Two Blind Brothers

Sometimes solving big challenges takes new thinking.

That’s the idea behind the tee-shirt company Two Blind Brothers. TBB make ultra-soft designer clothes using natural fibers — trendy cuts in bright colors, built with the sole purpose of funding blindness research. “Our shirts feel seriously good,” they say on their website. “Curing blindness feels even better.”

The company quite literally is built around two blind brothers: Bradford and Bryan Manning were both diagnosed at a young age with Stargardt disease, a form of juvenile macular degeneration that causes blindness over time. They are both legally blind now, with 20/400 vision. But Stargardt disease generally affects the center of vision, leaving peripheral vision unaffected, so both brothers are able to get around without a white cane or guide dog. They do struggle to read small text and recognizing faces, however.

Their visual impairment left them both with an acute attention to detail, which Two Blind Brothers says is apparent in every product. They make shirts for both men and women that retail for between $35 and $105. They also sell a number of accessories like rings and bracelets emblazoned with “Love is blind” in Braille.

But their business only begins with clothes and accessories. The heart of Two Blind Brothers is in the scientific research made possible through every sale: After TBB sells their designer tees, 100 percent of their profits go to research for curing blindness. “The development of a cure requires time and funding,” they say on their website, and funding is something they can help with. “Last year alone our customers helped us fund 30,678 hours of clinical studies through Foundation Fighting Blindness.”

“We’re in business to cure blindness.”

Making a difference sometimes takes a bit of creativity. Two Blind Brothers are making it happen.

All it takes is a little vision.

Look To Your Future

Here at Rides in Sight we take vision seriously. We understand how hard it can be to find transportation for anyone suffering from vision impairment. That is why we are committed to helping you find transportation anywhere in the country — because no one should get stuck at home when it comes time for an eye care appointment, a doctor’s visit or any other crucial errand. Our service is free, available both by phone (1-855-607-4337) and through our website.

But this important work is more than any one organization can tackle alone. Luckily there are others out there dedicated to the cause of vision health. One of our favorites is the website Look to Your Future, a one-stop resource for people living with low vision. Built for anyone starting to notice changes in their vision as well as those already diagnosed with retinal diseases like Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration, also known as Wet AMD, or Diabetic Macular Edema, or DME, Look to Your Future has information that can help. And their site is thoughtfully designed with viewing enhancements like larger font sizes and high contrast, ensuring visually-impaired audiences can navigate the content with ease.

Look to Your Future isn’t new, but their site just underwent a major refresh. The updated site features:

A new tool that helps identify symptoms of certain retinal diseases

A guide to help prepare for your next eye doctor’s visit

Caregiver support specific to Wet AMD and DME

A series of 11 educational videos featuring top retina specialists offering expert commentary about spotting, managing and living with Wet AMD (Examples here and here)

Downloadable resources and tools, including tips for everyday living customized for caregivers and patients with Wet AMD and for caregivers and patients with DME

An overview of additional tools and resources, such as mentor programs and advocacy groups, which can be found under both the Wet AMD and DME sections of the site

New, regularly updated multimedia content

Look to Your Future is a tremendous resource for anyone looking for more information on retinal disease, with a full suite of tools to help people living with low vision or a retinal disease and their loved ones. And in addition to the website, visitors are encouraged to download the Look to Your Future brochure for Wet AMD and DME (both available in 6 languages) and join the Look To Your Future Facebook community.

This is what it means to prioritize your vision. Rides in Sight and Look to Your Future can help you get there.

A Pressing Need

There’s no doubt about the need.

Almost no matter where you go there is a shortage of transportation options for older people. Getting from point A to point B without a car of your own can be impossibly hard in some places. There are just too few services for older people, visually impaired people and people suffering from limited mobility. For those without easy access to their own set of wheels, getting where they want to go can be an ongoing ordeal.

