Editorial By Chris Hofstader
This was another difficult week for blind news. We have 62 articles in this edition which isn't too far off of our average of 65 but our GoogleAlerts were, as they were last week, jammed with duplicate stories. I'm making a wild assumption here but it's late August and I predict that most of the real journalists are vacationing and the reporters left at the office are the interns who spend the majority of their time reading and paraphrasing press releases. As they all seem the same press releases, they all write the same articles about the same story. In some cases, they even have identical titles. Weeks after we published the first article about using an extract from pig skin to synthesize artificial corneas, we still get more articles about this research on a daily basis. When a blind person is the victim of a crime, we always get a number of headlines about those stories. This week, a blind judge somewhere in the midwest got to drive a car under very controlled conditions and that article must have appeared a couple of dozen times over the past week. We don't want to bore our readers with repetition but I cnnot guarantee that a duplicate article with a very different title than the others use may sneak in now and then, especially in the science and medicine section as I don't always understand the subject matter well enough to know if the story is unique or if it's another duplicate.
We've had stories about blind people committing crimes before but this edition brings us our first two ever articles about blind pedophiles. I had heard rumors of such sickos existing but this was my first encounter with actual reports of such. World Blind Herald covers the entire spectrum of blindness and blind people so we include these stories even though the blind people in them make us a bit sick to our stomachs.
Otherwise, there are a lot of interesting stories here and we hope you enjoy and find them valuable.
How It's Organized
Gonz Blinko's Blind News Digest is a very simple page to read. The categories are at heading level 2 and the stories are links at heading level 3. So, navigation to the sections and stories you find interesting is quite simple.
Announcing a new partnership today, Envision and Aira have teamed up to create a unique combination of assistive technology with the potential to enhance the independence of blind people in unprecedented ways. Netherlands-based Envision makes a smartphone app that is integrated with Google Glass enabling blind users to receive audio descriptions of objects or text that the camera is pointing at using computer vision, AI or video calls with sighted guides. California-based Aira provides a professional visual interpretation service that connects blind or severely sight-impaired users to a remote operator via the Aira app for scene and object description or directions. Both companies leverage rapidly maturing technologies that are slowly transforming the options for blind people to more fully engage with their environment. This story comes to us from: Forbes.
Apple accessibility tech empowers youth with visual impairment to enjoy photography and gain independence
Apple products are for all; the company takes pride in its accessibility features which empower users with hearing and visual impairments to lead an independent and productive life like VoiceOver to describe what’s on the screen, Voice Control to give commands, Speak Selection eye-tracking support for iPadOS, and others. A new article celebrates iPhone and iPad accessibility technology which is paving the way for the participants of The Chicago Lighthouse’s Photography for All program “gain independence, confidence, and creative skills. This story comes to us from: iThinkDifferent.
Unless you’re blind or know someone who is, you might not know that blind people use the same smartphones as sighted people. In fact, many blind people use touch-screen smartphones every day. The secret is that smartphones have a screen reader, a tool that allows blind people to use a mix of gestures and taps, along with vibrations or audio feedback, to use their apps. Screen readers work on desktop computers as well as mobile devices. You can usually find the screen reader in settings under accessibility. On iPhones the screen reader is VoiceOver. It provides a verbal description of what’s on the screen, including buttons to click and other actions available to the user. A well-designed website or app user interface makes the information on the website or app accessible to the screen reader, which makes it accessible to blind users. However, a badly designed website or application will be rendered invisible to a screen reader. This story comes to us from: good men project.
Science and Medicine
Whole-eye transplants would be of enormous benefit for many of the 180 million blind or severely visually disabled people around the world. This story comes to us from: Consumer Health News – HealthDay.
Digital Diagnostics, situated in Iowa, grabbed attention in 2018 as the first FDA-approved AI (artificial intelligence) system. Using AI, it can identify diabetic retinopathy in adults without any human intervention at all, thanks to FDA clearance. IDx-DR, its artificial intelligence diagnostic system, can detect diabetic retinopathy, a leading cause of blindness in the United States and other affluent countries, and other critical eye illnesses, such as macular edoema. Digital Diagnostics cofounder, president, and COO Seth Rainford told VentureBeat, “There’s a strong goal and purpose for us to get our technology to patients that truly need to be tested, and certainly to clinicians that may be burnt out or be getting burnt out. This story comes to us from: Bestgamingpro.
