About mabvi

Pressing Need The number of seniors with low vision is expected to double by 2030, as the “baby boomers” experience sight loss such as glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration. Low vision makes it difficult to complete activities of daily living, puts elders at increased risk of falls, and complicates health care compliance. There is a pressing need for low vision services today more than ever, to ensure people with vision loss can continue to live the lives they want. Elders are the fastest-growing and most vulnerable population of persons with sight loss. Four of the five major causes of blindness are directly related to the aging process: age related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts. According to data published by the Commission for the Blind and the National Society for the Prevention of Blindness, there are an estimated 105,000 elders in Massachusetts with serious sight loss who cannot receive state-funded services because they are not “legally blind.” Nevertheless, their vision impairment is serious, and without appropriate intervention, can have a devastating impact on their independence.

Dangerous Vision:The High Seas with Pauline Dowell


Before Pauline Dowell became legally blind in her 40s she was an artist who loved to sail. After her diagnosis, she needed time to get used to things, but she wasn’t willing to let go of the things she loved.  In the latest Dangerous Vision episode, Pauline talks with Randy Cohen about her love of sailing.  From a casual sail around Boston Harbor to competitive regattas Pauline shares with Randy her decision to stay in the game.  Since she loved sailing so much she decided to make a life choice that she lives with every day.  She lives in Boston Harbor on her sailboat that she shares with her guide dog Dora. 

Pauline credits the Carroll Center in Boston and Courage Sailing’s Blind sailing instructions for giving her the training and confidence to set sail. Pauline inspires others to sail as well.  In 2019 she was a finalist for the Holman Prize, an international prize created to change perceptions about what blind people are capable of doing. Pauline is creating the first all woman’s blind sailing team set to compete in the Newport to Bermuda Regatta.

She encourages everyone who may be going through similar challenges to just go out in the world and find what’s out there! Join clubs like Boston Blind Sailing.  Make sure to challenge yourself daily and set up goals even if they are small goals like going outside or seeing a movie in a theater. 


Boston Blind Sailing

Courageous Sailing

The Carroll Center

The Hadley School


Books/ Media Discussed

Maiden Voyage Tracy Edwards Story

Infinite Jest David Foster Wallace

Strong Motion


Dangerous Vision:Cyrus Habib from Politics to the Priesthood


What does Randy Cohen and Cyrus Habib have in common? Vision lose/blindness is top of mind. Both went to Ivy League schools–Randy went to Harvard and Cyrus to Yale.  But it is something called parliamentary debate that they bond over.   Cyrus opens up about his decision to leave politics, the pull of becoming a Jesuit Priest, and the importance of being a mentor.  Cyrus calls out his friendship with Erik Weihenmayer as being a pivotal relationship in his adult life.  Cyrus encourages us all to be a mentor to someone.

New York Times: A Politician Takes a Sledgehammer to His Own Ego



Wait Wait Please Guide Me–Peter Sagal on running guiding and repeating


Season 2 of Dangerous Vision is about work.  What we do for work,  why we do our work, and what are the barriers that keep some from working. In Episode 1 of Season 2 host Randy Cohen catches up with Peter Sagal.  

To many who listen to him on  NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me he is curious and witty.  To runners, Peter Sagal’s column in Runner’s World offers insight into the sport and a look into how the activity shaped  Peter’s adult life.  Yet running can be dangerous to those who are visually impaired or inaccessible to those living with blindness unless a guide is available. In 2013 and 2014 Peter was a guide with Team With A Vision–the Massachusetts Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired’s marathon team.  In the first episode of Season 2 host, Randy Cohen chats with Peter about how he got into guiding and why he credits it for changing the way he views running. 

The Boston Marathon Virtual Experience happened between September 7-14, in this one-hour LIVESTREAM Event hosted by Peter Sagal learn more about the team past and present. 

Listen to Peter

Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me

Run with Peter

Runner’s World Peter Sagal Column

Read Peter

Peter Sagal the author

Learn About Guiding


Dangerous Vision Presents: Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib, from Braille to Yale


Washington State’s Lieutenant Governor, Cyrus Habib, has made a fast ascent in the world of politics, quickly climbing the rungs of political power–becoming lieutenant governor by the age of 35.  

His ascent impressed people all the more because of his disability. At the age of 8, he lost his sight: A rare cancer forced the removal of both of his retinas. He attended Columbia University. He won a Rhodes scholarship. He graduated from Yale Law. “From Braille to Yale” was how he described this journey.  Last month Habib, now 38, announced that instead of being on the ballot in November for a second term as lieutenant governor, he would soon leave office to become a Roman Catholic priest.

