Winning Solutions for Failing Sight
Serving Our Community Since 1979

Summer 2013



by Ms. Terry Eason, Executive Director
Low Vision Center

Hello to all of our readers from our new location!  That's right, the Low Vision Center has MOVED!  We are now located at 4905 Del Ray Avenue, Suite 504 in Bethesda.  This is just a few blocks from our old location and we love our new space.  We encourage you to visit us and see what's new at LVC.  (Remember to call for a free appointment so we can give you our undivided attention!)  We have lots to share with you and hope that you enjoy this issue of EyePower.  We begin by introducing you to new people who have joined us including our latest volunteer, Rose McCully and our Wellesley summer intern, Ally Pyers.

Next, we share the news with you that LVC has linked up with Audio Book Contractors, LLC to bring you a discount on their wonderful products, thereby getting donations for the Low Vision Center.

Additionally, we offer some tips and information for our Internet users about a helpful website and what to avoid - phishing.  There is also a piece about more described TV programs.  Have you thought about using a tablet or e-reader?  Check out Ally's article on tablets and their use by the visually impaired.  And let's not forget our CCTV sale!

Finally, we say farewell to two dear friends and supporters of LVC, Dr. Mel Alper and Stan Cohen, who recently passed away.  The LVC family will truly miss them!

Back to Top

New Volunteer:

We're pleased to welcome Rose McCully to our merry band of volunteers who help LVC so very much.  Besides her critical assistance with our move, Rose has been making follow up calls on Tuesdays to those who have called or visited the Center.  Rose brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to LVC, and additionally, she suffers from Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) so Rose knows first hand what many of you are going through.  If you wish to speak with Rose, you are welcome to call our office on Tuesdays between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM.

Back to Top

Summer Intern:

We are pleased to welcome Allyson Pyers, or Ally as she likes to be called, to our LVC family.  Ally is a Wellesley intern who will be seeing clients, as well as assisting in a number of tasks such as writing (see the Tablet article) and editing this newsletter, assisting with grant research and writing, and providing office support.  Ally, who will be with us Monday through Friday from June 3 until August 9, hopes to be a social worker upon completion of her education.  If you wish to speak with Ally or make an appointment to see her, please call our office at 301-951-4444.

Back to Top

Classic Books on CD and Audio Cassette - Discount & Donation:

Audio Book Contractors, LLC, produces beautifully performed, unabridged recordings of classic novels, plays, poems, short stories and children's literature, available on CD and audio cassette.  LVC has partnered with Audio Book Contractors who will provide a 20% discount for all purchases by Low Vision Center clients.  In addition, the company will donate five percent of the value of all purchases made by our clients to the Low Vision Center.  A Win-Win situation!

To obtain the discount, please log on to audiobookcontractors.com to peruse its collection of 800 unabridged, classic books.  Upon making your selection, contact Audio Book Contractors by e-mail, info@audiobookcontractors.com, or call/fax (301)-439-5830 to order.  Remember to identify yourself as a Low Vision Center client to qualify for the discount and to ensure that LVC receives a donation.

Back to Top

Useful Website:

You know we loved to keep our computer using readers informed about useful websites.  We have found one we think is great and know you will too: "Reach A Ride" from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. Using reacharide.com will provide you with a list of transportation options available from your location in the National Capital Region.  Try it and let us know what you think.

Back to Top

Internet User? Beware of "Phishing!":

"Phishing" is a con game in which the criminal tries to trick you into giving him sensitive personal information like passwords, credit card and bank account information, or social security numbers by pretending to be a trusted company.  Phishing can occur by telephone and in person, but the Internet is particularly handy for these bad guys.

A criminal running a phishing scam will send an email message disguised as one from a trusted company, such as a bank, well- known retailer, or government agency.  The email instructs you to click a handy link to the sender's web site and log into your account.  However, the message is a fraud.  The handy link provided takes you to a web site created by the criminal that resembles the company he's impersonating.  When you type in your account name and password on the fake website, the crook gets your personal information.

To avoid phishing, be careful about clicking anything in emails, instant messages, or pop-ups.  If you want to visit your bank's web site, type the correct web address (URL) into the address field of your web browser yourself, or save the correct address as a "favorite," "shortcut," or "bookmark" in your browser.  Check the web sites of any companies with which you do business because they frequently share information about preventing scams and fraud.  A little time spent learning about the risks can save you a lot of money and aggravation

For more information on phishing, check out:

  • LooksTooGoodToBeTrue.com: consumer-oriented information about Internet fraud from a consortium of government and private agencies (including the FBI)
  • Wikipedia: Enter 'Phishing" or "Internet fraud" into the search box at en.wikipedia.org to read articles in a free online encyclopedia.
  • PhishTank.com: user-submitted examples of phishing websites

Back to Top

Watch for More Described TV:

Would The Simpsons be more fun if you could tell what's happening on the screen?  To meet FCC rules that took effect last year, many programs now have video description available.  By inserting audio descriptions of key visual elements into natural pauses in the dialogue, broadcasters make TV programming more accessible to the visually impaired.  The FCC rules require four major broadcast networks (NBC, Fox, ABC, and CBS) and the top 5 cable networks (Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, TBS, TNT, and USA) to each provide 50 hours per quarter (about 4 hours per week) of video-described prime time and/or children's programming.  To hear the descriptions, listen to the Secondary Audio Program (SAP) on your TV.  More information is available on the FCC web site (fcc.gov), or contact your cable provider or local TV station.

