An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind - Mahatma Gandhi
image by: Staff Sgt. Darlene Seltmann
"Earlier this week I was asked by a friend if I could have a cornea transplant. I replied kindly saying, “Sure, but there is nothing wrong with my corneas.” Her response? “Oh sorry there was a man on TV who was blind and got a cornea transplant and was able to see again.” What angers me about this conversation is not that she asked the question, she doesn’t know any better. What angers me is that the media does this ALL the time!
If you’re going to put something on TV about Cornea Transplants, Lasyk, Clinical Trials, New Research or Guide Dogs have the decency to give ALL the details! I cannot tell you how many times in my life people have asked me if I could have laser surgery, or if they could transplant a new eye. Why oh why can the media and hollywood not be honest about all of this!
Between the nightly news, newspapers, television shows and movies the general public is completely miss informed about the realities of being visually impaired and the ability to cure certain impairments. Here are some examples of what I mean:
TV Show: Blind Justice – This was a show about a cop who goes blind and continues to work. Note: This is one of MANY! Apparently they keep thinking blind cops make good TV….The ONLY good TV show involving a blind character in law enforcement would be Auggie on Covert Affairs! Just saying.)
First off no one in their right mind would go back to work as a field officer if they lost their sight. Second no police force would allow it! Third just because he hears a water drop in a rain puddle doest mean he can tell the size of the room!!!
Movies: Lets see, there are so many. How about any horror movie ever made about a Blind/VI person getting an eye transplant!
Nightly News/Newspaper articles: Any story about a successful implant/stem cell / clinical trial. The news is the top reason I get phone calls from clients about the “new surgery”. They like to tell you about how successful it was but not who can have it in terms of VI requirements. Or how many people they have actually tested it on.
So I have decided it’s time to set the record straight, below is a list (yeah I know, me and my lists) of the top subjects and who they pertain to.
Cornea Transplants: This is kind of a obvious one but I am going to explain it anyway. Cornea transplants are for people who have issues with their cornea. As stated by The Mayo Clinic “A cornea transplant is a surgical procedure to replace part of your cornea with corneal tissue from a donor. Your cornea is the transparent, dome-shaped surface of your eye that accounts for a large part of your eye’s focusing power.
A cornea transplant can restore vision, reduce pain and improve the appearance of a damaged or diseased cornea. A cornea transplant, also called keratoplasty, is typically performed as an outpatient procedure. Most cornea transplant procedures are successful. But cornea transplant carries a small risk of complications, such as rejection of the donor cornea”
Lasik: As stated by allaboutvision.com – “LASIK is the most commonly performed refractive surgery procedure. You may hear people calling it “LASIX,” but the correct name is LASIK, which is short for “laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis.”
Why is it so popular? LASIK has advantages over other vision correction procedures, including a relative lack of pain afterward and the fact that good vision usually is achieved by the very next day.
An instrument called a microkeratome is used in LASIK eye surgery to create a thin, circular flap in the cornea. Another, newer way of making the flap is with a laser. The surgeon folds the hinged flap back out of the way, then removes some corneal tissue underneath using an excimer laser. The excimer laser uses a cool ultraviolet light beam to precisely remove (“ablate”) very tiny bits of tissue from the cornea to reshape it. When the cornea is reshaped in the right way, it works better to focus light into the eye and onto the retina, providing clearer vision than before. The flap is then laid back in place, covering the area where the corneal tissue was removed.
Both nearsighted and farsighted people can benefit from the LASIK procedure. With nearsighted people, the goal is to flatten the too-steep cornea; with farsighted people, a steeper cornea is desired. Excimer lasers also can correct astigmatism by smoothing an irregular cornea into a more normal shape.” The Mayo Clinic
As you can see the above mentioned topics are not meant for anyone other then those with either nearly perfect vision (Lasik) or those with Cornea issues (cornea transplant). These two things will NOT help those with other kinds of vision problems (ie. retinal or optic nerve issues).
Clinical Trials: Clinical trials are set up to help researchers see if their theories were right and if their new product works as they had hoped. These trials have very specific guidelines. Just because it says that such and such device has helped two people with Macular Degeneration it doesn’t mean it will work for you. Or that you will qualify for the trial. Here is an example for requirements to get into a recent Dry Macular Degeneration Trial:
- Dry AMD in one or both eyes
- Age 50 or above of either gender
- Signed informed consent.
- Known sensitivity to Mannitol or Copaxone.
