Here and There, edited by Sharon Strzalkowski

The announcement of products and services in this column does not represent an endorsement by the American Council of the Blind, its officers, or staff. Listings are free of charge for the benefit of our readers. “The ACB Braille Forum” cannot be held responsible for the reliability of the products and services mentioned. To submit items for this column, send a message to slovering@acb.org, or phone the national office at 1-800-424-8666, and leave a message in Sharon Lovering’s mailbox. Information must be received at least two months ahead of publication date.

New Technology May Improve Detection and Treatment

Research published recently in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” (PNAS) demonstrates that technology invented by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University's Casey Eye Institute can improve the clinical management of the leading causes of blindness. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) angiography could largely replace current dye-based angiography in the management of these diseases.
 
OHSU researchers found that OCT angiography has considerable advantages over conventional techniques for the diagnosis and management of macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease and glaucoma, the leading causes of blindness in the United States. The OCT angiography used in the study is a non-invasive three-dimensional alternative to conventional angiography. It does not require injections and allows clinicians to measure vascular density and blood flow in vessels in a quantitative manner.

Vision 2025 is here

 Embarking on its 80th anniversary of being a key piece of the nation’s fabric, Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, recently released Vision 2025. The vision will serve as a “North Star” to guide Social Security and show how the agency will accomplish and deliver three key priorities: superior customer experience, exceptional employees, and an innovative organization over the next decade and beyond.
 
Vision 2025 reflects Social Security’s full commitment — now and in the future — to offering customers choices in how they do business with the agency. This commitment includes sustaining a field office structure that provides face-to-face service and is responsive to members of the public who need or prefer face-to-face service.
 
For more information, visit the Social Security Vision 2025 interactive web site at www.socialsecurity.gov/vision2025.

College Resources for Students with Disabilities

 According to the National Center for Education Statistics, over 700,000 college students — or 3.5% — have some type of disability. While students with disabilities may face unique challenges, they're entitled to the same quality of education as any other student.
 
Bestcolleges.com now has available a college resource guide to help students with various disabilities learn about their legal rights, where to find assistance on campus, and provides an extensive list of web sites, apps and software resources designed for specific needs. To check out “College Resources for Students with Disabilities,” visit www.bestcolleges.com/resources/disabled-students/.

Knit & Crochet Guidelines

 The Braille Authority of North America (BANA) now has available “Guidelines for Transcribing Knit and Crochet Patterns.”  To view it, visit www.brailleauthority.org, look for “Codebooks and Guidelines,” then select “Crafts and Hobbies.” The knit and crochet guidelines will be the first publication mentioned.
 
These guidelines are also available in accessible PDF and in BRF formats for downloading. If you need a hard-copy braille version of the guidelines, send an e-mail message to brailleauthority@gmail.com or call (617) 972-7248.

Golf, Anyone?

 Blind and visually impaired individuals can participate and compete in the worldwide game of golf. How? The coach provides the eyes to determine distance and direction, and the blind or visually impaired golfer produces the swing. Our motto is “you don’t have to see it to tee it.”
 
The United States Blind Golf Association was formed in 1953. Since then it has improved the lives of blind and visually impaired golfers by rekindling their competitive spirit and breaking down barriers to a fulfilling life.
 
USBGA membership is open to golfers having corrected vision in both eyes of less than 20/200. There are three vision categories, less than 20/200 to total blindness.
 
The USBGA sponsors and conducts golf clinics for blind or visually impaired youth and adults throughout the year and across the United States. These clinics are not just for producing future golfers, but to show them that they can accomplish things they never believed possible and then to apply that principle to enrich their lives. It has also held national blind golf championship tournaments since 1946. USBGA membership is the exclusive gateway to international competition through the IBGA, International Blind Golf Association. This association consists of 16 countries and hosts a World Championship every other year and numerous open tournaments every year.
 
To learn more about USBGA, visit www.usblindgolf.com, or e-mail info@usblindgolf.com.

Jersey for Sale

 Monty Cassellius is selling his Milwaukee Brewers jersey. It’s a Ryan Braun 4XL in excellent condition. Asking $75 or best offer; includes shipping. Contact Monty Cassellius at 315 Illinois St., Eau Claire, WI 54703; phone (715) 579-9182; e-mail Will.ben.chase.sam@gmail.com; or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/montycassellius.

New App to Help Eliminate Blindness 

 HelpMeSee, a global campaign to eliminate cataract blindness, has successfully tested a pre-release version of its GIS-GPS app for community mobilization. The mobile app, currently for use on Android devices, will allow community health workers to better locate patients, map the incidence of cataract blindness, and connect patients to partner specialists who can provide care.
 
The system can define the geographic market for each clinic location and maintain epidemiologic information on the prevalence of cataract blindness. It will also integrate with the campaign’s surgical reporting system to monitor patients and validate successful outcomes.
 
HelpMeSee’s campaign team worked in close collaboration with community-level surgical teams and village-level health workers to test the app in rural India. Health workers found it to be much faster than the systems currently in place, which are largely paper-based. They can now gather essential patient information and location details, including specific GPS coordinates and altitude data, and transmit them to the hospital remotely.
 
Once identified, patients are connected to nearby health facilities where they can receive Manual Small Incision Cataract Surgery (MSICS) to remove cataracts and implant a new, artificial lens in their eye. The app will also facilitate patient care through follow-up tracking, allowing community workers to locate patients weeks after surgery to check their health and surgical outcome.