Researchers from Trinity College Dublin have developed a new gene therapy approach that shows promise for treating the dry form of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) – a progressive eye disease that affects up to 10% of adults over 65 years of age and is a leading cause of severe vision impairment and blindness. This story comes to us from: IrishCentral.
It is an impressive thing, an absolute revolution for medicine,” he says. Osvaldo Podhajcermolecular biologist who integrates the Leloir Institutewho together with his team are almost the only ones who investigate gene therapies in Argentina. These therapies are based on the concept of being able to modify a cell at the genetic level so that a disease can be reversed. Some examples that show how disruptive these treatments are are patients with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) who sat down or walked again, who were on their way to blindness from Alzheimer’s disease leber and regained sight or those who were cured of some types of leukemia. This story comes to us from: Code List.
Chairman of the National Eye Health Committee, Prof. Afekhide Omoti, while speaking with newsmen on the sidelines of a technical workshop made up of experts on diabetic care and diabetic retinopathy organised by the Federal Ministry of Health, stated that about one in every 17 adults above 40 years living in Nigeria has the chances of being diabetic. This story comes to us from: guardian.
John Hitz, Jr. could see just fine when he ordered a custom pocket watch from a Swiss watchmaker in 1865, but he wanted to be able to tell time like a blind man. Hitz, a Swiss-born diplomat who, like his father before him, served as his native country’s consul general to the United States, needed to be able to check the time during high-level meetings without pulling his watch from his pocket. Doing so at the wrong moment might offend some president or potentate and leave the impression that Hitz was bored and “watching the clock” for a chance to end the meeting. This story comes to us from: Optometry Times.
Corneal blindness encompasses a range of eye conditions that alter the transparency of cornea leading to the corneal scarring and eventually blindness. This story comes to us from: new Indian express.
Rho Kinase Inhibitors as a Neuroprotective Pharmacological Intervention for the Treatment of Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a leading cause of irreversible blindness, and its prevalence has led to research into treatment modalities for glaucoma to prevent the progression of the disease. The primary treatment for glaucoma that has been extensively used is ocular hypotensives to reduce raised intraocular pressure. This treatment has its drawbacks due to the existence of other variants of glaucoma, such as normal-tension glaucoma, where the intraocular pressure is measured to be within regular levels. Hence, there is a need for new treatment interventions which can deliver a better prognosis for glaucoma. This story comes to us from: Cureus.
River blindness is known to have a serious socioeconomic impact on affected communities. However, recent reports indicate control measures have been successful with a significant decrease in prevalence. Though Mass Drug Administration has been crucial in this direction, a new study has found 63.9 percent of Ghanaians are not aware of this intervention. The findings, which are published in the journal of Parasite Epidemiol Control, were made known during a research dissemination programme in the district. This story comes to us from: MyJoyOnline.com.
These techniques bypass damaged retinas with a variety of alternate approaches that convince the brain to see. The human retina—the light-sensitive part of the brain situated in the back of the eye—is a feat of engineering at the heart of a critical sense: Sight. So diseases of the retina like retina pigmentosa or age-related macular degeneration, which lead to impaired vision and blindness, can be particularly intractable and devastating. But scientists are zeroing in on a suite of strategies that may offer a ray of hope. This story comes to us from: Popular Mechanics.
National Blindness, Visual Impairment Survey-2019; 68L people suffer from corneal blindness in India
According to the National Blindness and Visual Impairment Survey conducted in 2019, corneal damage is the leading cause of blindness in people below the age of 50 years in the country. It is the second leading cause of blindness in people above the age of 50 years. Chief Medical and Health Officer (CMHO) Dr. Prabhakar Tiwari said that eye donation fortnight would be organised from August 25 to September 8 to create mass awareness on eye donation. This story comes to us from: Free Press Journal.
