Saturday, August 28, 2010

"Vision Impairment: Racial & Ethnic Differences" *I thought I would share this with my readers.*

**I grabbed this article from the Lighthouse International's website. Even though most of the data is over 10 years old, I thought I would still share. I seriously doubt if these disparities have disappeared since the time these stats were recorded.**

•Based on findings from The Lighthouse National Survey on Vision Loss (The Lighthouse Inc., 1995), among persons age 45 and older, those who report some form of vision problem are more likely to be non-Caucasian (23%) in comparison to those who report no vision impairment (17%).

•African-Americans have a higher rate of legal blindness than Caucasians, but much of this difference may be due to poor access to appropriate eye care services (Prevent Blindness America, 1994, p.3).

•The Baltimore Eye Survey found that the overall age-adjusted rates of visual impairment among African-Americans was twice that of whites (Tielsch, Sommer, Witt, Katz, & Royall, 1990).

•Data from the 1991-92 Survey of Income and Program Participation indicate that a higher proportion of African-Americans have visual impairments than do Caucasians. Although African-Americans comprise 12% of the U.S. population, among persons with visual impairments 18% are African-Americans and among those with a severe visual impairment 21% are African-Americans (Schmeidler & Halfmann, 1998a, p.539).

•The Los Angeles Latino Eye Study (LALES) found that the rates of vision impairment in Latinos are higher than those reported in Whites and comparable to those reported in Blacks (National Eye Institute, 2004).


•The overall prevalence of open-angle glaucoma among Latinos in the Los Angeles Latino Eye Study (LALES) was nearly five percent. This is higher than the rate reported for Whites and similar to that for Blacks in this country (National Eye Institute, 2004).

•Based on findings from the Baltimore Eye Survey, the prevalence of blindness due to glaucoma is 4 to 6 times higher among African-Americans than Caucasians (Tielsch, Sommer, Witt, Katz, & Royall, 1990).

•Almost 4% of African-Americans (409,643) (age 40 and over) are reported to have glaucoma as compared to about 1.7% of Caucasians (1.6 million) and 1.5% of Hispanics (131,654) (Prevent Blindness America, 2002).

•Research on a population-based sample found that glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness among Hispanics (Rodriguez, 2002).

Diabetic Retinopathy

•The Los Angeles Latino Eye Study (LALES) found that almost one-half of all study participants with diabetes-almost a quarter of the LALES population-had some signs of diabetic retinopathy. Latinos had a higher rate of more severe vision-threatening diabetic retinopathy than Whites (National Eye Institute, 2004).

•According to Prevent Blindness America (2002), before age 40, diabetic retinopathy affects Caucasians more frequently than other races, however Hispanics are the most commonly affected in later decades.

•Mexican Americans are almost twice as likely and non-Hispanic blacks are almost 50% as likely to develop diabetic retinopathy as non-Hispanic whites (American Diabetes Association, n.d., b).

Macular Degeneration

•The Los Angeles Latino Eye Study (LALES) found that while Latinos had the early signs of AMD at rates comparable to Whites, the rates of advanced AMD were lower than seen in Whites and comparable to Blacks (National Eye Institute, 2004).

•Age-specific prevalence rates of age-related macular degeneration are initially comparable between races, however advance more significantly for Caucasians after age 75 (Prevent Blindness America, 2002, p.18).

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

22 Random Facts About Angie (Part 1 of 2)

1. I'm a proud Cancer. I know that many Christian organizations suggest that Astrological signs are not of God. However, I have found that many of the characteristics of individuals born in a certain month match the description of the characteristics of the signs. I don't know if there is a science to Astrology. However, I do believe that there is some truth to it.

2. Although I've traveled from the left to the right coast, I've never been outside of the 48 connected states. So, here's a freebee. I've never been on a cruise.

3. I was diagnosed with Uveitis when I was eight years old. Two years later, I was diagnosed with Glaucoma.

4. I used to have to get steroid shots in my eyes to treat the Uveitis.

5. My daddy used to give me $20 to motivate me to bravely sit still while the doctor was lowering the needle into my eyeball.

6. I refuse to drink tap water. Yeah, I know that they say the water in many of the plastic bottles come from tap. I guess it's just a mental thing.