In the final episode of Season 1 of Dangerous Vision Randy and Cyrus talk about this unique career change and  current events that continue to shape our country.  

To Learn More about Cyrus Habib 

Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib: Why I am giving up elected office and joining the Jesuits

Washington Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib will not seek re-election in order to join the Jesuits

A Politician Takes a Sledgehammer to His Own Ego






Dangerous Vision Presents Byron Walker: Gaming for the Blind Gamer


This edition of Dangerous Vision dives deep into the science of music.  Randy’s guest is Byron Walker from Standford’s CCRMA Listening Room. What changes in a musician’s brain after hours and years of daily practice? How do skills that make a great violinist transfer to other abilities? Can directed neuroplasticity be used to target skill learning?  Byron’s knowledge of gaming as a science as directed his passion for creating videogames that are strictly audio.  Byron calls them audio games though, given there’s technically no visual component!

Team See Possibilities is accepting applications for the second round of TSP Scholars. 

• Up to a $5,000 scholarship

• Mentorship through personal interaction with world-class professionals who are vision-impaired

• Peer-to-peer connection through a private group with like-minded vision-impaired Scholars 

For more information and to apply, click here


Dangerous Vision Presents: Dan Berlin, Anything but Vanilla


Dan Berlin is a successful entrepreneur and endurance athlete who happens to be blind.  After more than 12 years of working in large, multi-national corporations, he co-founded Rodelle, a world-leading vanilla extract company which sold to Archer-Daniels-Midland Company in 2018, and subsequently exited as CEO at age 48.  In addition to serving on several non-profit boards, he is a co-founder and President of Team See Possibilities, a non-profit organization which empowers young people with vision loss to thrive by providing scholarship and mentorship to high achieving college students who are vision impaired.  He also enjoys taking on epic endurance challenges around the world, challenging the perception of what a person with vision loss is capable of achieving.  Dan was the first blind runner to complete the 46-mile rim to rim to rim run across the Grand Canyon and back, and has subsequently run over a dozen marathons, Ironman triathlons, as well as trail-ultramarathons in South America, Africa, Asia, and New Zealand. Dan’s passion is finding and uplifting ability in himself and others. 

To learn more about Team See Possibility Scholarships and how to apply click here:


Or have questions for Dan email


Applications are live from March 2-April 30th 2020

Dangerous Vision Presents: Boy Wonder, a conversation with Matthew Shifrin


Innovation comes in all shapes, sizes, and ages.  Meet Matthew Shifrin.  As a 13 year he wanted to do one simple thing–build legos from the directions lego provided.  The directions are pictures of each step, pictures that are not accessible.  In this episode of Dangerous Vision host, Randy Cohen asks Matthew how he got the company to do something about this problem.  Today Matthew is a college at the New England Conservatory of Music majoring in contemporary Improvision.  Matthew is a countertenor and an accomplished accordion player.  This is one Dangerous Vision you must listen to.  For more information go to mabvi.org

Book mentioned:

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

   By Chris Voss


Captain Kirk–President / CEO of AFB


As the president and chief executive officer of the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), Kirk Adams is a longtime champion of people who are blind or visually impaired and is committed to creating a more inclusive, accessible world for the more than 20 million Americans with vision loss.

Randy Cohen jumps into the alphabet soup once again to find out how this AFB is different from NFB (National Federation of the Blind) and ACB (American Council of the Blind). Randy and Kirk talk about research, policy, and creating an app to navigate public bathrooms. What is the novel that they both are reading and love? Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi.  For more information visit www.mabvi.org/resources/dangerous-vision/



Dangerous Vision Presents: New Vision in Architecture


At the age of 45, San Fransicso architect Chris Downey lost his sight.  It was dramatic and sudden yet it didn’t alter Chris’s chosen profession.  In fact, Chris thinks he is a better architect because he designs with inclusion in mind.  In this episode of Dangerous Vision, Randy and Chris talk about how an architect without sight designs, he experiences the building in a much different manner, ie feeling parts of the building and hearing other parts. From loss of sight came a new perspective and the discovery of Outsights – lessons learned that form an expanded vision for architectural work, research, service, and talks.

Chris’s top tech go-to piece continues to be his iPhone as well as Aira. 

Chris has designed 

The new Lighthouse for the Blind’s new building

The Salesforce Transit Center

Sustainability Pavilion UAE

For more information visit The Massachusetts Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired