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Winning Solutions for Failing Sight
Serving Our Community Since 1979

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Welcome to LVC

(Formerly known as The Low Vision Information Center)
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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

America InSight tours featured on National Public Radio

On January 5, NPR's Morning Edition broadcast a story about "America InSight, the verbally described tours for the visually impaired given each month at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.  To listen to the 5-minute piece, visit the NPR web site at http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/01/05/505419694/blind-art-lovers-make-the-most-of-museum-visits-with-insight-tours.

Research survey of people with AD type RP

Our thanks to the American Foundation for the Blind for the following information.

You are invited to take part in a research survey conducted by the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center regarding your experience of living with a recent diagnosis of autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa.  Autosomal dominant (AD) refers to the inheritance pattern that certain types of retinitis pigmentosa (RP) show in families.  This survey is primarily for people with the AD types.  However, if you are not aware of which inheritance pattern type you have, we still welcome your participation.  This survey will take approximately 20 minutes.  You can complete it online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DNSY7MG.

Text-to-speech with FIOS TV

Our thanks to Jerry Price at LBPH for this information.

To enhance accessibility for visually impaired customers, Verizon offers Text to Speech functionality for the Fios TV on-screen guide.  The Text to Speech feature provides audible voice read out of on-screen text, such as menu and guide data.  This feature can be enabled or disabled via the on-screen guide and provides normal voice reading of the text displayed within the menu on-screen.

How to enable Text to Speech

Text to Speech functionality is available on most Verizon set-top boxes.  The feature can be enabled via the settings menu: Menu > Settings > System > Accessibility > Text to Speech > on/off

If you need help getting the Text to Speech feature working on your set-top box, contact Verizon anytime at 1.800.Verizon (1.800.837.4966).  A representative can enable the feature remotely for you.

Set-top box compatibility

If you are disabled and feel you would benefit from Text to Speech, but have a set-top box that isn't compatible with this functionality, you can swap your set-top box for a compatible alternative at no charge.  If you need help installing new equipment, a Verizon technician will assist you at no charge.

Need more help with this feature?

Contact the Verizon Center for Customers with Disabilities: Toll-free at 1.800.974.6006 Voice or TTY 508.251.5301 Videophone
Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 5:00 pm
Email: vccd@verizon.com.

New: BARD EXPRESS for Microsoft Windows

The National Library Service (NLS) has accepted the donation of a new software package intended to simplify downloading and using materials from the BARD web site for users of Microsoft Windows.  The new package can be downloaded for free by BARD users.  Find out more on the NLS web site at https://nlsbardpractice.loc.gov/LOC_02/BARDExpress.html.  Note the link to FAQs at the bottom of the page.

Emergency preparedness reminder

Everyone should take some time now and then to assess how prepared they are for an emergency.  Being visually impaired may pose some additional requirements.  to help jog your thoughts, read this article from the New Jersey Council of the Blind.

Training for audio describers in Alexandria Feb. 25-27

The ACB's annual Audio Description Institute provides three days of intensive training for people who provide audio descriptions for television and video, static art, and live performances.  If you are interested in learning to provide this service for the visually impaired, or are an experienced describer who wants an updated refresher course, find out more on the ACB web site at http://acb.donorpages.com/2017ADPInstitute/.  Registration is limited, and closes February 10, 2017.

Apply for AFB scholarships before April 1

The American Foundation for the Blind administers certain specialized scholarships.  For the 2017-2018 academic year, the available scholarships are:

The Rudolph Dillman Memorial Scholarship: Four scholarships of $2,500 each to undergraduates or graduates who are studying full-time in the field of rehabilitation or education of persons who are blind and/or visually impaired.

The Paul and Ellen Ruckes Scholarship: Two scholarships of $2,000 each to a full-time undergraduate or graduate student in the field of engineering or in computer, physical, or life sciences.

The R.L. Gillette, Gladys C. Anderson, and Karen D. Carsel Memorial Scholarship: One scholarship of $3,500 given to a female undergraduate student studying music.

The application period for the 2017-2018 academic year starts on December 15, 2016 and runs through April 1, 2017.  For more information, view the AFB web site at https://www.afb.org/info/afb-2017-scholarship-application/5

Skiing for the Blind

As cold weather approaches, it's nice to know that low vision or even total blindness needn't be a bar to the ski slopes.  Watch this brief YouTube video to see a blind skier in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpGLy-FyOc0