Back to Top

Tablets - A Great Option for Low Vision:

by Allyson Pyers

A recent study from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey found that people with low vision were able to read faster using electronic tablets such as iPads or Kindles than those using traditional print sources.  Participants could read 42 more words per minute on an iPad than they could in books or newspapers.  People with 20/40 or worse vision in both eyes showed the greatest improvement when using a tablet. 

When it comes to low vision, tablets are more helpful than print books in three key areas: brightness, contrast, and font size.  iPads, Android tablets, Nooks, and Kindle Fires all have backlit screens with adjustable brightness, which gives the reader more light.  The extra light increases the contrast between the word on the page and the tablet's background.  E-reader apps such as iBooks and the Kindle app also allow the reader to reverse the contrast and read white text on a black background.  In addition, increasing the font size on an e-reader does not force the user to move the page around in order to see all the text, like they need to when using a CCTV.  Some area libraries, such as the Montgomery County Public Library system, also have access to ebook collections, and librarians are happy to help with access.

With more and more books being released in an e-book format, and e-books being less expensive than print books in general, investing in a tablet or e-reader is becoming an increasingly useful option for people with low vision,

Back to Top

Summer CCTV Sale:

Low Vision Center has a great collection of gently used CCTVs and we have slashed our prices!  We want you to be able to take these great devices home for your use so come on in and try them out and see which one is right for you!  Call 301-951-4444 for an appointment today!  Hurry as this sale won't last forever and two CCTVs have been sold to happy owners this week.

Back to Top

Farewell to Special Friends:

Low Vision Center is sad to say farewell to two of our former Board members and great supporters,

Dr. Mel Alper, a renowned neuroophthalmologist in the metropolitan Washington area who served on LVC's Board since 1997, passed away on February 23, 2013 at the age of 91.  While Mel founded the oldest continuous ophthalmology practice in Washington and saved the sight of many of our clients, he understood that some eye conditions could not be repaired.  Thus, Mel spent years dedicated to LVC thereby assisting those whose vision could not be corrected.

On May 6, 2013, Stan Cohen departed at the age of 93.  Stan served as Washington editor of Advertising Age for 42 years.  Suffering with low vision for many years, Stan found his way to the board of the Low Vision Center in 1999.  In this post Stan has acted as a catalyst to drive our organization in the direction of advocacy, making us go beyond our narrow scope of one-on-one to see how the business world affected those struggling with visual impairment.  LVC surveys and research into local business are due to Stan's influence.  Stan had the foresight to assist LVC to think outside of the box.

Both Mel and Stan realized the value of the Low Vision Center, and were generous supporters especially with their time by serving on our Board.  We are grateful for their many years of dedication to our Center and we express our deepest sympathy to their loved ones.  They will be truly missed by all of us at LVC.

Back to Top

Tell Your Doctors About LVC:

Did you visit the Low Vision Center in Bethesda, MD for a free one-on-one demonstration of low vision aids?  How did you find out about LVC?  Chances are, you found us through the Internet, in a resource guide or other publication, or through a friend or loved one, but not through a medical provider.  Why not tell your ophthalmologist or your eye care specialist about us?

Since LVC is a small nonprofit organization, we have very little funds to spend on advertising and contacting physicians.  We choose to spend our precious resources on you, our clients who need our help.  However, this leaves thousands of visually impaired people unaware of our valuable services and resources.  If you benefited from our services in any way, please pay it forward by letting your doctors know about LVC.  By telling your eye care providers about our services, you make our services and information known, not only to them, but also to all of their other patients.  Help others with low vision by telling your eye care providers about the Low Vision Center at your next appointment!

Back to Top

Your Support and Our Thanks:

There are many ways to contribute to the Low Vision Center (LVC).  You can use our donation envelope, a credit card with the "donate now" button on our web site (lowvisioninfo.org), or even include LVC in your will.  A legacy gift would enable you to assist LVC into the future.  Talk to your attorney or tax advisor or call us at 301-951-4444 if you have any questions.

To our clients who have supported us during the last year, we thank you.  Your gift represents an endorsement of our work to keep assisting those with low vision to find devices and techniques that keep them functioning.  Since we don't charge for our services, and we aren't supported by any government agency, the best way to demonstrate that the Low Vision Center is valuable is to receive a donation from you, our clients, who know our work best.  Thank you again for your support!

Back to Top

LVC has moved and in doing so we have a better suited space in which to demonstrate our many devices, CCTVs, writing aids, marking items, etc.  We are in a commercial building, just a few blocks from our old office yet still very near the Bethesda Metro, that offers better parking and easy access.  See our website (lowvisioninfo.org) for directions via car or Metro.

We welcome you all to come and check out our new space.  Call us for an appointment (301-951-4444) so we can show off our new look!

Back to Top

End Notes:

"Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."

-- Philo Judeaus

Back to Top