this change is likely due to genetics and continues despite wearing glasses earlier or later or more or less. Wearing glasses does not make the eyes get worse.

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Fall Prevention Week is September 20 – 24, 2021

Fall Awareness Week corresponds to the beginning of fall (autumn) each year and is sponsored by the National Council on Aging (NCOA). It seems like common sense — everybody falls, no matter what age. However, for many older adults, an unexpected fall can result in a serious and costly injury. The good news is that most falls can be prevented. Information in this blog comes directly from the NCOA downloadable guides to falling entitled 6 Falls Prevention Steps to Help Your Older Loved Ones and Debunking the Myths of Older Adult Falls.

Where to Look for Common Factors that Lead to Falls

Did you know that one in four older Americans falls every year? Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for people aged 65+. Falls can result in hip fractures, broken bones, and head injuries. And even falls without a major injury can cause an older adult to become fearful or depressed, making it difficult for them to stay active. If you have an aging parent, grandparent, or neighbor in your life, helping them reduce their risk of falling is a great way to help them stay healthy and independent for as long as possible. The good news about falls is that most of them can be prevented. The key is to know where to look. Here are some common factors that can lead to a fall:

Balance and gait: As we age, most of us lose some coordination, flexibility, and balance— primarily through inactivity, making it easier to fall.

Vision: In the aging eye, less light reaches the retina—making contrasting edges, tripping hazards, and obstacles harder to see.

Medications: Some prescriptions and over-the-counter medications can cause dizziness, dehydration, or interactions with each other that can lead to a fall.

Environment: Most seniors have lived in their homes for a long time and have never thought about simple modifications that might keep it safer as they age.

Chronic conditions: More than 80% of older adults have at least one chronic condition like diabetes, stroke, or arthritis. Often, these increase the risk of falling because they result in lost function, inactivity, depression, pain, or multiple medications.

6 Steps to Reducing the Risk of Falls

Here are six steps you can take today to help your older loved one reduce their risk of a fall:

1. Enlist their support in taking simple steps to stay safe. Ask your older loved one if they’re concerned about falling. Many older adults recognize that falling is a risk, but they believe it won’t happen to them or they won’t get hurt—even if they’ve already fallen in the past. A good place to start is by sharing NCOA’s Debunking the Myths of Older Adult Falls (see next section). If they’re concerned about falling, dizziness, or balance, suggest that they discuss it with their health care provider who can assess their risk and suggest programs or services that could help.

2. Discuss their current health conditions. Find out if your older loved one is experiencing any problems with managing their own health. Are they having trouble remembering to take their medications —or are they experiencing side effects? Is it getting more difficult for them to do things they used to do easily? Also make sure they’re taking advantage of all the preventive benefits now offered under Medicare, such as the Annual Wellness visit. Encourage them to speak openly with their health care provider about all of their concerns.

3. Ask about their last eye checkup. If your older loved one wears glasses, make sure they have a current prescription and they’re using the glasses as advised by their eye doctor. Remember that using tint-changing lenses can be hazardous when going from bright sun into darkened buildings and homes. A simple strategy is to change glasses upon entry or stop until their lenses adjust. Bifocals also can be problematic on stairs, so it’s important to be cautious. For those already struggling with low vision, consult with a low-vision specialist for ways to make the most of their eyesight.

4. Notice if they’re holding onto walls, furniture, or someone else when walking or if they appear to have difficulty walking or arising from a chair. These are all signs that it might be time to see a physical therapist. A trained physical therapist can help your older loved one improve their balance, strength, and gait through exercise. They might also suggest a cane or walker—and provide guidance on how to use these aids. Make sure to follow their advice. Poorly fit aids actually can increase the risk of falling.

5. Talk about their medications. If your older loved one is having a hard time keeping track of medicines or is experiencing side effects, encourage them to discuss their concerns with their doctor and pharmacist. Suggest that they have their medications reviewed each time they get a new prescription.  Perhaps a spreadsheet can help keep track of medications and schedules, or adding a timed medication dispenser that notifies you or your loved one of refills will promote their peace of mind and allow for an adherence to a prescribed regime. Also, beware of non-prescription medications that contain sleep aids—including painkillers with “PM” in their names. These can lead to balance issues and dizziness. If your older loved one is having sleeping problems, encourage them to talk to their doctor or pharmacist about safer alternatives.

6. Do a walk-through safety assessment of their home. There are many simple and inexpensive ways to make a home safer. For professional assistance, consult an Occupational Therapist. Here are some examples:

Lighting: Increase lighting throughout the house, especially at the top and bottom of stairs. Ensure that lighting is readily available when getting up in the middle of the night.

Stairs: Make sure there are two secure rails on all stairs.

Bathrooms: Install grab bars in the tub/shower and near the toilet. Make sure they’re installed where your older loved one would actually use them. For even greater safety, consider using a shower chair and hand-held shower.

