Winning Solutions for Failing Sight
Serving Our Community Since 1979

Spring/Summer 2011



by Ms. Terry Eason, Executive Director
Low Vision Center

Hello again!  Did you miss EyePower?  We regret that this tough economy has limited the number of newsletters we can produce but we still want to reach you with information and ideas that might help you cope with visual impairment.

The end of a long cold winter has finally come and we can now open the windows to enjoy the sound of the birds singing and let the fresh air in.  We hope you are enjoying the spring as you read this edition of EyePower.  While we remind you that staying fit is important for your eyes, and this good weather takes away our excuses for not moving.

First we want to thank all of you who donated so generously to LVC's Board Drive and Direct Mail Campaign.  It is only through your generosity that we are able to keep our services free and assist so many struggling with low vision!  If you did not get the opportunity to give but wish to, it is not too late!  Your tax-deductible donations are greatly appreciated at any time!

In this issue, we feature a piece about another of our devoted board members, Jim Summers, and we will introduce you to our newest intern, Yrianna Germosen.

In addition, we offer some tips and ideas that we hope will assist you in your daily living.  Please consider using some of the excellent free services that are available to you.  We also give you a tip for reading your email, computer screen, and documents better simply by changing your font!

We still want to hear from you, our devoted clients, about your visit to LVC.  Your words just might be the thing we need to help us get much needed funding from our community.  We strive to solicit grants to expand our services for you.  Your support is always needed and appreciated.

Finally, we say farewell to a dear friend and volunteer, Cynthia Walsh.  She is truly missed from the LVC family!

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Let Us Introduce You To - James Summers, CPA:

Jim Summers has been on LVC's board for more years than I can remember.  He now serves as secretary-treasurer.  My research shows that it was at least 2004 when Jim joined LVC - that's over seven years of service!

Jim's interest in low vision stems from his late mother, Dorothy Hoops, who suffered with Macular Degeneration.  This first hand knowledge of the effects of visual impairment, coupled with his desire to volunteer his time and talent, led Jim to our board.  We are so lucky to have him.

Along with his wife Barbara, Jim is a master bridge player.  Together they spend a great deal of their retirement attending tournaments throughout the area.  They also enjoy extensive travel.  Despite this Jim has one of the best records of attendance at LVC board meetings.

Jim came to us as a retired accountant and partner with the firm Oehmann, Beck and Summers, PC.  So in addition to adding his business acumen to our board meetings, Jim also provides invaluable service as our accountant, donating his time.  This tremendous savings enables LVC to provide additional assistance to you, our clients.

All of this makes Jim a great addition to our board.  We are grateful to Jim for all that he does to help LVC.  Thank you, Jim, for your generosity!

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Meet Learning Ally:

Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D) is now Learning Ally.  Membership and software are free to anyone with a qualifying print disability.  Formerly, only students were eligible for free membership.  Membership in Learning Ally gives you access to their large library of audio books available for computer download or on specially formatted compact disk.  For more information, visit the Learning Ally web site at www.learningally.org or call them at 202-244-8990.

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Free Reading Service for Faxed Documents:

ReadThisToMe is a free reading service for blind and low-vision people in the United States and Canada.  To use the service, fax the handwritten note, product label, or other item you're having trouble reading to the organization's toll-free fax number: 1-877-333-8848.  Put your first name and telephone number on the first page of the fax.  A volunteer will call you back and read the document.  More information is available online at www.readthistome.org or by calling 1-877-333-8847.

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Staying Fit Is Good For Your Eyes:

According to a 2008 article from The Glaucoma Foundation, exercise could provide an extra bonus if you are one of the 3 million Americans who have glaucoma, or among the many millions more who are at risk for it.  While the mainstay of glaucoma therapy remains lowering intraocular pressure (IOP) with medication, laser treatment or surgery, there is some evidence that a regular aerobic program can help support medical therapy.  Not all types of exercise are equally effective, and some types may be detrimental.  So always check with your ophthalmologist and your general physician before starting any new exercise regime!  The full article is available on the Glaucoma Foundation web site at www.glaucomafoundation.org/news_detail.php?id=124.