A delegation of Progressive Federation for Blind (PFB) Punjab led by Anil Gupta, General Secretary met Minister for Social Security, Women and Child Development, Punjab Dr.Baljit Kaur and submitted a 14-demands memorandum to uplift the visually-impaired community, in the state. The delegation also met Director Social Security Department, Punjab in this regard and handed over a copy of the demands. This story comes to us from: Babushahi.com.
Now 41, Kumar belongs to Kurugonda village in Ozili mandal in the erstwhile Nellore district, now in Tirupati district. He has been working as a deputy manager with the State Bank of India.Kumar lost his vision after he fell severely ill at the age of five. Despite the physical constraints, he completed his education and even went on to pursue a Ph.D. He says his parents, Batchala Subba Reddy and Sudarshanamma, encouraged him to continue his studies when no one else did.Living up to his parents’ expectations, Kumar completed his schooling in Venkatagiri, Intermediate and Degree from SV Arts College in Tirupati. He pursued MA in English, Diploma in Human Rights, Business Management and Mass Communications from the Institute of English & Foreign Languages in Hyderabad. He also completed his Ph.D from Hyderabad Central University. This story comes to us from: The New Indian Express.
King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) launched a voluntary medical program to combat blindness and its causes in Bangladesh earlier this week. The program is being implemented during the period from Aug. 18 to 27. The KSRelief voluntary medical team examined 5,100 cases, distributed 1,136 pairs of glasses, and performed 376 surgical proceedures. This story comes to us from: Arab News.
On this week's Community Connect –We shine a light on living with blindness, and hear from organizations that help the community. This story comes to us from: CBS Detroit.
A Gujarati teenage girl inspired by a visit to a residential blind school in her hometown of Amreli has launched a fundraising effort in Saudi Arabia to install a solar power system at the Institute. This story comes to us from: SheThePeople.TV.
A VISUALLY impaired student who completed her GCSEs in braille has been praised for her “outstanding success”. Monica Evans picked up an “excellent” set of results today at Philip Morant School and College in Colchester where staff praised her dedication and hard work over the past five years. Monica, who is registered blind and has a severe visual impairment, completed all her exams in braille and achieved the necessary grades to join Sigma Sixth to start her level 3 qualifications in criminology and health and social care. This story comes to us from: Colchester Gazette.
At the time, my team was creating documents about how to set up certain servers and systems. The core problem was that most of them included screenshots, which were now useless to me. Instead, I asked my team: "Can we figure out a way to create steps which are just text and computer language?" Eventually, my team made the decision to turn all of the documents into scripts, which could be run automatically. You could enter a command line instead of clicking on the mouse and hitting the right keys. This change led to quite a big complicated process being made super easy. A lot of other groups in the firm noticed our success. This story comes to us from: Newsweek.
Michelle Lindsay is a legally blind immigrant from Jamaica who came to the Maryland area in 2015. “I came to the United States with an issue going on with my eyes and it was too late for them to correct it,” Lindsay said. Shortly before migrating to the U.S., she realized an issue with her eyesight would soon change her life. This story comes to us from: WJLA.
APH ConnectCenter, NSITE Deliver Resources, Access to Job Opportunities for Diverse & Inclusive Workforce for Jobseekers
Leaders in Talent Acquisition and Sourcing Collaborate to Create On-Demand Job Seeker’s Toolkit for Career-Ready Blind and Low Vision Individuals. This story comes to us from: MoJJo Collaborative Communications.
In a tragic incident, a blind woman and her son drowned in a water sump dug by their family close to their house. This story comes to us from: Telangana Today.
The woman said they used to receive aid from donor organizations, but now these aids had been reduced and they were suffering from economic hardships. This story comes to us from: Pajhwok Afghan News.
Police removed a blind paedophile from a property in East Kilbride after a vigilante mob gathered chanting 'get the beast out now' This story comes to us from: Daily Record.
I and a lot of my friends have spent substantial portions of our life trying to make more and more activities accessible; none of us predicted this kind of behavior and I hope this fellow is punished strictly for this crime.
Guy Kibblewhite managed to watch vile videos of child sex abuse by using voice activation software but he was eventually caught by an eagle-eyed delivery man passing by the window. This story comes to us from: The Mirror.