Debunking the Myths of Older Adult Falls

Many people think falls are a normal part of aging. The truth is, they’re not. Most falls can be prevented—and you have the power to reduce your risk. Exercising, managing your medications, having your vision checked, and making your living environment safer are all steps you can take to prevent a fall. To promote greater awareness and understanding here are 10 common myths—and the reality—about older adult falls.

Myth 1: Falling happens to other people, not to me.

Reality: Many people think, “It won’t happen to me.” But the truth is that 1 in 4 older adults fall every year in the U.S.

Myth 2: Falling is something normal that happens as you get older.

Reality: Falling is not a normal part of aging. Strength and balance exercises, managing your medications, having your vision checked and making your living environment safer are all steps you can take to prevent a fall.

Myth 3: If I limit my activity, I won’t fall.

Reality: Some people believe that the best way to prevent falls is to stay at home and limit activity. Not true. Performing physical activities will actually help you stay independent, as your strength and range of motion benefit from remaining active. Social activities are also good for your overall health.

Myth 4: As long as I stay at home, I can avoid falling.

Reality: Over half of all falls take place at home. Inspect your home for fall risks. Fix simple but serious hazards such as clutter, throw rugs, and poor lighting. Make simple home modifications, such as adding grab bars in the bathroom, a second handrail on stairs, and non-slip paint on outdoor steps.

Myth 5: Muscle strength and flexibility can’t be regained.

Reality: While we do lose muscle as we age, exercise can partially restore strength and flexibility. It’s never too late to start an exercise program. Even if you’ve been a “couch potato” your whole life, becoming active now will benefit you in many ways—including protection from falls.

Myth 6: Taking medication doesn’t increase my risk of falling.

Reality: Taking any medication may increase your risk of falling. Medications affect people in many different ways and can sometimes make you dizzy or sleepy. Be careful when starting a new medication. Talk to your health care provider about potential side effects or interactions of your medications.

Myth 7: I don’t need to get my vision checked every year.

Reality: Vision is another key risk factor for falls. Aging is associated with some forms of vision loss that increase risk of falling and injury. People with vision problems are more than twice as likely to fall as those without visual impairment. Have your eyes checked at least once a year and update your eyeglasses. For those with low vision there are programs and assistive devices that can help. Ask your optometrist for a referral.

Myth 8: Using a walker or cane will make me more dependent.

Reality: Walking aids are very important in helping many older adults maintain or improve their mobility. However, make sure you use these devices safely. Have a physical therapist fit the walker or cane to you and instruct you in its safe use.

Myth 9: I don’t need to talk to family members or my health care provider if I’m concerned about my risk of falling. I don’t want to alarm them, and I want to keep my independence.

Reality: Fall prevention is a team effort. Bring it up with your doctor, family, and anyone else who is in a position to help. They want to help you maintain your mobility and reduce your risk of falling.

Myth 10: I don’t need to talk to my parent, spouse, or other older adult if I’m concerned about their risk of falling. It will hurt their feelings, and it’s none of my business.

Reality: Let them know about your concerns and offer support to help them maintain the highest degree of independence possible. There are many things you can do, including removing hazards in the home, finding a fall prevention program in the community, or setting up a vision exam.

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September is Healthy Aging Month

September is Healthy Aging Month which is an annual health observance designed to focus national attention on the positive aspects of growing older. Now in its second decade, this program provides inspiration and practical ideas for adults, ages 45-plus, to improve their physical, mental, social and financial well-being. This blog focuses on healthy aging utilizing information obtained from September Is Healthy Aging® Month and Healthy Aging.

Why Healthy Aging Month?

Carolyn Worthington, editor-in-chief of Healthy Aging® Magazine and executive director of Healthy Aging®, is the creator of September is Healthy Aging® Month.  According to Worthington, “We saw a need to draw attention to the myths of aging, to shout out ‘Hey, it’s not too late to take control of your health, it’s never too late to get started on something new.’ Why not think about the positive aspects of aging instead of the stereotypes and the negative aspects?”

September is a perfect time to celebrate Healthy Aging Month since it is time when many people think about getting started on new tasks after the summer. Drawing on the “back to school” urge embedded in everyone from childhood, the observance month’s activities are designed to encourage people to rejuvenate and get going on positive measures that can impact the areas of physical, social, financial and mental wellness.

September is Healthy Aging® Month was first introduced when the baby boomers were about to turn 50.  “We recognized early on that careful attention to the combination of physical, social, mental and financial fitness was powerful in the pursuit of a positive lifestyle and have built our Healthy Aging® programs around that concept.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle from MedlinePlus

People in the U.S. are living longer, and the number of older adults in the population is growing. As we age, our minds and bodies change. Having a healthy lifestyle can help you deal with those changes. It may also prevent some health problems and help you to make the most of your life.

A healthy lifestyle for older adults includes

  • Healthy eating. As you age, your dietary needs may change. You may need fewer calories, but you still need to get enough nutrients. A healthy eating plan includes
    • Eating foods that give you lots of nutrients without a lot of extra calories. This includes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy, nuts, and seeds.
    • Avoiding empty calories, such as foods like chips, candy, baked goods, soda, and alcohol
    • Eating foods that are low in cholesterol and fat
    • Drinking enough liquids, so you don’t get dehydrated
  • Regular physical activity. Being physically active may help you maintain a healthy weight and avoid chronic health problems. If you have not been active, you can start slowly and work up to your goal. How much exercise you need depends on your age and health. Check with your health care provider on what is right for you.
  • Staying at a healthy weight. Being either overweight or underweight can lead to health problems. Ask your health care professional what a healthy weight for you may be. Healthy eating and exercise can help you get to that weight.
  • Keeping your mind active. Lots of activities can keep your mind active and improve your memory, including learning new skills, reading, and playing games.
  • Making your mental health a priority. Work on improving your mental health, for example by practicing mediation, relaxation techniques, or gratitude. Know the warning signs of a problem and ask for help if you are struggling.
  • Participating in activities that you enjoy. People who are involved in hobbies and social and leisure activities may be at lower risk for some health problems. Doing things that you enjoy may help you feel happier and improve your thinking abilities.
  • Playing an active role in your health care. Make sure that you get regular checkups and the health screenings that you need. You should know which medicines you are taking, why you need them, and how to take them properly.
  • Not smoking. If you are a smoker, quitting is one of the most important things that you can do for your health. It can lower your risk of several different types of cancer, certain lung diseases, and heart disease.
  • Taking steps to prevent falls. Older adults have a higher risk of falling. They are also more likely to fracture (break) a bone when they fall. Getting regular eye checkups, getting regular physical activity, and making your house safer can lower your risk of falling.

Following these tips can help you to stay healthy as you age. Even if you have never done them before, it’s never too late to start taking care of your health. If you have questions about these lifestyle changes or need help figuring out how to make them, ask your health care provider.

10 Tips for Reinventing Yourself from Healthy Aging® Magazine

  1. Do not act your age or at least what you think your cur­rent age should act like. What was your best year so far? 28? 40? Now? Pic­ture your­self at that age and be it. Some peo­ple may say this is denial, but we say it’s pos­i­tive think­ing and goes a long way toward feel­ing bet­ter about your­self. (Tip:  Don’t keep look­ing in the mir­ror, just FEEL IT!)
  2. Be pos­i­tive in your con­ver­sa­tions and your actions every day. When you catch your­self com­plain­ing, check your­self right there and change the con­ver­sa­tion to some­thing pos­i­tive. (Tip: Stop watch­ing the police reports on the local news).
  3. Have neg­a­tive friends who com­plain all of the time and con­stantly talk about how awful every­thing is? Drop them. As cruel as that may sound, dis­tance your­self from peo­ple who do not have a pos­i­tive out­look on life. They will only depress you and stop you from mov­ing for­ward. Sur­round your­self with ener­getic, happy, pos­i­tive peo­ple of all ages and you will be hap­pier too. (Tip: Smile often. It’s con­ta­gious and wards off naysayers.)
  4. Walk like a vibrant, healthy per­son. Come on. You can prob­a­bly do it. Ana­lyze your gait. Do you walk slowly because you have just become lazy or, per­haps, have a fear of falling? (Tip: Make a con­scious effort to take big strides, walk with your heel first, and wear com­fort­able shoes.)
  5. Stand up straight! You can knock off the appear­ance of a few extra years with this trick your mother kept try­ing to tell you. Look at your­self in the mir­ror. Are you hold­ing your stom­ach in, have your shoul­ders back, chin up? Check out how much bet­ter your neck looks! Fix your stance and prac­tice it every day, all day until it is nat­ural. You will look great and feel bet­ter. (Tip: Your waist­line will look trim­mer if you fol­low this advice.)
  6. How’s your smile? Research shows peo­ple who smile more often are hap­pier. Your teeth are just as impor­tant to your good health as the rest of your body. Not only is it the first thing peo­ple notice, but good oral health is a gate­way to your over­all well-being. (Tip: Go to the den­tist reg­u­larly and look into teeth whiten­ing. Noth­ing says old more than yel­low­ing teeth!)
  7. Lonely? Stop brood­ing and com­plain­ing about hav­ing no friends or fam­ily. Do some­thing about it now. Right this minute. Pick up the phone, land­line, or cell and make a call to do one or more of the fol­low­ing: Vol­un­teer your time, Take a class, Invite some­one to meet for lunch, brunch, din­ner, or cof­fee. (Tip: Vol­un­teer at the local pub­lic school to stay in touch with younger peo­ple and to keep cur­rent on trends, take a com­puter class or a tuto­r­ial ses­sion at your cell phone store to keep up with tech­nol­ogy, choose a new per­son every week for your din­ing out.)
  8. Start walk­ing not only for your health but to see the neigh­bors. Have a dog? You’ll be amazed how the dog can be a con­ver­sa­tion starter. (Tip: If you don’t have time for a dog, go to your local ani­mal shel­ter and vol­un­teer. You will be thrilled by the puppy love!)
  9. Make this month the time to set up your annual phys­i­cal and other health screen­ings. Go to the appoint­ments and then, hope­fully, you can stop wor­ry­ing about ail­ments for a while.
  10. Find your inner artist. Who says tak­ing music lessons is for young school chil­dren? You may have an artist lurk­ing inside you just wait­ing to be tapped.  Have you always wanted to play the piano, vio­lin, or tuba? Have you ever won­dered if you could paint a por­trait or scenic in oil? What about work­ing in wood? (Tip: Sign up now for fall art or music classes and dis­cover your inner artist!)