But sometimes transportation isn’t about where people want to go. Sometimes transportation is a need, not a want. And it can be critical, the difference between living and dying. CBS News recently highlighted just such a need in Charlotte, N.C., where many cancer patients are caught navigating mobility hurdles while undergoing chemotherapy. The son of one patient, a man named Zach Bolster, quit his job in New York to help his mom make her appointments, and with every drive to the clinic he noticed her transportation issues were not unique. So he started a service called ChemoCars, which partners with rideshare companies to ensure cancer patients don’t have to miss appointments or treatments because of a difficulty finding rides. ChemoCars is free and covers the full cost of patients’ rides. Their motto: Our clients battle cancer, not traffic.

“Cancer can be scary and feel uncontrollable,” Bolster told CBS News. “We want to take this one piece of the process, transportation, and make it simple so they can focus on what matters most, getting better.”

ChemoCars is only currently available in Charlotte, N.C., but it’s a great example of one of the many ways people are working to solve transportation issues that plague people without cars in cities and towns across the U.S. ChemoCars is a nonprofit serving a crucial need, a need that can mean life to its riders.

Rides in Sight aims to address just such needs, ensuring everyone everywhere with limited mobility has full access to life. A full and meaningful life is a mobile life, and whether you’re in Oklahoma, North Dakota, Alaska or Alabama, Rides in Sight can offer transportation options to help you or your loved one get to where they need to go. Visit our website, or call us at 1-855-607-4337. Our database contains more than 15,000 ride service organizations. Need a ride? We can help. If anyone can find an organization in your area that gives rides, we can. Our databases are constantly updated, with new services appearing all the time. Our representatives are standing by to assist you.

And as always, Rides in Sight is completely free. Because there is no doubt about the need.

Simple, Efficient, Effective

Happy World Braille Day!

January 4 is the birthday of 19th century French educator and inventor Louis Braille. Blinded at a young age by an accident and subsequent infection, Louis Braille was 15 when he developed the system of writing that bears his name. His creation turned a series of raised dots into letters, enabling blind and visually impaired people to read and write with speed and efficiency. Braille has offered the written word to millions for nearly two centuries. First presented in 1824, braille is now in use worldwide, and it remains virtually unchanged from Louis Braille’s original iteration.

Braille is a simple technology, and it changes lives. Prior to its invention books for the blind were cumbersome, expensive and impossibly slow to read. But now a set of fingers can glide over the page and take in whole sentences, paragraphs and stories with ease.

Simple. Efficient. Effective. These are the qualities that made braille revolutionary. Here at Rides in Sight, we strive every day to emulate those qualities. We make it easy to find transportation options, coast-to-coast and border-to-border, in any community across the United States. Our database of 15,000 ride service organizations is available free online, searchable by anyone at

But not everyone who needs our help is internet savvy, so Rides in Sight also maintains a toll free number — 1 (855) 607-4337 — staffed with trained customer service representatives from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Our customer service specialists provide quick responses about local transportation options. Ninety-five percent of callers receive a referral to at least one transportation option and 70 percent receive more than one option. If you need a ride, call us. We can help.

And in honor of simple, efficient, effective solutions old and new, Happy World Braille Day too!

Ride Stories

Here at Rides in Sight we answer phone calls every day from people searching for transportation. Ours is the largest and best database of ride services anywhere. These are stories of actual calls, only the names have been changed.

This week we helped Karen, an elderly woman in Dover, New Hampshire, find rides eye doctor appointments. Karen needed a second operation on her eyes, but, “I can’t get there because I can’t drive,” she said. A Rides in Sight customer service specialist researched the Seacoast region of New Hampshire and found two organizations that provide rides to seniors in the Dover area.

“My focus right now is getting my sight back,” Karen said, “but I didn’t have any way to get there. When I found the Rides in Sight pamphlet I called immediately. This is amazing, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this!”

Now that she’s aware of the transportation options in her area Karen will not have to worry about getting to her eye appointments.

15,000+ ride service options. One hotline.