[Illegal Alien Arrested for Robbing Blind Woman in Macron's France][
A homeless Moroccan living in France illegally was arrested this week after allegedly robbing a blind woman near a railway station. This story came to us from: Breitbart.
A seven-year-old visually impaired girl hailing from Jharkhand died under mysterious circumstances at a hospital in Gurugram after she was allegedly admitted there by her school management for an infection in her stomach. However, the parents of the girl raised an alarm and alleged that she was assaulted by the school management who didn't even inform them about her condition. The relatives of the girl assembled at the mortuary of the hospital demanding a fair probe and registration of a case of murder against the school where she was studying. This story comes to us from: Daijiworld.
The Pinetown Magistrate’s Court has sentenced a 49-year-old man to 10 years’ imprisonment for the 2021 rape of his blind neighbour. Petros M Mokoena, who is also a pastor, was found guilty of rape in July. This story comes to us from: IOL.
Officers said the blind woman was assaulted by the group on the train as it was traveling between Dumbarton Central and Drumry. This story comes to us from: Daily Record.
A 30 year old Gloucester man has been ordered to pay his victims £2,500 compensation after beating up three strangers – one of them a blind woman – while he was drunk in Cheltenham. This story comes to us from: Gloucestershire News Service.
I'm also a guide dog handler and have flown with my dogs many times. My first recommendation is to call the airline well in advance of your flights and, in my experience, most are quite willing to make special accommodations for you.
A blind woman says her dog was in cramped conditions, but airline says 48 hours' notice was needed. This story comes to us from: BBC.
We ran a similar article about this case recently but, as it's so important, I'm including continued coverage.
In a significant August 2022 ruling, the California Court of Appeal narrowed the reach of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This story comes to us from: Mintz.
Meadows was put on administrative leave in 2018 and terminated in 2021 because his blindness allegedly rendered him unable to perform his job duties. This story comes to us from: Paterson Times.
Retailer Lisa Frank’s website is not accessible to legally blind people who use a screen reader in violation of the law, a new class action lawsuit alleges. Plaintiff Bryan Velazquez filed the class action complaint against Lisa Frank, Inc. Aug. 22 in a New York federal court, alleging violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Velazquez is a visually impaired and legally blind person who requires screen-reading software to read website content using his computer, the Lisa Frank class action states. Because the company’s website shop.lisafrank.com is not equally accessible to blind and visually impaired consumers, it violates the ADA, according to the lawsuit. Lisa Frank class action claims plaintiff denied shopping experience similar to sighted people On multiple occasions. This story comes to us from: Top Class Actions.
Speedo and Hard Rock Café have each been hit with class action lawsuits alleging their websites are not accessible to blind and visually impaired people who use a screen reader. The plaintiffs say the inaccessibility is a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Plaintiff Christopher Loadholt filed his class action complaint against Hard Rock Café International (USA), Inc. Aug. 19 in a New York federal court. Plaintiff Valerie Dicks filed her class action complaint against Warnaco Swimwear Products Inc. (d/b/a Speedo USA) Aug. 22 in a New York federal court. Both plaintiffs are visually impaired and legally blind people who require screen-reading software to read website content using their computers. This story comes to us from: Top Class Actions.
Retailer Hy-Vee’s website is not accessible to legally blind people who use a screen reader in violation of the law, a new class action lawsuit alleges. Plaintiff Jasmine Toro filed the class action complaint against Hy-Vee, Inc. Aug. 24 in a New York federal court, alleging violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Toro is a visually impaired and legally blind person who requires screen-reading software to read website content using her computer. This story comes to us from: Top Class Actions.
Marina Iskhakova has filed a class action suit against L’Oréal, stating that the company’s Saloncentric website is not accessible to visually impaired people using a screen reader. THE DETAILS Filing the suit in a New York federal court, Iskhakova stated that the inaccessibility of the site is a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and that many features on the website lack alt text – the invisible code embedded beneath a graphical image. According to Top Class Actions, Iskhakova was unable to differentiate what products were on the screen. The website was also said to contain a host of broken links and pages that contain the same title elements. This story comes to us from: Global Cosmetics News.