7. When I was a child, I prided myself in having beautiful cursive writing skills. Both of my parents print and write in cursive beautifully.

8. I love watching old shows like, Three's Company, The Jeffersons, A Different World, The Cosby Show, and Good Times. I guess it's because I remember how the people looked that are on the show. It's like I'm actually still "watching" the shows, even though I can't see anymore.

9. I hate the taste of Dr. Pepper, raw celery, raw onion, and coconut.

10. I've worn the same size shoe since I was 12-years-old. If you're interested in buying me a pair of shoes, you should know that it is a size 7.

11. I hate it when people call my cane a stick.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What the heck is acting blind?

Earlier this week, I visited the doctor’s office to get what is supposed to be an annual physical for the first time in three years. Because the medical group that I’ve been using since I’ve been an adult stopped taking my health insurance, I was forced to find a new stranger to conduct my well woman’s exam. Oh well… I guess using a stranger to probe your private space keeps it impersonal. So, I guess this new doctor situation can work for me.

After signing in at the front desk, I sat down in the waiting area with my sister, Kim. While we were waiting, Kim assisted me in filling out the medical history paperwork the docs always give you when you’re a new patient.

First of all, I’m so glad that no one else was in the waiting area. I hate telling whoever I’m with all of my medical history in front of others. There’s no privacy in that. Secondly, I actually sometimes hate having to tell my sister or whoever I’m with certain things to help them answer the questions on the questionnaire. What if there’s something quite personal that I want to keep a secret? My personal business is being exposed to others, simply because I can’t read and write print. They need to find some kind of way to allow the patient to fill out those forms with one of the staff or through electronic means. **My two pennies on that…**

Well, moving on… The above is really not the purpose of this blog post.

After filling out the paperwork, the nurse called me to come to the back. She asked me all those basic screening questions, and then left me to wait for the doctor.

Five to ten minutes passed; then this very friendly female doctor entered the room and shook my hand. I believe that’s when she noticed I couldn’t see. It was the way she paused and glared down at me before saying anything else.

She turned to start reading some of my information on the computer. Then she turned around and asked me what was the extent of my blindness. I told her that my eyesight was completely gone due to an awful bout with Glaucoma.

She then looked at me and said, “Wow. You don’t act blind at all. That’s great.”

I was like, “Oh really?”

I couldn’t believe that this doctor, a highly educated, professional, modern American woman, would say such a thing.

“I don’t act blind? How does a blind person act?” I silently wondered.

I guess the fake smile on my face wasn’t convincing. She retracted her comment and said, “Well, how does a person act blind anyway? I’m just saying you don’t act like you can’t see.”

“Oh that’s better, doc! I don’t act blind. I just don’t act like someone that can’t see. Hmm...” I thought

You can imagine how amazed she was when she found out more about me. She nearly fell out of her chair when I told her that I am an adjunct prof at a college.

“Oh, so you’ve gone to college and everything? Very good! You've done very well.”

After she finished conducting my medical interview, the impressed doctor shook my hand and told me how proud she was of me. For what it was worth, I accepted her sincere praise with a bashful smile and a modest thank you.

She politely handed me the robe I was supposed to put on after taking my clothes off. She hesitated a little after that. I was wondering if she wanted to watch me undress. Not in a perverted way, but as someone that was curious about how a blind person actually does things, such as dressing and undressing. After I stood and waited, without taking my clothes off, she exited the room to give me some privacy.

Despite how uncomfortable she made me feel about being blind, I will be seeing this doctor again. She gave me the most comfortable physical I ever had. LOL I can deal with a lack of understanding of the blind as long as you don’t hurt me when you’re examining me.

To read more entries from Angela Braden's personal diary, visit her award winning blog, NuVision for a NuDay.

Monday, August 09, 2010

You should check this out!!!! A Possible Opportunity to be Published

Call for Proposals: Disability in America: Voices of a New Generation

Ari Ne’eman and Stacey Milbern, Co-Editors

Deadline: January 15, 2011

This year, the disability community is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), civil rights law that protects the rights of disabled people.
Growing up in a post-ADA America has meant that many of us have had access to more opportunities than previous generations. We know if we had been born in 1967 instead of 1987 our lives would look completely different. We know the history of our people is tainted by eugenics, ableism, lack of access and the sting of low expectations. We recognize the work that has been done by disability movements over the last century to make the current lives we live possible. We are proud to be members of this vibrant, breathing, community.

Although the struggle continues, we recognize that the realities of disabled people look vastly different in many ways. With this in mind, we are requesting proposals for chapters in a book-length anthology to document this legacy and record the stories of disabled young people
talking about what it is to grow up with a disability in this day and age.

Part One of our anthology will attempt to explore how a new generation experiences these age old challenges, affording a chance to assess how far we have really come. Part Two of our anthology asks disabled young people to identify what our struggle looks like now.

We’re seeking a diversity of perspectives and topics. A few questions we pose as food for thought:
What does it look like to navigate the medical system?
What is it like trying to find and keep a job as a young person with a disability today?
How are mental health challenges and psychiatric impairments approached by family members?
Do students still have to choose between support and inclusion?
What is the impact of pity and charity?
How do we survive the traumas we experience by people who say they are helping us, whether this is in schools, in doctor’s offices, our places of worship, or within our support systems?
How do people with less visible disabilities choose whether or not to disclose?
How has the nature of “passing” changed or not changed?
How do we fight eugenics, with its many faces?
How do we work with personal assistant services and our support systems?
How is disability portrayed differently in American society?
How are media, and pop culture representations of disability viewed by the new generation of young people with disabilities?
What do our relationships and sex lives look like?
How do we find community?

We are seeking creative non-fiction essays from young people with disabilities ages 13-30 (some flexibility will be available for compelling submissions from individuals slightly outside our preferred age range). People with all types of disabilities are welcome to submit. Speaking from personal experience is strongly encouraged. The intent of this project is to use personal voices to capture the experience of the new generation of young people with disabilities.

Submissions should range from 2,000 to 5,000 words. Please include your address, phone number, e-mail address and a short bio on the manuscript.

Proposals are due by e-mail to to January 15, 2011 but we encourage and will consider for approval early submissions. Please e-mail co-editors Stacey Milbern and Ari Ne’eman at with questions.

**I thought the above may be of some interest to some of my readers. I encourage you to consider submitting your story/perspective. I know I plan to submit several proposals. Good luck!**

Friday, August 06, 2010

This Truly Doesn't Happen Often

When I have an awful experience, I quickly try to search through the rubble and find whatever life lesson that may have come along with the bad experience. Then I try to lock the negative memory away in the dungeon of my ever-expansive castle of personal memories. I'm not a person that likes to relive the experience by thinking about the memory over and over again. So, because I can't forever get rid of the memory, I try to lock it away and handcuff it to a part of my brain that is seldom visited. Last week, I had one of those experiences that created a memory that will for sure get stored in that cold, dark dungeon in my head.

Unfortunately, I can't go into detail here on my blog. What I witnessed is now a legal issue. Perhaps once it's resolved, I will write about it in detail. But until then, I will say that it was perhaps one of the most horrific experiences of my 30+ years.

The memory of this experience is so strong. All of my available senses participated in capturing this event. The only thing that stopped me from fully experiencing the heinous moment was my blindness. Because I could not see, I've been spared of having a visual memory of this experience.

Thank God!

I never would've thought I would've said that.

Here's what's interesting. Because I'm the one that couldn't see the various parts of the ordeal, I'm the one that focuses on all of the other vivid experiences that were perceived with the other four senses. I remember the hideous smell in the hot, moist air. I remember the needle poking pain of the tiny ants biting my feet as we stood in the soggy grass. I remember the taste of my tears and sweat as they rolled down my face to the corners of my mouth. I remember all the sounds that circled us as we stood, trapped in the middle of this mind blowing experience.

Everyone else in my family mostly speaks of what they saw. I'm haunted by what I heard, tasted, felt, and smelled. And unfortunately, the memory is still so fresh.

I'm so glad that these blind eyes of mine benefited me that day by making it impossible to have a visual memory of July 28, 2010.
**applauding for the broken eyes**
My blind eyes did me a favor this one time.



To read more entries from Angela's personal diary, feel free to visit her award winning blog!