- Skin disease or active infection of skin.
- Active fever or active treatment for infection.
- History of other uncontrolled systemic active disease.
- Premenopausal females not using reliable birth control.
- Sensitivity to fluorescein or iodine.
- Inability to comply with study procedures.
As I previously stated, not everyone qualifies. So please do your research or have someone do it for you before getting excited about what you hear on the news. The media tends to leave this bit of information out and just like to show the people who the drug/device helped.
Service Animals: I am not going to generalize to guide dogs due to that there are guide horses as well. Any who, the reason I bring this up is because a lot of my clients family members or friends have either asked me or asked them about getting a guide dog. Here is the deal, not everyone would benefit from a guide dog. You first have to learn to walk on your own with a cane.
Second you also need to be healthy enough to walk at least one mile and go on routine outings. Third you have to trust the dog. I don’t know about you but if I lost my good eye it would take a LOT for me to be able to trust a dog to guide me. If you are in your eighties and up, there is a good chance you’re not going to want to do it. Plus there is the other issues of taking care of an animal. If you are having issues taking care of yourself do not add to your stress with an animal, it would be unfair for the both of you.
Eye Transplants: Unfortunately eye transplants are far from being a real possibility. Why you ask? it’s all due to your optic nerve and the thousands of nerves which reside in it. Picture a white piece of rubber with thousands of wires going through it. Those wires need to attach to specific part of the eye, so removing them from one and putting them in the correct place in the new eye is nearly impossible. Sadly your nerves are not color coded like some T.V. wires.
So the next time someone asks you if you can have such and such kind of surgery please feel free to send them my way. Maybe together we can squash these common media led misconceptions." Source: Misconceptions and the Media, The Blindo Diaries, June 3, 2012.
Care of the Eyes Demands Diligence
READING in poor light, sitting too close to the TV, wearing the wrong prescription glasses and crossing your eyes — things your mother warned you would ruin your vision — are actually generally harmless. But a truly dangerous false belief is that there is nothing you can do to prevent the loss of vision.
The 6 Most Common Eye Problems
Our eyesight is one of our most valuable assets. The eyes allow us to experience the world, take in our surroundings and are the mechanism by which external stimuli is captured and pieced together in the brain. Because of this, maintaining eye health should be of utmost importance.
What to Do When You Can’t Read the Fine Print
EVERYTHING seems to stiffen up as people age, and our eyes are no exception. As the years go by, the lens of the eye becomes harder and less elastic. The result is a gradual worsening of the ability to focus on objects up close, called presbyopia.
2020 Vision Quest
2020 Vision Quest inspires people to reach beyond adversity and achieve their highest goals -- personal, professional, and philanthropic. We believe in leading by example, in climbing the highest peaks, and in sharing our successes and challenges with each other.
9 Surprising Treatments to Combat Dry Eye
If you regularly wake in the morning with red, irritated eyes encrusted by those pesky "sleep boogers," first ask yourself this question: "Was I out partying until 3 a.m. again?" If you don't remember, then perhaps you were. But if the answer is unequivocally "no," then you might be suffering from dry eyes.
Oculocutaneous albinism (OCA) is a rare, genetically inherited condition passed on by both parents to their offspring, resulting in a significant reduction in or absence of pigmentation in the hair, skin, and eyes at birth. Individuals with albinism are very fair-skinned and fair-haired, with (most often) blue eyes that can take on tones of purple or red in bright lighting. This striking appearance has fascinated humankind for centuries, drawing reactions ranging from veneration to alienation.
All About Vision
This website was launched in January 2000 to provide consumers with an independent source of trustworthy information on eye health and vision correction options.
Many eye care products and services are available to improve your vision and eye health. However, each is effective only when used properly and in the right circumstances. Please make decisions about your eyes and vision in consultation with an eye care professional (optometrist, ophthalmologist, optician, etc.) who can provide guidance based on their experience and knowledge of your individual needs.
App Be My Eyes
Be My Eyes is an app that connects blind people with volunteer helpers from around the world via live video chat. Download now and start helping blind people see.
Finding quality eye care has never been easier! EyeXam is the industry-leading mobile application offering fun, easy-to-use and patent-pending, vision screening tests as well as a GPS-based eye doctor locator with over 28,000 registered eye care providers with more offices added daily!
Apps for People with "Setbacks"
This is a list of Apps, Books & Movies I picked for "Life Improvement" or to "Learn About". They're more from the personal experience aspect, what better way to learn than from people already experienced - "been there done that".
