Winning Solutions for Failing Sight
Serving Our Community Since 1979

Summer 2017



by Ms. Terry Eason, Executive Director
Low Vision Center

Hello dear readers!  For those of you who have missed our Eye Power newsletter, the wait is over!  This issue is brought to you thanks to the generosity of Mr. Ken Dreyfuss, a longtime donor and great supporter of LVC and our work.  It is quite costly but we feel an important part of our mission is to keep our clients up-to-date by providing reliable resources and information through our newsletter.  We hope that you find this issue useful and we appreciate your feedback so call us and let us know what you think!


We have much to share with you!  First we begin by telling you that LVC has been on the move and bringing our information, tools and techniques to many in our area through outreach presentations.  Now, through the generosity of a Montgomery County Council grant, we will be offering a Vision Enrichment Workshop in senior centers throughout the county beginning this September.  See within for more details.

For some of our brave clients who have ventured into the world of technology, let us help you get the most out of your tools.  We offer some valuable information for tablet and smartphone users on how many apps available for the visually impaired enhance these tools.  We also offer you several sources to help you find joy in music.  We hope you explore some of these options if you are not doing so already!

Then we talk about that ever so sensitive subject, driving.  We hope that you find this information helpful and informative and we welcome your calls if you need transportation information once you make that life altering decision.

Are you looking for an affordable CCTV?  LVC has many, many used models for sale.

Finally, we introduce our newest volunteer, Ruth Meixner Bird, who has been a wonderful addition to the LVC family.  And we offer thanks to the many, many generous people, foundations and organizations that help LVC keep our doors open and our services free.  Without all of you, LVC would cease to be.  You keep us alive and we thank you!  We are so happy to be able to provide you with this current issue of EyePower.  We hope you enjoy!

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Outreach and Presentations:

Our LVC outreach program participates in community health fairs and low vision events around the DC Metro area.  LVC's outreach presentations offer a brief opening regarding our role in the community and the services offered here at our office in Bethesda, answer questions from the audience, and offer the opportunity for attendees to view products and devices on display as well as hands-on experience exploring magnifiers and household aids.  If your community has a low vision population that could benefit from a presentation by LVC, have the Activities Coordinator or Low Vision Group leader contact us at 301-951-4444 to discuss this opportunity.

Vision Enrichment Course:

LVC is very happy to have been awarded a generous grant from Montgomery County to provide a "Vision Enrichment Course" to all 7 Senior Centers in the county, thus reaching and benefitting many more seniors and their families in upper levels of the county.  The course will cover lighting, contrast, magnification, household aids, and resources and will answer questions attendees may have regarding vision.  Check with your closest Senior Center to see when LVC will be presenting the course near you.

Reston VIP Support Group:

In April we hosted a lovely group of 15 people from Reston.  We were able to accommodate their whole group and share with them our many resources.  A demonstration of LVC's many lights, tools, and devices provided the members with a firsthand look at our services.  If you are part of a low vision group and would like to visit our center as a group, please contact us!

Washington Eye Physicians Presentation:

We were thrilled to have presented to the Washington Eye Physicians staff in January.  Because we serve as a follow up for patients after they are diagnosed with a low vision disease, it was a fantastic opportunity for us to communicate directly with their organization about our mission and how we can help both them and their patients.  We were able to demonstrate some of the devices we have available and overall brought our services to their attention.  Can LVC help your practice better understand the low vision post-diagnosis process?  If so, please call us at 301-951-4444.

Georgetown Ophthalmic Aid Program:

Once again LVC hosted students from the Georgetown Ophthalmic Aid Program at our Center in Bethesda, providing training through the use of visual aids to aspiring young ophthalmic technicians.  Students are enlightened to the difficulties those with visual impairment face in their everyday life.  Using low vision simulators that simulate different low vision conditions, LVC runs the students through a series of drills such as counting money, using their phones, reading a bill and other daily activities.  LVC is proud to be a respected source of training for Georgetown's program.

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Tablets and Smartphones:

Some of you may already have this equipment, but we would like to emphasize how helpful they can be in your day to day life because of the ability to adjust the brightness and font size, as well as change the contrast.  Studies have found that when using eBooks with adjusted contrast and font size, participants with low vision were able to read 42 more words per minute than a traditional book.  Additionally there are countless other features and apps available.  For example, most tablets and smartphones have the ability to be used as a magnifier using the camera and flash to display and magnify text and objects on the screen.  This can be very helpful in stores (sales tags), restaurants (lighting and menus), and around the home (reading thermostats and appliances).  LVC has knowledge of many other helpful and free applications that will make your life easier.  Schedule an appointment with us and we can share some of these with you!

