Winning Solutions for Failing Sight
Serving Our Community Since 1979

Spring 2008



by Ms. Terry Eason
Executive Director, Low Vision Center

Hello and Happy Spring!  As usual a great deal has been going on here at LVC.

First, we said goodbye to Ling Lee who has retired to continue the writing and work she had put aside when she joined LVC.  We miss Ling and wish her well in her pursuits.

Next, Pat Coupard, our board President and the heartbeat of LVC has resigned and moved to California.  This too has left an empty place in our hearts as Pat was both a leader and a friend.  We wish Pat well as she moves closer to her family.

We are delighted to announce that Sherry Stein has been unanimously elected as our new board president.  Sherry, who has a lifetime of experience with low vision, sharing and supporting her Mom Soo-Z Stein in her journey with visual impairment, also brings business acumen to our board.  We are all grateful to have her.

In this issue we have some exciting news about a possible acupuncture treatment for Macular Degeneration, voice activated phone dialers, and new ways you can help support LVC.  We have also included a piece about de-cluttering and information on many FREE services in our area such as free audio downloads from the library, free bus rides, free telephone assistance, and free credit reports.  We hope you will find all of this useful.

We share with you news about LVC's new assistant, Kristin Long, and a web link about our volunteer, Cynthia Walsh.

Finally, we have included a farewell to Pat Coupard from our new president, Sherry Stein.

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Can Acupuncture Help with Macular Degeneration?

A Santa Fe physician and acupuncturist, Dr. Alston C. Lundgren, has been using acupuncture to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and reports success in many cases.  In March 2007 the American Academy of Ophthalmology reviewed the available English-language literature, including Dr. Lundgren's journal articles, and concluded, "There is insufficient scientific evidence to demonstrate the safety or effectiveness of acupuncture to treat age-related macular degeneration."  When you consider any treatment for an eye condition, it's a good idea to discuss it with your eye doctor and be sure you understand the risks and potential benefits.

LVC does not recommend or endorse this or any other medical or non-medical treatment or procedure.  This is provided for information purposes only.

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Voice Activated Phone Dialers

Thanks again to Tony Dwyer, our volunteer!

You may know that some cell phones let you place a call by simply speaking the name of the person you're calling.  We here at LVC recently learned that you could add the same capability to your ordinary landline telephone with a device called a voice activated phone dialer.  This compact device plugs in between your phone and the wall jack.  It costs about $200-$250, depending on the model and where you buy it.  There are several brands, including Vocally and Ameriphone.  We have seen them for sale at many specialty catalog and Internet retailers.

If you use one of these devices, we'd love to hear about your experience.  Drop us a note, send e-mail to LowVisionCtr@aol.com, or call us at 301-951-4444.

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Donations To LVC Made Easy

Thanks again to our volunteer Webmaster, Tony Dwyer, we now have a donations button on our website, www.lowvisioninfo.org that reads 'Support LVC.'  You click on this button located on the bottom left of the screen and you will find information on how you can donate the usual way, by check mailed to LVC, or, now by credit card!  Through the Network For Good website you can now make a donation to the LVC using your credit card.  Just go to their website www.networkforgood.org, put the name, Low Vision Information Center, in the Charity Name space and Maryland in the State space, and click search and up we come!  The instructions are clear but if you have any questions, please call our office at 301-951-4444 and we will be happy to walk you through it.

In addition, our friends at Shop Low Vision will make a donation to the Low Vision Center and give you a free gift when you shop from their catalog, Daily Living Products, or their website www.shoplowvision.com and use the free gift code LVICND4.  If you would like a copy of the Daily Living Products catalog, please call us at 301-951-4444.

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De-Clutter Your Life

Spring is the perfect time for a fresh start clearing clutter and simplifying your life.  Research indicates that most people use only 20% of their personal possessions.  The rest becomes clutter.  Once you have taken the time to clear out things, you often find they are never missed.  Studies have shown that people waste several weeks a year looking for misplaced items that are buried beneath clutter.  And that fact is multiplied when you have low vision.

