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May is Healthy Vision Awareness Month

Posted at 5:22 PM, May 13, 2021

Dr. Calvin Roberts is a professor of Ophthalmology as well as the president CEO of the Light House Guild. They have two offices one in Niagara Falls and one in Buffalo where they do something called adult day health care and they take of people who are blind and visually impaired who have other health problems.

It is important to have your vision checked regularly he says because so many of the most serious eye problems, like cataracts, glaucoma, macular generation have few if any symptoms until they get really advanced and the only way they can be diagnosed is by going to the eye doctor and have the eye doctor make a good examination of your eyes. Dr. Roberts says so often he sees people who waited too long, and he feels badly because they have permanent vision loss and he thinks to himself my gosh if they only came earlier, we could have done something to prevent it.

He says the thing that is really key these days is our use of computers. A couple of things that happen when we stare at screens are we get eye fatigue, we get eye strain and we get something called dry eye because when we stare we don’t blink as often. When we don’t blink as often, our eyes dry out.

Dr. Roberts has two tips for people. The first is while you are on the computer, say every 20 minutes, just look away from the computer. Look out the window, look at something far just to change your gaze. The other thing he asks people to do is to think about just trying to blink more often. Blink more often to keep the eyes lubricated. He says you’ll see it will make it much easier to spend the day on the computer.

When asked about blue blockers Dr. Roberts says a lot of people have tried blue blockers and they have helped some people and they don’t help others. When asked if he recommends blue blockers, he says they don’t hurt and if you try them and they help you, that’s great.

Dr. Roberts says one area he is so super interested in is the whole area of assisted devices. He says like never before new technologies like augmented reality, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, program learning, 5G are just so primed to help people who are blind and visually impaired and we have these new assistive technologies like the OrCam MyEye which converts text into audio. He says what happens is that it can read for you. It can read a page; it can read a screen; it recognizes faces and recognizes products. All you need to do is point at what you want it to see or give it voice commands and it will read for you. Dr. Roberts says what they are trying to do with assistive technology is make it easy to use and give people greater independence.

For more information you can visit orcam.com by clicking here.