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Serving Our Community Since 1979

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Welcome to LVC

(Formerly known as The Low Vision Information Center)
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Watch our one-minute introductory video

The Low Vision Center is a nonprofit organization that helps people with low vision maintain their independence. Located in Bethesda, Maryland, we offer information services as well as a demonstration area full of a variety of low vision aids and ideas.

The Low Vision Center offers its resources without charge, relying entirely upon personal contributions to fund its varied services.

I invite you to browse our web site for more information about our services, as well as helpful hints for improving your vision. Some examples include:

I also invite you to make an appointment to visit our demonstration area so you can examine our low vision aids, including magnifiers, CCTV's, Zoom Text, and non-optical adaptive aids (such as talking clocks and writing guides). We also sell a select group of low vision aids and Bausch & Lomb, Coil, and Eschenbach magnifiers. Please don't hesitate to call us for additional information or to make an appointment for a visit.  Appointments are usually scheduled between 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Terry Eason
Executive Director

News and Notes

Simple Phones Accessibility Boutique Oct. 20

We thank NFB for the following information

Free event: Simple Phones Accessibility Boutique

When: Friday, October 20, 10:00 a.m -12:00 noon

Where: Jernigan Institute at 200 E. Wells Street, Baltimore, MD 21230

The Access Technology Team at NFB shared their invitation to this free Accessibility Boutique:

We have received a large number of requests from National Federation of the Blind members to cover a particular topic, and we have taken them to heart. By popular demand we have changed the October Accessibility Boutique to an examination of simple phones accessibility! We have also pushed back the date to Friday October 20th from 10 am until noon to allow some time for travel arrangements to be made.

As shocking as it may seem in today's smartphone-centric world, not everyone wants or needs a cellphone with the latest multi-touch gestures, app stores, dozens of programs constantly draining battery life or a constant stream of social media feeds. Phones still exist for people who just want to make and receive calls or text messages. But how accessible are they really? Large buttons and easy to access speed dial functions are only half the equation. Are they Intuitive to use? Does text to speech work well? Can you voice dial? And do they have features like large fonts or high contrast modes? How affordable are they for those with no interest in a $700 iPhone 8?

All these questions and more will be covered in our Simple Phones Boutique on October 20th at the National Federation of the Blind, Jernigan Institute at 200 East Wells Street, Baltimore, MD 21230.

To book a place please call Ryan Pugh on 410 659-9314 (extension 2409) or email RPugh at NFB dot Org.

We would like to thank everyone who requested this topic and invite you to continue letting us know what topics matter most to you and what you want examined at these sessions. Based on your feedback, we are also examining options for remote participation and are looking for alternate venues that will not require us to charge for participation.

Driverless Cars presentation Oct. 22

Driverless Cars
What will they do to you?

Free event, Sunday, October 22, 2:00-3:30 p.m.
Social Hall, Bender JCC of Greater Washington
6125 Montrose Road, Rockville, Md. 20852

Meet and hear from Gene Gurevich of Mobileye, an Israeli company recently acquired by Intel, which makes a crucial technology for driverless cars.  He will be interviewed on stage by Beacon publisher Stuart Rosenthal. 

Come learn about this groundbreaking technology, and the ways it can enhance your quality of life and economic opportunities through greater mobility and independence. 

This free event also includes vision screenings, exhibits and refreshments.  Co-sponsored by the Bender JCC, Israeli American Council, the Beacon Newspapers, and Lions International.

Reservations are requested.  Call Debbie Sokobin at 301-348-3760 or e-mail adults@benderjccgw.org

POB-sponsored events in October

The October issue of Your Eyes Today, the newsletter of the Aging Eye and Macular Degeneration Network of the Prevention of Blindness Society of Metropolitan Washington (POB), can now be downloaded from http://youreyes.org/images/stories/newsletters/2017/YourEyesOctober2017.pdf.  This issue notes many events coming up in October, including a teleconference and a Facebook event in which you can participate without even leaving home.

To subscribe to this newsletter on-line, visit http://www.youreyes.org/modify-your-subscription.

To view POB's calendar of coming events as a web page, visit http://youreyes.org/events/eventlist.