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History of Labor Day

According to the Department of Labor, observed the first Monday in September, Labor Day is an annual celebration of the social and economic achievements of American workers. The holiday is rooted in the late nineteenth century, when labor activists pushed for a federal holiday to recognize the many contributions workers have made to America’s strength, prosperity, and well-being. This blog is all about Labor Day with information coming from History of Labor Day, Labor Daze – Pride, Chaos and Kegs on Labor’s First ‘Day’, and Labor Day 2021.

Why Do We Celebrate Labor Day?

In the late 1800s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution in the United States, the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks in order to eke out a basic living. Despite restrictions in some states, children as young as 5 or 6 toiled in mills, factories and mines across the country, earning a fraction of their adult counterparts’ wages.

People of all ages, particularly the very poor and recent immigrants, often faced extremely unsafe working conditions, with insufficient access to fresh air, sanitary facilities and breaks.

Labor Unions, which began in the 18th century, soon became more prominent and vocal.  They began organizing strikes and rallies to protest poor conditions and compel employers to renegotiate hours and pay. Many of these events turned violent during this period, including the infamous Haymarket Riot of 1886, in which several Chicago policemen and workers were killed.

 On May 11, 1894, employees of the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago went on strike to protest wage cuts and the firing of union representatives. On June 26, the American Railroad Union, led by Eugene V. Debs, called for a boycott of all Pullman railway cars, crippling railroad traffic nationwide. To break the Pullman strike, the federal government dispatched troops to Chicago, unleashing a wave of riots that resulted in the deaths of more than a dozen workers. This massive unrest led to gradual changes in labor laws and the ultimate creation of Labor Day.

Before it was a federal holiday, Labor Day was recognized by labor activists and individual states. After municipal ordinances were passed in 1885 and 1886, a movement developed to secure state legislation. New York was the first state to introduce a bill, but Oregon was the first to pass a law recognizing Labor Day, on February 21, 1887. During 1887, four more states – Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York – passed laws creating a Labor Day holiday. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 more states had adopted the holiday which eventually led it to it becoming a national holiday when President Grover Cleveland signed it into law on June 28, 1894.

The First Labor Day Parade

On September 5, 1882, thousands of workers took unpaid time off to march from City Hall to Union Square in New York City, holding the first Labor Day parade in U.S. history. Just after 10 a.m., marching jewelers turned onto lower Broadway — they were playing “When I First Put This Uniform On,” from Patience, an opera by Gilbert and Sullivan. A police escort then took its place in the street. Spectators then began to join the march. Eventually, there were 700 men in line in the first of three divisions of Labor Day marchers. Final reports of the total number of marchers ranged from 10,000 to 20,000 men and women.

With all of the pieces in place, the parade marched through lower Manhattan. The New York Tribune reported that: “The windows and roofs and even the lamp posts and awning frames were occupied by persons anxious to get a good view of the first parade in New York of workingmen of all trades united in one organization.”

At noon, the marchers arrived at Reservoir Park, the termination point of the parade. While some returned to work, most continued on to the post-parade party at Wendel’s Elm Park at 92nd Street and Ninth Avenue; even some unions that had not participated in the parade showed up to join in the post-parade festivities that included speeches, a picnic, an abundance of cigars, and “Lager beer kegs… mounted in every conceivable place.”

From 1 p.m. until 9 p.m. that night, nearly 25,000 union members and their families filled the park and celebrated the very first, and almost entirely disastrous, Labor Day.

Nationwide Holiday Traditions

Many Americans celebrate Labor Day with parades, picnics and parties – festivities very similar to those outlined by the first proposal for a holiday, which suggested that the day should be observed with – a street parade to exhibit “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day.

Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

American labor has raised the nation’s standard of living and contributed to the greatest production the world has ever known and the labor movement has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pays tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership – the American worker.

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Back to School Information for Students with Vision and/or Hearing Impairments

Going back to school during a normal year can be nerve inducing by itself but throw in the current unknowns with the Coronavirus and it becomes a whole new level of anxiety. There are other things that are a given though from school year to school year. This blog will look at tips and trips for students with vision and/or hearing impairments returning to school, advice on how to write better IEPs, and Covid-19 information for persons with vision and/or hearing loss.

Back to School Tips for Blind and Low Vision Students

The information provided in this section came from the article 9 Best Back to School Tips for Blind and Low Vision Students.

  1. Starting fresh- If you are moving to a new school district, or this is your child’s first year in school, take your child’s eye report to the administration office and ask to speak with the special education director. If they don’t know, they can’t help. The special education director will help notify your child’s school, specifically your child’s teacher, of his or her needs prior to the start of the school year. 
  2. Go to Back-to-School Night – Back-to-School night, Meet the Teacher, or any type of open house their school hosts before the school year begins, is a great opportunity for your kiddo to explore their school at their own pace. It’s also a great way to chat with their teacher about any specific tips to help your child have their best school year, like not having a seat near a window or having additional lighting depending on their vision needs.
  3. Glue sticks – Purchase glue sticks that are purple instead of clear or white.  This helps your son/daughter see where they are applying glue.
  4. Markers – Consider markers that have a smell so they have an additional sensory factor in play so they know what color it is if they can’t see it, or so they don’t have to hold it as close to their eye.
  5. Scissors and pencil boxes – When it comes to anything your child can choose their own color of, be sure to choose a bright color you know your child sees easily.
  6. Folders for older students – As your son/daughter gets into middle school, organization will become more and more important. Consider a brightly colored and easily identifiable folder for each subject they are taking. Making sure each class has a different color folder will help them organize their papers/homework.
  7. All in one keeper (trapper keepers) - If your school asks for an all-in-one keeper for middle school students, consider finding one that is easy to find in a crowd.  All black ones might not stand out and get lost.
  8. Lockers – Prior to school, they will assign lockers to students. Lockers in the middle of a long hallway may be hard to locate. Prior to school starting call the school building and talk to your school’s administration. Let them know about your child’s vision impairment and ask if your son/daughter can have a locker on the end. 

Back to School Tips for Deaf and Hearing Loss Students

The tips provided in this section came from the article Tips for going Back to School with a Hearing Loss.

  1. Meet with teachers and tour the school before starting. This is a great way to get to know the environment which your child will be learning in. It’s also good to meet with the teachers to discuss what’s best for your child and how they can help. It’s a good idea to share some deaf awareness tips.
  2. Make sure they get the right support for their level of hearing loss. Children with a severe-profound hearing loss can be entitled to support in class, such as a note taker, interpreter, or classroom assistant. This can be discussed with school prior to a new school year. Without support, deaf children can struggle in classroom situations, and it can impact their grades and they might not achieve their full potential. They might also be entitled to regular support from a Teacher of the Deaf, this will vary on the Education System.
  3. Invest in equipment to improve their learning. Phonak has some great technology, such as the Roger Inspiro for younger children and the Roger Pen for older children. These microphones amplify the teacher’s voice over background noise, which will help them lipread or understand better. One tip specifically for going back-to-school: If you do use this equipment, always make sure it is charged up the night before class!
  4. Encourage them to join clubs/societies. This is a great way of helping the student make new friends, by joining a club or group where they share similar interests. Commitment to this kind of activity also looks great on your CV/ resume for the future.
  5. Store spare batteries! It’s a good idea to always keep spare hearing aid batteries in your bag, locker and with your support worker!
  6. Balance schoolwork with social life. As well as working really hard, it is also important to take time out to relax, socialize and enjoy other hobbies.
  7. Deaf children can achieve, let them try new subjects! Don’t doubt deaf children’s abilities, they can do anything they set out to achieve with the right resources!

Strategies to Creating the Individual Education Plan (IEP)

These strategies, including further resources, come the article 7 Powerful IEP Strategies.

Strategy 1: First, know your rights! Take the time to investigate Federal legislation pertaining to special education supports, as well as the adopted regulations within your individual state. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the civil rights section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 are all critical pieces of legislation for you to understand – and there are many more.

Strategy 2: Next, always remember that YOU are the expert on your child! Professionals often have important information to share, but they will come and go through out your child’s life. YOU are there for the “long haul” and have critical knowledge about your child’s areas of strengths and needs that the professionals will never observe. Listen to the opinions of others but be sure to make your opinion heard as well.

Strategy 3: Stop professionals from using their “Alphabet Soup” jargon. Every profession has its own “language” and set of acronyms. It is perfectly fine for professionals to speak to each other during their own meetings using such verbal shorthand, however this is YOUR meeting – staff need to speak in full words and define any terminology that you do not understand.

