Sight



Braille
Blindfold with partner game in drama
Who pays for a guide dog? (Mr. Goldberg)
Is discrimination against dogs OK? Discrimination (page)

More information on guide dogs:


In order to be eligible for a guide dog, a person must be:
-legally blind
-in good physical and mental health
-at least high school age
-able to provide adequate housing and care for the dog
-in need of the dog
-able to travel on their own




One common misconception about blindness is that not all people who are "blind" cannot see. In fact, only 10% of people who are "legally blind" are copletely blind and have to read braile. The term "legally blind" is what quallifies people with poor vision for disability benefits. To become legally blind, one of the criteria is that the person must have 20/200 vision or less. Vision is measured by comparing one's vision to that of a fully sighted person. When someone with perfect vision sees something 20 feet away, he will see it as if it was 20 feet away, thus 20/20; however, is someone looks at an object 20 feet away, but sees is as if it were 200 feet away, that person is legally blind. Another criteria is that if a person whos perifferal vision is only 20 degrees, compared to a fully sighted person with 180 degrees of perifferal vision, they are legally blind. As people become older their eyesight naturally starts to fade and eventually become "legally blind", but this does not mean that they are completely blind and cant see at all.



If a person is eligible for a guide dog, then they have to fill out on application packet. This application contains four sections: Demographics, Physical History, Travel Skills, and Guide Dog Information. After a person fills out this application, then an appointment is scheduled with the company. This appointment is an interview with someone from the Training Department. This interview helps determine the person’s needs and capabilities. After this, the person has to wait until the company can find a dog that they feel will be good for that individual. The dog is chosen based on location, and everyday conditions. Once the dog is chosen, the person can start training the dog. There is no cost in the training classes that the person must take in order to train or receive the dog. You can get some more details from this site.



We have talked briefly about guide dogs and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). A couple weeks ago, I heard about a man that got a dog to help deal with his PTSD. The man is a retired Army Sergeant who was in duty in Kuwait, Iraq. So this is just an interesting example of the use and comfort of a dog not only for individuals that are blind.
Here is the link to this article on CBS:


-Amanda R.

Possible Macular Degeneration Cure
There is also this YouTube video about a possible cure for macular degeneration (below). It's a lot about what we studied in biology, where they discovered if they tried to make a certain flower more purple by putting in the gene for purple more often, the cell would actually see that is was a copy and destroy the RNA before it made a protein. After it caught one fake gene, it would kill all the other similar genes that coded for purple so that the flower was white. Becasue macular degeneration is caused by too many blood vessels in the eye, they put the gene to get more blood vessels in the eye of someone, and they end up have fewer blood vessels in their eyes. They also might use this for other diseases later on.
- Cat N.
part 1 and part 2

Adding on to the previous comment by Cat, I found an article from the Washington Post in 2006 that speaks of an experiment on rats. It used stem cells to slow the progress of macular degeneration. In addition to the unreliability of this experiment in terms of humans, the whole stem cell concept is controversial. I still think this is a sign for things to come. Now looking back at this article 2 years later, it is amazing to see how far we have come. Now, new technology such as the vitamin providing capsule in the eye and other new amazing technology is available. A few years ago, this would have been unimaginable. Although this is a huge step in the right direction, money and support must be continued to aid great organizations such as the Foundation Fighting Blindness.

Stem Cell Vision Loss

-Kunal


Types of Assistance Dogs

There are several types of dogs that help people: guide dogs, hearing dogs, and service dogs.

As said above, a guide dog helps a blind or visually impaired person around. The first organization to train eye dogs was founded in 1929 and was called 'The Seeing Eye'. Although training methods for the dogs hasn't changed much, there is more traffic and more to hear. This has caused the training period for the dogs to become longer.

seeing_eye_dog.jpg
Seeing Eye Dog

The second, called a hearing dog, alerts a deaf or hearing impaired person of things like doorbells, smoke alarms and crying babies. The first hearing dogs were actually trained with help from an audiologist. An audiologist is a person who helps people with hearing difficulties. A non-profit organization called 'Dogs for the Deaf' was created successfully and was formally established in 1977.

hearing_dog.jpg
Hearing Dog

The last, called a service dog, help people who have physical disabilities. Because they can pull wheelchairs, open doors, get dropped items or give stability to someone who doesn't have very good balance they are very helpful to people with disabilities that inhibit walking, standing/sitting, using the arms, etc. Service dogs can also help people with seizure disorders and other medical problems. A leading organization training service dogs is called Canine Companions for Independence. They were established in 1975.

service_dog.jpg
Service Dog


Our discovery term traveled to the Morehead School for the Blind and I think we all learned a few things about people who have to deal with being blind. When someone tells me they know someone who is blind, I think about a person who can't see at all and who needs assisstance to do everything from making breakfast to reading their homework. When my group talked to a few of the students I discovered that just because someone is legally blind it doesn't mean they can't see at all. One of the girls we talked to was able to run off by herself and get one of the intructors to come talk to us. I didn't expect most of the people there to be able to see that well.

Though a lot of the people could partially see, we learned how scary it is for those who cannot see at all. By putting on blindfolds and having to walk across the street with a guide, we all saw how scary it would be to be led around by somebody. You would have to have a lot of trust in that person to allow them to walk you across the street. I can't even imagine how scary it would be to walk around sixteen blocks with only a cane to help you find your way.

- Haleigh


-braille alphabet
-braille alphabet