Start with things that don't have an emotional attachment, and maybe enlist a friend or family member to help.  (They certainly won't have the same attachment to your things and that objectivity can be helpful!)  Give yourself a time limit, as this job can be difficult and exhausting.  Clean out those places like under the bed and the guest room closet.  Many of those things have been unused for years.  Remember to recycle.  Things that are still useful to someone else can be given to charity and a possible tax deduction taken for the donation.  Get rid of old prescriptions and products that you rarely use.

Clearing out your home makes it more appealing and gives you a richly satisfying feeling.  You will find that you like having more space and a sense of organization.  And you might just find that misplaced item more quickly next time!

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Free Audio Downloads From the Library

If you live in Montgomery County and have a computer with Internet access, you can download audio books and other audio-visual material from the Montgomery County Library.  The service is free.  All you need is your library card number, a computer running Microsoft Windows, and Internet access.  Broadband access is recommended, because downloading an audio book on a dial-up link can take a long time.  For more information, access the library web site (www.montgomerycountymd.gov/Library) and select the "Read, Listen, View" link from the menu on the left.

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Free Bus Rides

Senior citizens and the disabled can now ride Montgomery County's RideOn busses (and certain Metrobus routes in Montgomery County) free at any time.  Formerly, free rides were only provided on weekdays, and only during the middle of the day.  Show your Metro Senior ID or Metro Disability ID to the bus driver and you ride free.  For more information about RideOn routes, fares, and schedules, call the Montgomery County Transit Information Center at 240-777-7433 or visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/RideOn.  To learn how to get a Metro ID card, call Metro at 202-962-1100 or visit www.wmata.com/service/accessibility/reduced-fare.cfm.

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Free Telephone Assistance

Did you know that you could get free 411 telephone number information by dialing 1-800- FREE411?  How about dialing for news, weather, time and more by calling 1-800-555-TELLME.  These services are free and available to you by simply dialing the numbers!

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Free Credit Reports

Whether you are concerned about identity theft or just interested in learning about your credit rating, the three credit reporting agencies, Equifax, 1-800-685-1111; Experian, 1-888-397-3742; Trans Union, 1-800-916-8800, will file a fraud alert and send you a free credit report to monitor suspicious activity.  Or you can visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com, or call 1-877-322-8228, and reach a service created by all three of these companies.

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A Star In Our Midst

You have heard about our wonderful volunteer, Cynthia, who does follow up calls to clients that visit our center.  But I bet you didn't know that our Cynthia is famous!  Check out this link for an interesting story about our very own Cynthia Walsh: www.agingeye.com/about/news/sam_the_man.php.

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New Assistant

We're pleased to welcome Kristin Long to LVC.  Kristin has a degree in French and Dance and has been living with low vision since birth.  While Kristin is looking for a full time career in the arts, international or educational sectors, she is sharing her experience with devices and techniques with our clients.  Please call us if you would like to make an appointment to see Kristin on Mondays or Wednesdays in the afternoon.

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A Thank You Note To Pat Coupard

Since the inception of LVC Pat Coupard has been an innovative and vital contributor.  There was nothing she wouldn't do for the organization and the benefit of our clients.  Pat has done tireless fund raising, an ever present and difficult endeavor, represented us at innumerable meetings and while at the helm led by example.  Her devotion to providing our community with an avenue by which to learn how to live better with visual impairment at no cost is exemplary.  Pat has stepped down as president as family calls.  We at LVC miss her terribly -- not just for what she did for LVC but also because she is a good friend.  It is my hope that as president I can keep LVC on our forward course as set forth by Pat.  Oh Pat, how do we begin to say thank you for all you have done for the organization and us personally?  Please know we wish you and your family all good things and that you have truly made a difference.

-- Sherry Stein

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Optimists enrich the present, enhance the future, challenge the improbable and attain the impossible.

-- William Arthur Ward

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