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The power of music is long lasting in brain function and can really bring a lot of joy.  Here are some resources in order to either bring music into your life or allow it to continue.

Music for the Blind:

This fabulous program helps you learn to play a musical instrument solely by ear using CDs or tapes.  There is no accompanying print or videos, but a teacher walks you through the basics of the instrument, while you learn to play a variety of songs by ear.  They have 13 instruments to choose from and each set of discs is the equivalent to multiple months of private lessons.  For more information or to purchase go to www.MusicForTheBlind.com or call 1-888-778-1828.

Library of Congress, Music through Audio Book Program:

A large collection of recorded material on digital cassettes that includes music theory, history, instruction for various instruments and music magazines are available through the NLS program.  Beginning guitar, piano, organ, accordion, and modern harmony courses have been purchased or specifically developed for the NLS program.  Musical recordings intended solely for listening are not a part of the collection.  All recorded materials are instructional only.  Digital cassettes will be sent directly to you free of charge and can be returned in the same mailer free of charge through the US Mail.  To request an application or learn more call 1-888- NLS-READ (1-888-657-7323) or visit www.loc.gov/nls/.

Metropolitan Washington Ear Musical Radio Programs:

This radio station primarily reads aloud current publications like national and local newspapers, magazines, and best-selling books, but they also provide audio descriptions and recordings of performances like orchestra concerts and plays.  They do descriptions from nine theaters in the metropolitan area as well as concert notes from the National Symphony Orchestra and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at Strathmore.  Contact Metropolitan Washington Ear at 301-681-6636.

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LVC recently attended a symposium at Johns Hopkins University at Shady Grove hosted by low vision specialist Dr. Alibhai and certified driving rehabilitation specialist Timothy Jones.  The symposium was "To Drive or Not To Drive, Keeping Your Keys" and outlined their professional experiences with their clients, DMV and MVA requirements, and resources that are available to help seniors make the decision to either alter their driving patterns or take refresher or training courses.  We are often asked during a client appointment when it is time to stop driving.  Since we all age differently, there is no way to set one age where everyone should stop driving.  Also, driving ability is unique to each individual and a complex assessment.  What we hear most often at LVC is that clients first stop driving at night, then naturally progress to driving only where familiar.  If you are wondering whether it is time to consider no longer driving, ask yourself: Do other drivers honk at me?  Do I get distracted while driving?  Do cars or people walking seem to appear out of nowhere?  Have I had even "fender benders"?  Do I have trouble moving my foot between gas and brake pedals, do I sometimes confuse the two?  Have my family, friends, or my doctor said they are worried about my driving?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may be time to talk with your doctor about driving or have a driving assessment or take a driving refresher course.

JCA Driving Support Group:

The Jewish Council for the Aging hosts a FREE support group for you and your peers to talk about driving and changes that take place with aging that may affect your ability to drive safely.  Small groups of older adults meet once a week for three weeks.  Each 90-minute session is led by a facilitator, and at the 3rd meeting, a Certified Mobility Specialist from Connect-A-Ride will share information about transportation options that can help you stay mobile when you stop driving.  For more information, call Connect-A-Ride at 301-738-3252.

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Ruth Meixner Bird - Artist and LVC's Newest Volunteer:

LVC welcomes our longtime client, artist, and friend, Ruth Meixner Bird, to our family of volunteers.  You may have heard Ruth's pleasant voice as she makes follow-up calls to our clients who have come in by appointment for a free demonstration at LVC's home in Bethesda.  Follow-up calls are our way to find out how you are doing with the knowledge, resources, and equipment you found during your visit.  We appreciate Ruth's generosity of time to call our clients and her gracious way of sharing experiences of the difficulties of being visually impaired.  As an artist Ruth's last show was at The Arts Club of Washington in September 2016 where she showcased her artwork as it has changed along with her vision loss.  Please call us at 301-951-4444 if you would like to have a call from Ruth.

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We have a tremendous number of used CCTVs that we want to sell to you at a great price!  Come talk to us and see if we have the right machine for you.  All of the proceeds go directly to our cause and one of these machines could be truly life changing for you!  Go to our website www.lowvisioninfo.org to see the list of the current CCTVs available.

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Thank You:

Have you missed our newsletter?  Please remember LVC in your charitable donations.  You can make a donation to us by check by mail, or credit or debit card on our website www.lowvisioninfo.org, or donor-advised funds, legacy gifts, and stock donations. Remember, if you use social media be sure to like us on Facebook and to follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @lowvisionctr.

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End Notes:

"Remember there's no such thing as a small act of kindness.  Every act creates a ripple with a logical end."

-- Scott Adams

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