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Blind


— Medical

Newly identified protein may hold key to preventing diabetes-induced blindness

Diabetic retinopathy is one of a number of nasty effects diabetes can have on the human body. The disease sees the development of leaky blood vessels in the eye that over time lead to permanent loss of vision. Though it is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in American adults, its progress can be slowed by certain drugs or laser treatment. But research has now uncovered a new protein found to drive the condition, raising the possibility of preventing it altogether.

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— Health & Wellbeing

Wearable collision warning device for the visually-impaired

For people with reduced vision, getting around safely without walking into obstacles can be tricky. Those with decent central vision but whose peripheral sight is fading or lost are particularly at risk because they aren't conditioned to be alert for oncoming dangers they can't see. But a new pocket-sized device that sits on a person's chest may make walking much safer for these people and others with visual impairments by warning of impending collisions. Read More
— Medical

Photoswitch therapy restores vision to blind lab animals

A new genetic therapy that helped blind mice and dogs respond to light stimulus could restore sight to people who suffer from diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa (a gradual loss of vision from periphery inwards). The therapy uses chemicals known as photoswitches, which change shape when hit with light, to open the channels that activate retinal cells. Treated mice can distinguish between steady and flashing light, while dogs with late-stage retinal degeneration also regain some sensitivity to light. Read More
— Good Thinking

Touch-sensitive 3D maps guide the blind with spoken instructions

Getting around unfamiliar public spaces can be tough even with all your senses, but if you can't see where you're going it's downright intimidating. A new multi-sensory model promises a brighter future, though, with 3D maps that give spoken directions and building information when touched. The technology comes courtesy of a collaboration between tactile-graphics company Touch Graphics and the University of Buffalo's Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access (IDeA Center), and while it was designed specifically to help visually-impaired people, it's also meant to show off the potential of tangible touch interfaces. Read More
— Good Thinking

SightCompass uses Bluetooth beacons to inform visually impaired of their surroundings

With their GPS capabilities and navigation apps, smartphones have undoubtedly made it easier for us to find our way around. The good news is we are starting to see these benefits extended to the visually impaired. SightCompass is a system that harnesses these strengths of the smartphone and combines them with proximity beacons to inform blind people of their surroundings. Read More
— Medical

Eye pressure-monitoring implant could save glaucoma patients from blindness

Currently, people with glaucoma must have their internal optic pressure (the pressure within their eye) regularly checked by a specialist. If that IOP gets too high, then steps need to be taken to lower it, before vision damage can occur. The problem is, the pressure can change quickly, potentially rising to dangerous levels between those checks. A new implant, however, could make it possible for patients to check their own IOP as often as they like, using their smartphone. Read More
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