Strategy 4: Take the time to write out your own Present Levels of Performance (otherwise known in the schools as the PLOP, one of the more humorous acronyms at the table) and share this information with your IEP team. Allowing the team to read how you view your child is very helpful and often brings out strengths or areas of need not yet identified.

Strategy 5: Bring a “significant other”, fellow parent, friend, or anyone you consider a support person with you to the meeting. It can be a time of high emotion and having someone there with you can help reduce your anxiety, as well as help you later recall conversations from the meeting – sometimes it’s hard to remember and to listen when topics are so emotional.

Strategy 6: If you are fairly confident the meeting may be a bit tense, consider bringing to the meeting an adult who has the same or a similar disability as your child. Even if that person never speaks, it is difficult to dismiss critical areas of need when a true “expert” on the topic is sitting at the table!

Strategy 7: Ask for all written information that will be presented at the meeting to be given to you ahead of time and with appropriate time to allow for your review. This includes any assessments as well as any goals or objectives that school staff may have written in advance. It is too difficult to review such information under the emotional pressure of sitting in the meeting. You need time to read, process, and make any written changes you would like to discuss well before walking into the IEP meeting.

Covid-19 Information

The National Federation of the Blind offers a Covid-19 resources page which  is closely monitoring the COVID-19 emergency, which is changing everyone’s lives but has unique effects on blind people. From this page you will find links to General News and Information, Access to COVID-19 Vaccine and Testing Survey, Medical and Healthcare Services, Government Payments and Benefits, Education, Transportation, Affiliate Connection for State and Local Resources, Breaking News from the NFB, Jernigan Institute, and Ongoing Efforts.

The National Deaf Center is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic with customized resources, tips, and events for deaf youth and the educators, disability services professionals, VR counselors, parents and others who support them. Their page, which is a little outdated at the time of this posting, provides information on Updates and Events, COVID-19 Resources for Teachers and Instructors of Deaf Students, COVID-19 Resources for Disability Services Professionals, VR Counselors, and Employers, COVID-19 Tips for Deaf Students and Their Families, Remote Services for Deaf Students and Employees, Other Helpful Resources, Free Online Professional Development, In the News, and Past Updates and Events.

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Reinecker’s Mano CCTVs: An Overview of the ManoTouch 4, 5, & 6.

ILA is proud to offer Reinecker Mano Portable Electronic Magnification devices to our customers. Reinecker’s Mano CCTVs are a great way to have portability and quality in an electronic magnifier. For the past 50 years, Reinecker has specialized in the development, production, and distribution of Assistive Technology/Low Vision Aids for people with special needs in vision and blind persons. This blog will look at what Portable CCTVs/Video Magnifiers are and go into more detail the benefits available for each of the ManoTouch 4, ManoTouch 5, and ManoTouch 6.

Portable CCTVs/Video Magnifiers

An electronic magnification device (often known as a CCTV) is a great device for a person who requires a high level of magnification.  An electronic magnifier, or a video magnifier, displays that magnification on a digital screen, freeing the user from small, physical magnifying lenses.  Portable electronic magnifiers can range from a 3.5″ screen up to something as large as a 12″ screen. Handheld cameras/magnifiers are designed for bringing the camera to the material to be viewed. They can magnify almost anything within reach, including labels on packages of food and medicine. There are lots of sizes, styles, and functions in an electronic magnifier, so be sure to find something that works best for your needs.

ManoTouch 4

MANOtouch 4 demonstrates the next generation of electronic magnifiers. By combining function with operating comfort and design, the MANOtouch is user friendly and contemporary. It has been developed and manufactured with the highest of German quality standards.

With its high-resolution HD camera and auto focus capabilities, the displayed text and pictures are enhanced and crystal clear. The system operates with virtual buttons on the contrast enhanced touch display and can be organized in a clearly, customized manner including tactile feedback if desired.

The MANOtouch offers a variety of functions for individual needs, e.g., distance viewing mode, HDMI-port for the connection of an external monitor (e.g., TV), and a large image memory.

Innovative camera technology

Highest image quality – contrast enhanced, flicker free, in high resolution, Full HD+ quality:

  • LVHD-technology (Low-Vision-High-Definition): Optimal image processing always ensures a high-quality picture with minimized blurring of characters even when reading at speed.
  • NELE-technology (Natural-Evolutionary-Light-Experience): 
    Minimizes reflections of high gloss text and pictures.
  • TPZ-technology (distortion correction): The image will always be displayed with no distortions, even in inclined position of the electronic magnifier.