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Adaptive Technology Meetings in Rockville:

For the technophiles among us, the Disability Resource Center of Montgomery County Public Libraries holds adaptive technology seminars on the 4th Saturday afternoon of each month from 1 to 3 PM.  This complements the Technology User Group in Baltimore that meets the 2nd Saturday, and DC Public Library's Saturday Technology training Sessions on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays.  For more information, please call the library at 240-777-0001 or email drcinfo@montgomerycountymd.gov.

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In Your Own Words:

Please do not forget that we are still interested in hearing your personal experience with the Low Vision Center in your own words.  Did you learn tips and techniques or find a tool that made your life easier?  Are you good at putting these things into words?  If so, we would love to hear from you.  We would like to use your own words in future newsletters and other publications documenting the work that we do, its success, and hopefully inspiring others to make an appointment to visit our center.  Please send your written articles to the Low Vision Center at 7701 Woodmont Avenue, #604, Bethesda, MD 20814, or via email at lowvisionctr@aol.com.

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Change Your Font:

Have you ever tried to read something and you could almost do it?  I am sure that has happened to many of us, especially those suffering with low vision.  The default font on most computer programs, email systems, etc. is Times New Roman.  You can change this default setting to what is considered to be the clearest font for low vision, that font is ARIAL.  You can make this your default setting on your Word documents, email and other settings making it easier to read your computer screen and the documents you print.  This simple change, if we could get the world to do it on menus, newsletters, and other material we need to read, could be a huge help to all those with visual impairment.  While you may still need to use your magnifier to read material, the better spacing and simpler style letters of ARIAL could make a big difference.  Try it!

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Summer Intern:

We are pleased to welcome Yrianna Germosen to our LVC family.  Yrianna is a Wellesley intern who will be seeing clients, as well as assisting in a number of office tasks.  Yrianna will be with us Monday through Friday from June 1 through early August.  Yrianna, who has the added benefit of being fluent in Spanish, has finished her second year studying Psychology at Wellesley College.  If you wish to speak with Yrianna or make an appointment to see her, please call our office at 301-951-4444.

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Farewell to a Dear Friend:

We are sad to report the death of our volunteer and dear friend, Cynthia Walsh.  Cynthia found LVC back in 2003 and quickly joined our in-house support group.  It wasn't long before Cynthia became not just a client, but also an invaluable volunteer and a beloved friend.  Many of you might remember that wonderful accent as Cynthia made follow up calls to clients who visited our center.  Cynthia would inquire about your visit and if the tools you subsequently purchased were working for you.  She always had a smile in her voice and a personal desire to explore and share your experience with low vision.  This was quite special to those who had the opportunity to speak with her, because Cynthia also suffered from Macular Degeneration, but she would never let that stop her!

Cynthia's life was true inspiration and we fast became close friends.  She shared her worldly experience, having been born in Australia, then married to David Walsh, a diplomat with the US Foreign Service.  Cynthia lived in many far-flung parts of the world.  Her first hand knowledge brought current events in those regions to life.  Cynthia also taught at Georgetown University and her editing skills always carefully groomed this newsletter.  I am uncertain if I can ever prepare a polished version without her!

Monday mornings are far too quiet without Cynthia.  She came in weekly to assist us at LVC, sometimes bringing her dog Jefferson along.  Even the ladies at the front desk of our office miss Cynthia greatly.  Farewell my dear friend, you are not forgotten

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Attention All Foodies:

Do you still love to cook even though your sight is impaired?  We are looking for tips, techniques, and other ideas to share with our clients and readers on preparing good dishes, especially those for folks with low vision.  While we all know that seasoning everything with love does improve any dish, we would like to hear your helpful ideas.  Please email us at lowvisionctr@aol.com or call us at 301-951-4444 with your cooking and food preparation tips.

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End Notes:

You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old.

-- George Burns

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