Vision Enrichment Workshops

Beginning in september 2017, the Low Vision Center will present the new Vision enrichment Workshop at Montgomery County senior Centers.  The workshop will cover lighting, contrast, magnification, household aids, and resources and will answer questions attendees may have regarding vision.  The sessions scheduled so far include Workshops at other Senior Centers wil be scheduled later.

for more information, contact your nearest senior center directly or call the Low vision Center at 301-951-4444.

These workshops are supported by a generous grant from the Montgomery county government.

Have you tried the SeeingAI app?

"Seeing AI" is a free iPhone/iPad app produced by an ongoing research project at Microsoft.  Its features reportedly include OCr and text-to-speech, face recognition, and product barcode reading.  An introductory video and a link to download the app are on the Microsoft web site at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/seeing-ai/.

If you've used this app, we'd like to know what you think of it.  Send us an e-mail and tell us your impressions.  Or, if you prefer, leave a review on the Apple iTunes web site.

We're tweaking our web site

LVC is gradually making some behind-the-scenes changes to our web site.  We're introducing the use of cascading style sheets (CSS) to bring our site into conformance with HTML version 5, and we're adding a few ARIA tags for the benefit of screen reader software.  Most visitors to this site shouldn't notice any difference, but if we accidentally break something, please let us know.

Teleseminar on Medicare and low vision Oct. 4

A national teleseminar will be held Wednesday, October 4 at 3pm Eastern on the issue of Medicare coverage for low vision aids.  For more information, see the announcement on the AFB web site at http://www.afb.org/community/events/10-4-2017-21st-century-agenda-on-aging-and-vision-loss-national-teleseminar-medicare-coverage-of-low-vision-devices/14.

Tell us about your experience

We at LVC have heard of two services that allow a visually impaired individual to connect via video to a sighted person for help with a task that requires visual acuity.  We're curious how well these services work.  If you've used either of them, please send us an e-mail and tell us what you think of it.

Be My Eyes is an app, currently available only for iPhone and iPad, which can set up a video chat session between a blind or visually impaired person wanting help and the first available sighted volunteer willing to give it.

Aira is a fee-based service that allows a blind or visually impaired person wearing a head-mounted camera linked to a cell phone to contact a trained agent for assistance with tasks needing visual acuity.  Based on the service plan selected, the subscriber is allowed a certain number of minutes of service per month for a fixed monthly fee.

Emergency preparedness

We thank the Blinded Veterans Association for this information.

The effects of Hurricane Harvey along the Gulf coast should remind all of us to review how prepared we are for future emergencies.  The visually impaired may have things to consider in addition to those that affect everyone.  Here are some web sites to help remind you of what you can do now to be prepared in the future.

For students using a screen reader

Blind and visually impaired students who used a screen reader to access an on-line college-level course are invited to take part in a study of the effectiveness of the course design.  For details, please visit https://educttu.az1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_eG10U06gtayoZpz&Q_JFE=0.  If you have more questions, please e-mail mohanna.almohanna@ttu.edu.

Light the Way for CLB October 14

The 7th annual Light The Way fundraiser in support of Columbia Lighthouse will be held the morning of October 14, 2017.  For details, see the CLB web site at http://www.clb.org/calendar/7th-annual-light-the-way/

App Survey for the National Museum of Natural History

We thank Columbia Lighthouse for this information.

The Fossil Halls at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History are undergoing the largest and most complex renovation in the museum's history.  Along with all of the other changes, this will include re-evaluating how the museum uses technology within the exhibits and developing an app to make the space as accessible as possible for visitors who are visually impaired.

The museum is currently at the very beginning stages of the process and they put together a quick survey to gather information from potential visitors who are visually impaired to determine the most beneficial features for such an app.

If you are blind or low vision, please consider taking the following survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5TK2NM7.

For any questions, please contact Samantha Barry at barry@si.edu.

"Touch History" at the Library of Congress

The Visitor Services Office of the Library of Congress would like to invite you to a special "Touch History" tour of the Thomas Jefferson Building.  Touch History is a new tour for visitors who are visually impaired.  The first tour will be on Tuesday, August 1, 2017 at 8:45am.  To RSVP and for information on other dates please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/touch-history-a-verbal-description-of-the-thomas-jefferson-building-tickets-36492848091.