Amazon Alexa now supports RealSam digital hub for blind people

Blind and visually impaired people across the UK can now access the RealSam Smart Speaker via their Amazon Alexa device. The RealSam digital hub provides visually impaired people with access to information and entertainment with the aim of supporting their independence and everyday enjoyment. Subscribers will benefit from an AI assistant that guides people through its library of content.

Users will also gain access to the dedicated hub for blind and visually impaired people, providing them with over 27,000 books, newspapers, podcasts, radio stations and more content from Calibre Audio – a national charity that lends audiobooks to anyone who is print disabled.

Tips for people with diabetes to manage their eye health

Here are six ways diabetic patients can manage their eye health:
Regulate your blood sugar: Diabetic patients should keep a close check on their blood sugar and make sure it does not get too high. High blood sugar can change the shapes of lens, which leads to blurry vision. It can also damage the blood vessels in the eyes.
Maintain your cholesterol levels: If a diabetic patient has high cholesterol, they are at a higher risk of developing eye problems such as diabetic retinopathy or macular degeneration. By regulating your cholesterol level, you lower the likelihood of developing any of this.
Avoid smoking cigarettes: Smoking cigarettes not only destroys your lungs, but it is also bad for your eyes. Individuals who smoke are at a higher risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.

Exercise regularly: Exercise is a great way to stay healthy and regulate your diabetes. Diabetic patients who exercise on a regular basis have a much better chance of maintaining their blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Have a healthy diet: Having a healthy diet throughout your life is key in keeping your eyes and body healthy. Certain food like carrot have proved to promote healthy vision. Try to consume food that are rich in green leafy vegetables and Omega 3’s.

Get a comprehensive eye exam on regular intervals: One of the best things you can do for vision is to get a comprehensive eye examination done on regular intervals. Many common eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma have no symptoms in the early stages and hence the doctor can examine thoroughly for any kind of nerve damage during your visit.

Managing eye health is crucial for people suffering from diabetes. Controlling diabetes is the key for it. The sooner you take actions and work towards controlling your diabetes, the better.

Amazon Alexa launches ‘Call RNIB Helpline’

Amazon is launching the “Alexa, call RNIB Helpline” Alexa feature, which is one of the latest Alexa functions following on from a collaboration with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

 Customers who need the service simply need to say “Alexa, call RNIB helpline”. The helpline opening hours are Monday – Friday 8am-8pm; Saturday 9am – 1pm. Between these hours, an RNIB advisor will answer your call and offer support to those who need it.

New 4G phone available through RNIB

Emporia Telecom has launched its latest feature phone, the Emporia TALKactive, with the phone to be sold exclusively through the Royal National Institute of Blind People.

The clamshell handset has been designed specifically for blind and partially sighted older people with the phone featuring voice assist. Emporia’s latest model is an adaption of its ACTIVEglam phone that launched in the UK last year and is priced at £125. It comes with 4G connectivity and has additional spoken menus, buttons, SMS text to assist users with sight loss. Other features include a 2MP camera and a charging cradle, so users don’t have to insert the USB-C into the charger port.

As will all Emporia handsets, users will receive print instructions inside. This model will come large print instructions, braille or audio, produced by Emporia and RNIB.

Further education providers failing blind and partially sighted young people

BLIND and partially sighted students are being failed by a lack of support at FE. They are often denied the educational opportunities open to their fully-sighted peers, dramatically impacting their futures.

Barriers include inadequate provision of accessible course materials such as lecture notes and books; students not being given suitable assistive technology; inaccessible exams and assessments using platforms incompatible with assistive technology; students not receiving the level and type of specialist in-class support they require; and a general lack of awareness within mainstream FE providers on how to support blind and partially sighted students.

Further details here:

New research to identify those at risk of macular degeneration

New research into octopus vision has led to a quick and easy test that helps optometrists identify people who are at greater risk of macular degeneration, the leading cause of incurable sight loss.

Cooking tips for blind people

People with visual impairments and other disabilities can face challenges cooking but a growing number of services, guides and technologies can help make the kitchen a safe, accessible space.

A list of online resources can be found here:

Thousands could go blind as eye check-ups drop by a third over pandemic

Experts warns that thousands risk losing their sight as the NHS reports a 36% fall in appointments for eye conditions over the pandemic. More details: