Eyes Gone Wrong: Blindness, Assistance

Last week we discussed the degrees
of blindness, this week’s blog is dedicated to the assistance for the blind.
 A  White Cane is the
international symbol of blindness .The long white cane is a means to independence. 
The white cane has proved a useful tool to millions of blind people in
navigating their environments with confidence and safety.  It is a tool
which allows blind people to travel where and when they want, and as such leads
to self-sufficiency. 
This “traditional” white
cane, also known as a “Hoover” cane, after Dr. Richard Hoover, is
designed primarily as a mobility tool used to detect objects in the path of a
Braille is named after its creator,
Frenchman Louis Braille, who went blind following a childhood accident. Braille is a tactile
writing used by the blind and the visually impaired that
is used for books, menus, signs, elevator buttons, playing cards, currency, and
many other things. Braille-users can read computer screens and other electronic
supports thanks to refreshable Braille displays. They can write Braille with the original slate and stylus or
type it on a braille writer, such as a
portable braille note-taker, or on
a computer that prints with a braille embosser.
Guide Dogs for the Blind was the
first guide dog training school on the West Coast. Its creation was a dream
shared by Lois Merrihew and Don Donaldson, who recognized the need to help
wounded servicemen who would return from World War II without their sight. They
believed in the potential of dogs to serve as guides for the blind. A German
Shepherd named Blondie was one of the first dogs trained; she
was paired with Sgt. Leonard Foulk, the first serviceman to graduate from the
new school.
Another source of help for the
visually impaired is a catalog called LS & S, (Learning, Sight &
Sound). (LSSPRODUCTS.com) Whatever problem a visually impaired person may have,
it tries to solve it by providing helpful solutions. Independence can come in
small yet rewarding ways, beyond the obvious magnifiers, it  also includes
a guide to help a person sign a check, a talking thermostat, talking watches,
cooking aids and even help with sewing and crafts along with many other
ingenious gadgets.
Computer software such as voice
recognition can help someone who is visually impaired dial a cellphone or type
documents or letters just by speaking the numbers, letters and commands to be
typed, Dragon Naturally Speaking is an example. There are also software
programs that will read a book or letters back such as Kurzweil. Other programs
will convert standard reading material in document format and convert it to an
MP3 so someone who is visually impaired can listen to it on an iPod, iPad or
MP3 player.
Despite its small size, the eye is a
complex machine that feeds data to the brain in lightning speed, modern
technology can aid in its assistance when Eyes Go Wrong.


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