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profoundly yours the abledbody blog

A World Health Organization study published today says uncorrected vision impairments throughout the world are having an significant effect on the global economy. The WHO estimates that uncorrected reflective error, or URE — the biggest cause of avoidable blindness and vision impairment in the world — is costing $269 billion each year in lost productivity. The authors from Johns Hopkins University, the International Center for Eyecare Education, the University of New South Wales and the African Vision Research Institute University of KwaZulu-Natal, say the problem could be eliminated simply, and very cost-effectively, by an eye examination and a pair of eyeglasses. Today, 90 percent of blindness and vision impairment is in the developing world. The study says vision loss is highest in the Western Asia-Pacific region, which includes China and Vietnam. With 62 million URE cases, this region is responsible for almost half the potential loss of productivity. Bangladesh, India ... keep reading »
Amazon’s new Kindle DX, designed for reading textbooks and newspapers, will include text-to-speech to allow students with print disabilities to read textbooks out loud. Amazon’s Director of Kindle Books, Laura Porco, said the company is working with three of the top five textbook publishers — Pearson, Cengage Learning and Wiley, along with more than 75 University Press Publishers to make their educational materials available in the Kindle Store starting this summer. With content accessible in an audio version to everyone — not just to those who can “prove” they have a print disability — Amazon and publishers have taken a big step in breaking down barriers to educational content for people with disabilities. The Kindle DX has a 9.7-inch electronic display, a built-in PDF reader and the ability to automatically switch from portrait to landscape. It can store up to 3,500 books, and also lets readers annotate and take notes. The ... keep reading »
British scientists have developed the world’s first stem cell therapy to cure the most common cause of blindness: age-related macular degeneration, according to the Sunday Times of London. Surgeons predict it will become a routine, one-hour procedure that will be generally available in six or seven years’ time. The treatment involves replacing a layer of degenerated cells with new ones created from embryonic stem cells. It was pioneered by scientists and surgeons from the Institute of Ophthalmology at University College London and Moorfields eye hospital. This week Pfizer, the world’s largest pharmaceutical research company, will announce its financial backing to bring the therapy to patients. keep reading »
After a weak performance on Tuesday night, Scott MacIntyre’s American Idol dream ended on Wednesday. MacIntyre received the lowest number of votes this week after Anoop Desai, and the four judges, although they said they had a 2-2 tie on whether to save MacIntyre, voted not to save him, which would have allowed him to remain on the show. In MacIntyre’s rendition of Survivor’s The Search Is Over, he chose to play electric guitar instead of his usual piano. Some of the lyrics sounded “screeched,” according to the judges, including Simon Cowell, who admonished him for not staying behind the piano — where he performs best. Still, MacIntyre raised awareness of the challenges of blindness with his talent. He’ll join the Top 10 on the American Idol Summer Tour, and says he won’t give up his dreams of being a recording artist. On the American Idol website, Scott said if he had ... keep reading »

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