New Hope for Adults with Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)
The world of sighted people is changing rapidly. More and more people are getting their eyesight restored through surgery or laser treatments.
However, there are still many blind people around the world. They have lost their sight due to various reasons such as genetic disorders, disease, accidents and other causes. Some of them are even completely blind. These people need to rely on touch and movement to get around. There are several ways they can do so. They can use a cane or a dog to help them detect objects in their surroundings. They can also get tactile wallpaper installed in their homes. This wallpaper uses raised shapes to help people with poor vision get around the house. These shapes can be installed all over the house. There are even patterns and shapes designed for the bathroom. These allow people to easily identify where the sink, shower, and toilet are.
There is another way to help blind people get around more easily. It uses a long cane to tap on nearby objects.
The tip of the cane is usually made of metal. This allows it to make a clear sound when it hits nearby objects. The cane relies on the person using it being able to hear this sound clearly. The person then walks forward until they no longer hear the tapping sound. They will then know that they have reached an obstacle. The cane also has a small handle at its base. This allows the person tapping it to grip it more tightly. This stops them from knocking into nearby objects accidentally. There are also electronic canes that speak out loud to their users. These can be very helpful in noisy public places. They can also be set to speak extra information such as upcoming stairs.
Cane and dogs surely help blind people get around their surroundings. They can also identify hazards and other useful information.
However, they cannot identify text for their users. This can be an issue when reading signs and instructions. They can also be dangerous in certain situations. Dogs can become distracted or frightened by other animals. They can also run off and get lost. They can also easily get underfoot in busy, crowded places. They can trip up their owners or even strangers. This can result in serious falls and injuries.
The internet is a great resource for information and communication. Unfortunately, blind people cannot access it like their sighted neighbours.
This is a problem since many companies are moving over to online based services. They no longer send out paper bills and statements. They also have instructions and other information online. This makes it harder for blind people to do many day-to-day tasks. They cannot access the same information and media as others. This puts them at a significant disadvantage. This also makes it harder for blind people to get jobs in certain fields. There is a whole range of careers that require the use of technology. These careers often have information or applications only available online. This makes it hard for blind people to work in these fields. They also may not be able to travel independently or at all. This forces them to rely on others for transport or even basic tasks like shopping.
Your local council has a duty of care to all of the people that live in the area. This includes making sure that everyone, regardless of ability, is catered for.
They have recently received funding to make your town more accessible. They plan to make all of the street signs accessible to blind people. They also plan to update the tactile patterns on the sidewalks. These will ensure that everyone, regardless of ability, can get around the town easily.
“We think it’s about time we brought the town into the twenty-first century!” states the councilwoman, “We want all of our residents to have the ability to get around our lovely town.
These plans will help make that a reality.”
You read that the plans should be completed in about a year.
Walking down the street, you hear a lot of positive comments from passers-by. A woman approaches you as you’re reading.
She reads the sign and asks what it’s about. You explain and give her the information sheet. She reads it carefully before thanking you and walking off.
Later that week, you meet with your friend Jane. She has been quite involved in the plans.
So, what do you think of the plans?”
“I think it’s a great idea,” you say.
“Yeah, we’ve been working hard to make sure it all goes ahead.”
I thought it was all done now.”
“While the funding is in place, we still have to choose all the designs for the signs and pathways. We want to make sure people with all abilities have easy access.
There’s a lot that needs to be done but we’re all working hard to get it finished as soon as possible. It’s all coming together quite nicely. The council have gone from not caring at all to completely changing their policy.”
“That’s good to hear. I’m glad something is finally being done around here.
Well, I’m off. See you later.
You continue reading your book. It’s a lovely day and you’ve been getting outside a lot more since the plans were announced.
You always feel a little guilty when you’re not doing anything to help others. Maybe you could do more, you think. There’s got to be something you’re good at that you could do to help.
You think about this for a while before heading to the library. You need some new books anyway.
Sources & references used in this article:
- A new counter-intuitive therapy for adult amblyopia (L Claudia, SA Tindara, L Antonio, L Martina… – bioRxiv, 2018 – biorxiv.org)
- A new binocular approach to the treatment of amblyopia in adults well beyond the critical period of visual development (RF Hess, B Mansouri… – Restorative neurology and …, 2010 – content.iospress.com)
- Using Gamification Based on Virtual Reality Mobile Platform for Treatment of Adults with Amblyopia (F Hosseinnia, A Khaleghi, K Mahmoudi – … , Technologies and Learning, 2019 – Springer)
- Amblyopia or the lazy eye (DH Nixseaman – British medical journal, 1970 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The lazy eye. (J Goh – Singapore medical journal, 1991 – smj.sma.org.sg)
- Training the adult amblyopic eye with “perceptual learning” after vision loss in the non-amblyopic eye (M Fronius, L Cirina, C Kuhli, A Cordey, C Ohrloff – Strabismus, 2006 – Taylor & Francis)
- Plasticity of the visual cortex and treatment of amblyopia (F Sengpiel – Current Biology, 2014 – Elsevier)