Personal Finance and Investing
It can be intimidating to receive correspondence from the IRS—but what if you couldn’t understand any of it? Accessibility Lawsuit
That’s what visually impaired taxpayers alleged was happening in a lawsuit filed against the US Treasury in 2019. In their complaint, three taxpayers and the National Federation of the Blind Inc. charged that the IRS was sending notices and letters in a format that was not readily accessible to most blind people. Most blind people, they noted, typically have an alternative primary reading method such as Braille, screen-access software, large print, or audio recording that allows them to access and respond to communications independently and privately. But, at the time of the suit, the IRS did not offer these or other accessible formats. This story comes to us from: Bloomberg Tax.
Arvest Bank today announced a new credit card design for blind and low-vision customers. This story comes to us from: koam news now.
University of Florida (UF) spinout Atsena Therapeutics has closed a $55 million financing that will help take its gene therapy for a common cause of blindness in children into pivotal trials. The gene therapy is already in a phase 1/2 trial for Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA)—a disease that progressively destroys the retina—in patients with a mutation in the GUCY2D gene. This story comes to us from: Fierce Biotech.
Prevent Blindness, the nation's leading volunteer nonprofit eye health organization, has declared September as Sports Eye Safety Month to help educate the public on the importance of wearing the proper eye protection while playing sports. This story comes to us from: yahoo.
In 1954, then President Ramon Magsaysay declared the first week of August of every year as sight conservation week and designated the Philippine Eye Bank as the lead agency in its celebration. “This fact points up the necessity of carrying on an educational campaign throughout the country to prevent blindness among the people. This story comes to us from: Inquirer.net.
Sophia was diagnosed with keratoconus – a condition in which the cornea is unable to hold its round shape. She went to Adams State University, Colorado, US, where she studied psychology and met Christian Corah, 25, and the pair instantly hit it off. They became close friends – and Christian supported Sophia as her condition deteriorated. Christian researched the disease and discovered a surgery which would mean Sophia could see again. After fundraising £16.5k for the procedures which stops the cornea from bending out of shape Sophia was able to have the operation in October 2018. She regained 20/20 vision in August 2019. This story comes to us from: Indy100.
That's part of the reason why a group of 40 blind veterans are heading to Kennedy Space Center next week to experience the Artemis I launch in person. This story comes to us from: Sun Sentinel.
Michigan Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein can now say he’s driven a car thanks to a local sheriff. An “insane” wish that became a reality for Justice Bernstein who has been blind since birth. Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson helped him take a spin at the Genesee County Fairgrounds Tuesday, under controlled circumstances, in front of dozens of spectators. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Justice Bernstein said. This story comes to us from: ABC17NEWS.
Molly Burke, who is blind, took to social media, especially YouTube, to advocate for those with disabilities and share … Blind girl problems. This story comes to us from: InspireMore.
Nigel Garry, who now lives in north Wales, went blind suddenly when he was just 19 years old and had to adjust to an entirely new reality. His Bulldog Boozy Barman table, which cost him £300 and has lasted decades, has been close to his heard as is is so tactile, with different textures for him to feel. But in 2019 when he moved house with wife Karen, the unfamiliarity of his new apartment in Rhos-on-Sea meant he knocked the bulldog over, knocking off one of the ears and extensively damaging the back. This story comes to us from: Wales Online.
Golden Eye Chef, an International Cooking Contest for the Blind, is confirmed to take place in 2022.
In 2019, Golden Eye Chef, a Cooking Contest for the visually impaired and the blind that is focused on raising awareness and changing society’s perception regarding visual disability, was conducted in India for the very first time. The Contest consisted of three rounds, lasted three days, and took place in three different locations, where 32 participants demonstrated their culinary skills and competed for the “Golden Eye Chef” Award. Although it started as a pan Indian affair, in 2022 the Contest will be held online and it will be international, welcoming participants from all over the world. This story comes to us from: Pressenza – International Press Agency.
Navigating the world as a blind girl, the chant her mother has given the girl who is now 11 years old has proven vital. This story comes to us from: CafeMom.com.