The Gift of Sight

Over time, things grow fuzzy: clouded vision, faded colors, lights too bright or haloed, failing night vision, double vision. These are the symptoms of cataracts, a clouding of the eye lens that touches more than half of all Americans by the time they reach age 80. An easily treatable condition, left untended it can lead to blindness. Cataract removal is simple, one of the most common operations in the United States, a safe and effective surgery that leaves roughly 90 percent of patients with better vision afterward.

But the majority of cases are not in the United States. Worldwide 18 million people suffer from cataracts, most of whom live in the developing world, where access to medical treatment can be scarce. So despite being easily treatable, cataracts plague the vision of millions worldwide.

Enter the Himalayan Cataract Project, a nonprofit launched in 1995 by two eye doctors, Sanduk Ruit and Geoff Tabin. Ruit is a Nepali-born doctor who studied in India before going to the Netherlands and Australia on fellowships. He then returned to Nepal with dreams of reviving sight in his home nation. He worked with international colleagues to develop low-cost lens replacements and set up a factory in Katmandu to manufacture them. He also refined techniques that cut surgical times drastically. Suddenly a surgery that cost thousands in the developed world was available in Nepal for $25. The paradigm of available sight had shifted.

The Himalayan Cataract Project has since completed 600,000 cataract surgeries across the developing world, from Nepal to India and Ethiopia to Myanmar. And in addition to surgical work they have led an eye health educational campaign in Nepal to let people across the country know they can escape being trapped by cataracts. Blindness there has subsequently dropped from one blind person for every 100 people to less than 0.2 percent. With the Himalayan Cataract Project, things don’t have to grow fuzzy.

Simple solutions have the power to surmount barriers to healthy vision. The Himalayan Cataract Project is dedicated to making a difference across the developing world, one set of eyes at a time.

Small fixes can make a big difference at home too: If you find yourself experiencing vision troubles, talk to your eye care professional. Early detection can be instrumental in producing a positive outcome.

And as always, if you need assistance getting there, a ride to reach your eye doctor, call Rides in Sight. We can help. Simple solutions surmount barriers to healthy vision.

Diabetes and Your Eyes

November is American Diabetes Month, a month aimed at focusing attention on the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes affects more than 30 million Americans, causing health complications like heart disease, kidney failure and lower-extremity amputations. It hits seniors particularly hard — roughly one in four Americans 65 or older suffer from diabetes — and it can cause blindness and other vision problems.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology has its own campaign designed to focus special attention on eye conditions exacerbated by diabetes, such as glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month piggybacks on American Diabetes Month, but with vision in mind.

Glaucoma, for example, is 40 percent more likely among diabetes patients than the general population. Caused by a building of pressure within the eye, according to the American Diabetes Association, glaucoma causes blood vessels to the retina and optic nerve to pinch, resulting in gradual vision loss. The longer a person has diabetes the more likely they are to develop glaucoma.

Cataracts, meanwhile, are common in older people, but those with diabetes face a 60 percent greater chance of developing them. Cataracts are the clouding of the eye’s lens, which can leave vision blurry, or dark, or affect night vision, or leave lights haloed. People with diabetes tend to get cataracts younger than people without diabetes, and the condition progresses faster. Doctors can perform surgery to address cataracts, but people with diabetes suffer greater post-surgical risks.

Then there is diabetic retinopathy, the most common eye condition tied to diabetes. It affects more than 5 million Americans and is potentially blinding. Diabetic retinopathy occurs as blood vessels inside the retina becoming damaged, leading to fluid leakage into the retina. Retinopathy can cause severe vision loss, but if detected early there are treatment options. The best outcomes occur when retinopathy is discovered early, before it affects vision, which takes an eye care professional to notice.

Which is perhaps the most important point of Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month: to safeguard their vision, people with diabetes need to be extra vigilant. They need to schedule regular eye exams, monitor their blood sugar levels and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Diabetes carries real risks to vision, but if approached carefully they are often manageable. November is meant to serve as a reminder to look those challenges square on and move forward. Healthy vision requires it.

And as always, if you need a ride to an eye care appointment, Rides in Sight is just a call or a click away. When it comes to supporting healthy vision, we can help, no matter where you are.