Your benefits at a glance:

  • clearly arranged touch display (approx. 3.5″ diagonal)
  • continuous magnification ranges from approx. 1x – 20x
  • approx. 2.3x – 23x, due to modern camera technology
  • intuitive operation via virtual, customizable buttons with optional tactile feedback
  • multifunctional protective cover that serves as comfortable reading/writing stand
  • distance view mode, time display, HDMI-port, Auto ON/OFF

If you are interested in purchasing this model, please click on ManoTouch 4.

ManoTouch 5

Reinecker’s MANOtouch 5 portable CCTV offers innovative touchscreen technology.   All operating controls are managed through a simple and intuitive touch screen display, with all of the controls highly customizable according to a user’s specific needs. Magnification ranges from 1X to 33X on the 5” touchscreen, or from 2.8X – 28X while in the writing stand mode. Innovative camera technology offers LVHD (Low Vision High Definition) technology to produce optimal image processing with flicker-free viewing. It also minimizes reflections from high gloss papers and removes all image distortions.

Other Features

  • HDMI port for export to an external screen
  • Multiple color modes
  • Distance viewing mode
  • Freeze frame, up to 100 snapshots
  • Autofocus, with on/off
  • Multifunction protective cover also serves as a writing stand
  • 2.5-hour battery life, on a 4-hour charge
  • 9.5-ounce weight

If you are interested in purchasing this model, please click on ManoTouch 5.

ManoTouch 6

MANO 6 is equipped with a high-resolution touch display as well as with four tactile buttons for easy and comfortable operation. In addition, magnification level can be adjusted, and the image can be scrolled by zoom gestures with your fingers. By means of the tactile buttons at the right and the left-hand side of the display, different contrast modes, magnification levels and pictures can be adjusted and taken.

With a height of only 9cm MANO 6 sits well in your hand. Due to the widescreen format, the reading flow is not interrupted because even at a high magnification level you can view several letters at the same time.

MANO 6 turns ON automatically when you fold out the stand. You can now place the magnifier on top of your reading template and start reading in an ergonomic reading angle. Alternatively, you can also use the handle to have closer looks at items such as price tags while shopping.

Your benefits at a glance­:

  • intuitive operation with only four buttons and touch display (diagonal of approx. 14cm)
  • magnification adjustment either via tactile buttons or by zoom gestures on the touch display
  • continuous magnification of approx. 2x – 35x
  • equipped with an infinitely variable fold out handle which can be used as stand
  • images can be saved in picture gallery and transferred to a micro-SD-card
  • artificial colors, line ruler, line masking, auto ON/OFF, button beep, etc. 

If you are interested in purchasing this model, please click on ManoTouch 6.

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August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month

Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month is a timely reminder to prepare our children for the classroom and athletics. A good rule of thumb is to have your children’s eyes examined during well-child visits, beginning around age three. This blog will cover Vision Screenings vs Eye Exams, Blue Light and Your Eyes, and resources for Financial Assistance. Information in each section was found on the Prevent Blindness Website with direct links to specific articles linked in each heading.

Vision Screenings vs Eye Exams

Both vision screenings and eye examinations may play an important role in your child’s vision and eye health, so it’s important to understand their distinctions.

An eye exam is performed by an eye doctor (ophthalmologist or optometrist). An exam diagnoses eye disorders and diseases and prescribes treatment. A comprehensive eye examination is generally understood to include an evaluation of the refractive state, dilated fundus examination, visual acuity, ocular alignment, binocularity, and color vision testing where appropriate.

A vision screening is not a diagnostic process and does not replace a comprehensive examination by an eye doctor. The purpose of a vision screening is to identify vision problems in a treatable stage, provide education, and provide a referral to an eye care provider for a comprehensive eye exam (if needed). These screenings should be routinely done by your child’s medical doctor (and may also be conducted in your child’s preschool, school, or other community settings).

Children Who Should Bypass Screening*

Vision screening identifies asymptomatic children with possible vision deficits who, then, require a comprehensive eye examination for diagnosis and treatment. Certain children should bypass vision screening and, instead, be referred directly to an optometrist or ophthalmologist for a comprehensive eye examination because these children have a higher rate of vision problems.

Children who should bypass vision screening include those with:

· Readily recognized eye abnormalities, such as strabismus (cross eyed) or ptosis (drooping of the eyelid).

 · A known diagnosis of a neurodevelopmental disorder (e.g., hearing impairment, motor abnormalities such as cerebral palsy, cognitive impairment, autism spectrum disorders, or speech delay).

 · Systemic diseases known to have associated eye disorders (e.g., diabetes and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis).

· A known family history of a first-degree relative with strabismus (cross-eyed), amblyopia (lazy eye), or high refractive error.

· A history of premature birth and low birthweight (<31 weeks and 1,500 grams/3.3 pounds birthweight) who has not already had a normal comprehensive eye examination.

· Parents (or caregivers) who believe their child has a vision-related problem or have concerns regarding their child’s reaching age-appropriate developmental or academic milestones.

* Note, where specific state protocols exist, screeners should follow those guidelines for screening children as part of the Individualized Education Program process.

Blue Light and Your Eyes

Sunlight is made up of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet light. When combined, it becomes the white light we see. Each of these has a different energy and wavelength. Rays on the red end have longer wavelengths and less energy. On the other end, blue rays have shorter wavelengths and more energy. Light that looks white can have a large blue component, which can expose the eye to a higher amount of wavelength from the blue end of the spectrum.

The largest source of blue light is sunlight. In addition, there are many other sources:

•          Fluorescent light

•          CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs

•          LED light

•          Flat screen LED televisions

•          Computer monitors, smart phones, and tablet screens

Blue light exposure you receive from screens is small compared to the amount of exposure from the sun. And yet, there is concern over the long-term effects of screen exposure because of the close proximity of the screens and the length of time spent looking at them. According to a recent NEI-funded study, children’s eyes absorb more blue light than adults from digital device screens.

Blue light is needed, however, for good health:

•          It boosts alertness, helps memory and cognitive function, and elevates mood.

•          It regulates circadian rhythm – the body’s natural wake and sleep cycle. Exposure to blue light during daytime hours helps maintain a healthful circadian rhythm. Too much exposure to blue light late at night (through smart phones, tablets, and computers) can disturb the wake and sleep cycle, leading to problems sleeping and daytime tiredness.

•             Not enough exposure to sunlight in children could affect the growth and development of their eyes and vision. Early studies show a deficiency in blue light exposure could contribute to the recent increase in myopia/nearsightedness.

If constant exposure to blue light from smart phones, tablets, and computer screens is an issue, there are a few ways to decrease exposure to blue light:

Filters: Screen filters are available for smart phones, tablets, and computer screens. They decrease the amount of blue light given off from these devices that could reach the retina in our eyes.

Computer glasses: Computer glasses with yellow tinted lenses that block blue light can help ease computer digital eye strain by increasing contrast.

Anti-reflective lenses: Anti-reflective lenses reduce glare and increase contrast and also block blue light from the sun and digital devices.

Financial Assistance

There are many available resources for obtaining financial assistance when it comes to eye exams and procedures. The following are just a few examples that offer such assistance to persons under the age of 18. These resources are in addition to the most known options of Medicaid and Medicare.

The HealthWell Foundation: The HealthWell Foundation provides financial assistance to eligible individuals to cover co-insurance, copayments, healthcare premiums and deductibles for certain treatments. Phone: (800) 675-8416 Fax: (800) 282-7692 www.healthwellfoundation.org

The Hill Burton Program: Participating hospitals and other healthcare facilities provide medical care for free, or at reduced cost, to those who meet eligibility requirements based on family size and income. Procedures covered vary from hospital to hospital. A list of assisting sites available in your state is located online. Phone: (800) 492-0359 (Maryland residents) (800) 638-0742 www.hrsa.gov/get-health-care/affordable/hill-burton/index.html

InfantSEE: InfantSEE optometrists provide a no-cost comprehensive eye and vision assessment for infants within the first year of life regardless of a family’s income or access to insurance coverage. Phone: (888) 396-EYES (3937) www.infantsee.org

Lions Clubs International: Provides financial assistance to individuals for eye care through local clubs. On their website, go to “Club Locator” to locate your local club. Phone: (630) 571-5466 or (800) 747-4448 www.lionsclubs.org

National Federation of the Blind: NFB works to improve social and economic conditions of blind persons by providing evaluations of present programs and assistance in establishing new ones; awards scholarships to blind persons; has a public education program including speakers’ bureau; and has several special interest divisions, including those for diabetics, educators, lawyers, parents of blind children, students and public employees. The National Federation of the Blind has affiliates in all fifty states plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, and over seven hundred local chapters. Phone: (410) 659-9314 www.nfb.org

New Eyes for the Needy: New Eyes provides a basic pair of single or lined bifocal lenses. A New Eyes voucher is for individuals who have no other resources with which to obtain a basic pair of eyeglasses. Applicants must have an eye exam including their pupillary distance (PD) measurement before applying. Phone: (973) 376-4903 Fax: (973) 376-3807 www.new-eyes.org

VSP® Eyes of Hope®, Sight for Students®, and Eyes of Hope® Materials Only: VSP® Eyes of Hope® and Sight for Students gift certificates provide adults and children in need (families’ income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level) with access to eye care and new glasses (if needed) at no cost through a VSP network doctor in their community. VSP® Eyes of Hope® Materials Only gift certificates provide individuals who have coverage for an eye exam but not eyewear with no-cost prescription glasses. Contact your local Prevent Blindness affiliate or Prevent Blindness for more details. Phone: (800) 877-7195 https://vspglobal.com/cms/vspglobal-outreach/gift-certificates.html

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