Smart Apps Enhance the World for the Visually Impaired

HERBS FOR HEALTH MANAGEMENT

Herbs are a foundational root in medicine and health treatments, dating back thousands of years throughout every culture around the world. Modern Western herbalism comes from ancient Egypt. The Greeks developed a comprehensive philosophy of herbal medicine by 100 BCE and the Romans built upon it to create a variety of medical practices, some of which are still used today.

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE IMPACTS PSYCHOLOGICAL HARDINESS

Psychological hardiness is an individual’s resistance to stress, anxiety and depression. It includes the ability to withstand grief and accept the loss of loved ones. Alternative medicine is a more popular term for health and wellness therapies that have typically not been part of conventional Western medical approaches but are often used along with conventional medicinal protocols.  Coping and dealing with stress in a positive manner play a major role in maintaining the balance needed for health and well-being.

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ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES FOR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION

Interest in complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasing as consumers and health care professionals search for additional ways to treat anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. Some of these remedies include:

St. John’s Wort.  More than 30 studies show it to be effective for treatment of mild forms of depression,…

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The NantMobile Money Reader is for blind or visually impaired people who have difficulty recognizing currency. It tells the denomination and helps make sure you’re paying the proper amount at the cash register. It can also check that you receive the right amount of change. This app supports more than 20 currencies and several languages.


If you want to know what visually impaired people experience, the Braille Institute developed VisionSim to give people with healthy vision a chance to see what the world looks like to someone with macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, cataracts or other eye diseases. It applies special filters to simulate the symptoms of these diseases.


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SMART APPS ENHANCE THE WORLD FOR THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED

Self-monitoring is an important ingredient in the future of health care. An Amsler Grid app can test and monitor vision changes related to macular degeneration or other distortion in a person’s vision field resulting from damage to the macula. For individuals who are losing some ability to see things normally, some SMART apps may offer assistance. One is the Big Clock HD. This app will provide a larger figure of a clock for telling time. It also displays the date in regional format and has a programmable timer-based alarm.


Other SMART apps assist in magnifying what you are reading. EyeCBest is a Web browser that increases the readability of Web sites and is fully customizable – the user can change the font, size and boldness of any Web site text. The iRead app, a magnifier designed by an ophthalmologist, can enlarge and brighten reading material such as a menu in a dim restaurant. For people who need a magnifying glass but cannot take it everywhere, there is a Magnifying Glass app – just point your phone to the object being viewed and the app will magnify it. The application has a light as well and can also freeze-frame what you’re reading. The Magnifying Glass with Light for Apple devices is great for magnifying small font on menus, medicine bottles, receipts and more.

DR. THOMAS W. MILLER, PH.D, ABPP

Thomas W. Miller, Ph.D., ABPP, is a Professor Emeritus and Senior Research Scientist, Center for Health, Intervention and Prevention, University of Connecticut and Professor, Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine and Department of Gerontology, College of Public Health, University of Kentucky.

more articles by Dr thomas w. miller

What does it mean to be visually impaired? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a visually impaired person’s eyesight cannot be corrected to a “normal” level. Visual impairment is the functional limitation of the eyes or visual system. Like the term legally blind, visual impairment is not a functional definition; it is a classification system. It does not tells us much about what a person can and cannot see.


Eye disease causes low vision. This is when visual acuity is 20/70 or poorer in the better-seeing eye and cannot be corrected or improved with regular eyeglasses (Whittaker and Scheiman, 2015). Visual acuity is a number that indicates the sharpness or clarity of vision. A visual acuity measurement of 20/70 means someone with 20/70 vision who is 20 feet from an eye chart sees what a person with unimpaired (20/20) vision can see from 70 feet away.


A series of apps have been developed that are available for vision impairment. None can substitute for the professional examination of an ophthalmologist or optometrist, but SMART technology provides options for the layperson to review their visual acuity.


EyeXam is available free for both Android and Apple devises. It lets you gain an estimate of your vision against the 20/20 benchmark and also includes tests for color perception, astigmatism and eye dominance.