Ride Stories

Here at Rides in Sight we answer phone calls every day from people searching for transportation. Ours is the largest and best database of ride services anywhere. These are stories of actual calls, only the names have been changed.

Last month Rides in Sight helped a legally blind 75-year-old woman named Beth find transportation in Montgomery County, Penn. Beth lives without family in the area and is legally blind. She needed rides for medical appointments, so Beth called Rides in Sight to ask about local transportation options. Rides in Sight found Beth two options in her area: a county-operated senior minibus service, and a non-profit organization that assists blind and visually impaired adults with transportation and other vital needs. Rides in Sight’s up-to-date information about low-cost transportation options enabled Beth to solve her issue of rides to her upcoming medical appointments quickly and easily.

15,000+ ride service options. One hotline.

The Clarity of Vision

Vision. It’s our central sense, the one we rely on most heavily for nearly everything we do, from walking to cooking to recognizing the face of a friend. Vision keeps us on track in everyday life.

But for many Americans, clear vision is elusive. As we age, our vision may cloud and deteriorate. But it’s not just age that gets us. Even among young people sharp eyes aren’t universal. And according to research, the problem is getting worse. The National Eye Institute reports that least 1/3 of Americans are nearsighted. And a 2009 study found the prevalence of nearsightedness (myopia) in people 12 to 54 shot up by roughly 66 percent between the 1970s and the early 2000s. Vision is precious, but it’s becoming more blurry.

The authors of the study hypothesize the overall decline in American vision may be due to something called “near work,” or vision tasks that take place close to the eyes. “Individuals who spend considerable time reading, working at a computer, or doing other intense close visual work may be more likely to develop myopia,” according to the American Optometric Association. The authors of the 2009 study suggest increases in education might be responsible for the uptick they saw, as more time is now spent reading and researching both in books and on computers.

And if that is the case, the situation could be poised to get even worse. The 2009 study looked at data from the 1970s and compared it to 1999-2004. The smartphone, meanwhile, was launched in 2007, ushering a whole new era of ever-increasing screen time (which is a category of near work).

Eye doctors have a number of suggestions in this near-work-intensive computer age for maintaining eye health, beginning with the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes take a 20-second break from staring at the screen and look at something 20 feet away. This is an important habit for people to develop who spend long hours on the computer.

But there are other factors as well. Too much computer work is often called digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome — eyes that suffer from working harder than they should have to for long periods of time. Such eye strain can be reduced by observing the 20-20-20 rule, by addressing poor lighting and screen glare and by adjusting viewing distance and seating posture. Also, it is important to see an eye care professional to address any uncorrected vision problems.

Lastly, remember these factors can also affect children, who, like adults, are spending more and more time looking at screens.

“Sitting for hours in front of a computer screen stresses a child’s eyes because the computer forces the child’s vision system to focus and strain a lot more than any other task,” according to Gary Heiting and Larry K. Wan, optometrists who write for “This can put children at an even greater risk than adults for developing symptoms of computer vision syndrome.”

The guidelines for adults also apply to children. Parents might additionally consider limiting their child’s screen time for the health of their eyes.

Because healthy eyes are a lifelong treasure.

Ride Stories

Here at Rides in Sight we answer phone calls every day from people searching for transportation. Ours is the largest and best database of ride services anywhere. These are stories of actual calls, only the names have been changed.

This week we helped legally blind 57-year-old woman named Amy find transportation in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Amy is extremely self-sufficient, able to do everything except drive. She called Rides in Sight looking for a local ride service, and luckily she lives in the service area of one of our ITN affiliates, ITNCentralOklahoma, which serves senior citizens and visually impaired adults in the Oklahoma City region. Through ITN Amy can access arm-through-arm, door-through-door rides for any purpose at a reasonable fare.

In addition to ITN, Rides in Sight recommended the local ADA para-transit service, a curb-to-curb minibus that costs just a few dollars each way. Amy said she’d try out both options to see which one she liked better, and was grateful for the referrals.

15,000+ ride service options. One hotline.