I did not list any books discussing the medical aspects of any disability. I figured there's plenty of info out there from your own doctors, libraries, and service organizations. Enjoy!
Bausch & Lomb
A lifetime of healthy vision-don’t take it for granted. Learn more about how your eye works and how vision can change as you age.
Blind Geek Zone
Whether you’re a geek, geek-at-heart or a tech newbie, the Blind Geek Zone has something to interest you. With audio tutorials, gadget demonstrations, useful links and programs, and a community of tech gurus just as geeky as I am, you’ll quickly make BGZ your home on the web.
Hello, welcome to the blind wiki. The blind wiki is here to gather resources from all aspects of visual impairment and index them into an easy to use site. It's just like an old school phone book made virtual. Unlike search engines we deal primarily with topics of visual impairment and resources.
BrighterNights is a new online resource and virtual support group for anyone touched directly, or indirectly, by vision loss of some kind.
Hi, I’m Jason, Creator of BrighterNights and a person with vision loss due to a genetic eye condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa. I, like many of you, struggle with coming to terms with who I am. To this day I must find ways to adapt and overcome the challenges vision loss presents in my Life.
I started BrighterNights as a way to connect with others facing the same challenges and to offer a platform from which we can all share, learn and grow.
Discovery Eye Foundation
Vision loss is considered to have the highest impact on the quality of life as opposed to high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
Doctors of Optometry
Your Doctor of Optometry has a wide scope of expertise. The Eye Health Library provides a quick reference for many common eye-related conditions and questions they encounter. For certainty, see your Doctor of Optometry.
Ellie's Low Vision Guide
As a visually impaired person, I have
received many services from different
organizations. They were extremely
When I finished getting services, I still
had not found solutions to my daily living
problems. I proceeded to do extensive
research and found products, tips,
devices and information that have made
my life easier.
I volunteered at the Lighthouse store for
a few years. I found out that most
consumers did not have enough
knowledge about what's available to
really help themselves.
This website is based on every question
ever asked of me by consumers while I
Eye on the Cure
Eye on the Cure is the official blog of the Foundation Fighting Blindness, a private non-profit that raises funds for research targeting treatments and cures for vision-robbing retinal diseases. Authored by Dr. Stephen Rose, the Foundation’s chief research officer, and other contributors, the blog provides an insider view of the retinal research field, which, over the past decade, has exploded with scientific discoveries and advancements.
When I started Eyedolatry in 2011, I had just graduated from the Southern College of Optometry a few days prior. Like most new graduates, I wanted a place where I could read advice for my personal growth in the newest trends in patient care, contact lens fitting, and practice management. But in writing my posts, I realized that my true passion was bringing optometry to everyone. So if you ever wondered what that little growth on your eyelid was, or wanted someone to explain glaucoma in words you could understand, consider Eyedolatry your place for patient-friendly education.
Our mission is to provide unbiased, accurate, and up-to-date eye-care information to help inform consumers about eye care, eye health, refractive surgery, eye conditions and diseases, choosing proper contacts, maintaining eye glasses, and much more.
The EyeSmart® public awareness campaign, sponsored by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, is your trusted source for accurate, timely and relevant eye health information.
We urge everyone to know their risk factors for eye diseases, infections and injuries, and to understand how ophthalmologists can help prevent, diagnose and treat eye conditions.
EyeWiki is an ophthalmic wiki where ophthalmologists, other physicians, patients and the public can view an eye encyclopedia written by ophthalmologists covering the vast spectrum of eye disease, diagnosis and treatment.
On FamilyConnect you'll find videos, personal stories, events, news, and an online community that can offer tips and support from other parents of children who are blind or visually impaired. FamilyConnect is an online, multimedia community created by the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) and the National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI). This site gives parents of visually impaired children a place to support each other, share stories and concerns, and link to local resources.
Irv Arons' Journal
This journal will be a spot for me to comment about the world of ophthalmics and medical lasers. I intend to publish some of the more than 150 articles and columns that I have written on these subjects. In addition, I will report on the latest information on new drugs and devices for the treatment of retinal diseases, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Use the LASIK Resource Center to bolster your education efforts about laser vision correction. If you have any additional questions to ask about LASIK, enjoy a FREE, one-on-one consultation with a LasikPlus doctor today!
Little Four Eyes
A community for family and friends of babies, toddlers, and young kids in glasses, eye patches, or contacts.
If you're blind or visually impaired, whether you have some useful vision or not; if you are a friend or family member of someone who is; if you're a teacher; or if you're just interested -- if you’re looking for helpful information and energetic discussion about blindness, you've found the place!
Low Vision Gateway
The Low Vision Gateway to the Internet is your starting point
to the world's resources for vision loss, vision-impairment,
blindness, low vision aids and low vision rehabilitation services.
Macula.org is here to help you lead an abundant and fulfilling life.
Use this website to learn more about macular disease, stay current on issues that matter to you, and to connect with others.
Macular Degeneration Foundation
The Macular Degeneration Foundation is dedicated to those who have and will develop macular degeneration. We offer this growing community the latest information, news, hope and encouragement.
Our eyes are part of our body that we often take for granted until something goes wrong. Find out how your eyes work, how to look after them and read about different eye conditions.
This website contains general information relating to various medical conditions and their treatment.
National Eye Institute
As part of the federal government's National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Eye Institute's mission is to "conduct and support research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs with respect to blinding eye diseases, visual disorders, mechanisms of visual function, preservation of sight, and the special health problems and requirements of the blind."
The leading patient information, support and scientific research charity for nystagmus in Europe. Our aims are to support people with nystagmus, encourage research into nystagmus and raise awareness of nystagmus.
The journey travelled by a chronic uveitis sufferer rarely feels straightforward. The new medical vocabulary and different medical opinions can be baffling. Calculating which specialist and treatment to push for seems like a minefield.
Being diagnosed with a sight threatening disease few people have heard of can be an isolating experience. With Olivia’s Vision you need not feel alone. We’ve created a community whereby you can contact other adult uveitis sufferers and the parents of paediatric sufferers on our Forums, via email or by calling our Helpline.
Paths to Literacy
This site is intended to be an online hub for information related to literacy for students who are blind or visually impaired, including those with additional disabilities or deafblindness. It includes original content, as well as links to other sites and resources available on the web.
Such a Site
Links to New York City Information, free online newspapers from all over the country, ways to look up prescriptions, words, addresses, and people, free electronic cards, animal food and treats, music to play, low vision and blind resources, employment options, Jewish and Yiddish resources, hot keys for MS Word and Zoomtext, stores from all over, free tutorials and useful distance learning leads, search engine options to increase findings, etc.
The Achromatopsia Network
An information network for individuals and families who are affected by achromatopsia and for professionals interested in achromatopsia
The Eye Doc Blog
A resource for patients. What you want to know about your eyes and forgot to ask.
Vision Health Initiative
The CDC’s Vision Health Initiative (VHI) has joined with others committed to vision health to create a more effective multilevel network for vision loss prevention and eye health promotion. VHI has the unique role of collaborating with state and national partners, to strengthen science and develop interventions to improve eye health, reduce vision loss and blindness, and promote the health of people with vision loss.
Established in 1987, VisionMonday provides valuable insights into how successful retailers and practitioners build their businesses and stay profitable. Vision Monday is the ophthalmic industry's leading source of news and news analysis.
If you have just begun to deal with vision loss, you probably have many questions, frustrations and even fears. VisionAware was created to help you answer those questions, and cope with those frustrations.
AMD Alliance International
Age Related Macular Degeneration Alliance International strives to bring knowledge, help and hope to individuals and families around the world affected by AMD.
American Optometric Association
The American Optometric Association provides doctor-reviewed, doctor-approved information about the most common eye conditions.
Founded in 1985, EyeCare America is a public service foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Our mission is to reduce avoidable blindness and severe visual impairment by raising awareness about eye disease and care, providing free eye health educational materials and facilitating access to medical eye care.
Learn the warning signs and symptoms of common eye conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, pink eye, macular degeneration and more that can cause damage and blindness if not detected and treated soon enough.
Your best defense is to have regular checkups, because eye diseases do not always have symptoms. Early detection and treatment could prevent vision loss. See an eye care professional right away if you have a sudden change in vision, if everything looks dim, or if you see flashes of light. Other symptoms that need quick attention are pain, double vision, fluid coming from the eye, and inflammation.
Problems with your eyes and their health can indicate a whole range of problems with the rest of your body. We have factsheets on the most common eye complaints from cataracts to lazy eye. Our experts list the possible treatments available to you and you can also share your concerns with other users by discussing your situation on our discussion forums.