The Cleveland Public Library opened early this week to give a very special little girl a very special moment. 1 ½-year-old Reese, who is blind, received a private and personalized storytime. The little girl’s blindness comes from a rare genetic bone disease called Malignant Osteopetrosis. This story comes to us from: FOX 8 News.
Art and Artists
Manuel Solano is remembering trying to paint for the first time after going blind. “I thought it was a joke: I thought it was over for me, as a painter." Their work from that period is harsh and urgent, clawed on to the canvas in jangling colour. Solano named the series Blind Transgender with Aids: a bitter joke reflecting their conviction that the work would attract attention only as a curiosity. This story comes to us from: The Guardian.
An amazing video of a blind man who works as a disc jockey (DJ) has stunned many people online. Despite his condition, Udochi Samuel is vast with technology and can also operate a phone and computer very well. Udochi said he refused to let his blindness chase his dreams of becoming a renowned disc jockey in the future. This story comes to us from: Legit.ng.
This story is largely told as a video.
Matt Weihmuller teaches children and teens of all backgrounds at the Patel Conservatory. This story comes to us from: YouTube.
University of Cambridge will be hosting "touch tours" for people living with low vision and blindness to experience their collections. The first of these tours will take place at the Polar Museum. A spokesperson from Cam Sight, a Cambridgeshire charity supporting people living with low vision and blindness, explains: "People with visual impairments generally experience many barriers when visiting museum exhibitions, given the ocular centricity of museums. This does not contribute to the engagement with exhibitions through other senses than vision, depriving access to information and exhibits, and hindering independent mobility in the museum. This story comes to us from: Cambridge News.
Colorado hosts various music festivals all year long, but a festival this weekend prides itself on being fully accessible to any and everyone. The Shine Music Festival features 14 bands playing live music and innovative technology to make sure everyone can enjoy the shows. Even the festival T-shirts are inclusive, with a braille print on the sleeve. This story comes to us from: cbsnews.
Sports and Athletes
Slyer believes Hale is the first blind person to become an official finisher of Ironman Lake Placid, tethered to a guide on the swim and run portions. This story came to us from: Times Union.
) — Blind hockey players from across the country convened at Northtown Center in Amherst earlier this month for an opportunity to train with the United States Blind Hockey Team. With the ultimate goal of one day gaining entry into the Paralympic Games, the program invited 25 players to come train with the team in preparation for a host of upcoming international tournaments. This story comes to us from: WIVB.
A 53-year-old mountain climber, who became the first blind person to summit Mount Everest in 2001, is hosting the No Barriers Summit this weekend. This story comes to us from: The Denver Channel.
Harald Vik, a 79-year-old, blind and deaf cyclist, participated in the Sioux Falls Marathon on Sunday morning, eight years after a car struck him. This story comes to us from: Argus Leader.
As we do in every edition of the digest, we'd like to acknowledge our friend in the UK, Leon Gilbert. He practically invented blind news and he has a terrific Twitter feed which you can follow at @leongilbert.
This web site has ben evolving from being my personal blog into much more of a community effort. Our team and I have decided that it should be two separate web sites. The new one will be called World Blind Herald and will carry this digest and articles by a wide variety of writers. WBH intends to cover as wide a spectrum of the blindness experience from around the world as possible and we plan on it launching officially on January 4, Louis Braille's birthday and, coincidentally, the anniversary of my posting edition #1 of this digest. I will continue using this older site as the home for my creative writing, my occasional piece of fiction and wot not.
Over the past few months, I've recruited other writers to join as regular contributors and WBH be covering topics ranging from science and medicine to sports to arts to music to the politics of the blind world, employment issues, do it yourself projects, fashion, culture and as much as we can find that might interest our readers.
To subscribe, go to the item at heading 4 in the sidebar labeled "Subscribe To The New Chris Hofstader" by email, put in your address, hit the button and you'll get the digest and the occasional other article in your email as soon as they're posted.
Please Contribute A Story
If you're blind or have something to say about blindness, please pitch us a story you would like to write. When the WBH site goes live, it will also appear there. We're looking for all kinds of writers with as many different interests as we can possibly find. We've run quite a few already this year and they will all move over to the new site when it goes live.