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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

Accessworld highlights lowvision

The February, 2017 issue of AFB AccessWorld recognizes February as Low Vision Awareness Month and highlights assistive technology usage that might be of particular interest to seniors.  Articles include object identification, cellphones, hearing and vision loss, diabetes management, and several other high interest articles.  To read this free periodical, visit http://www.afb.org/aw/main.asp.  This issue is brought to you in part by the National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision (NRTC) at Mississippi State University through a federal grant.

Jerry Price on teleconference Feb. 21

Join the NFB "At-Large Chapter" conference call on February 21st from 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM.  Jerry Price from LBPH will be the guest speaker.  Call-in to hear all about the Technology User Group (TUG) and the exciting new subjects to be covered in 2017.

Call in number is: 641-715-3272
Access code is: 720-125#

You don't have to be a member to join the call.

POB Night of Vision March 4

The annual Night of Vision gala in support of the Prevention of blindness society of Metropolitain Washington will be Saturday, March 4.  Find out more on the POB web site at youreyes.org/events/night-of-vision.

CLB golf and dinner classic May 17

On Wednesday, May 17, 2017, Columbia Lighthouse will host their 5th annual Shot in the Dark Golf and Dinner classic fundraiser at the Woodmont Country Club in Rockville.  For more information, please visit www.clb.org.

Apply now for NFB BELL summer academy

The NFB Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning (BELL) Academy prepares blind and low vision children, ages four through twelve, to grow into confident and independent blind people who will live the lives they want.  For more information about this summer program and to apply, visit the NFB web site at nfb.org/bell-academy.

Apply for Holman prize by Feb. 28

The new Holman Prize for Blind Ambition will provide three legally blind people, anywhere in the world, with up to $25,000 to pursue an adventurous project.  Find more information at http://lighthouse-sf.org/blog/lighthouse-announces-the-holman-prize-for-blind-ambition/.

Just for fun

Spoonbill Software has released the next in their series of computer games for blind gamers.  BG Twenty 20 Cricket is a simple simulation of a game of Twenty 20 cricket made accessible especially for blind and vision impaired players.  It comes ready to play; just choose two teams and get playing.  Once you have played a few games you might want to create your own teams, or edit an existing team to change batting order, batting strength, bowling style and strength.  You can do all this with the built-in Team Builder.

To download BG Twenty 20 Cricket or other free computer games for the blind and visually impaired directly from the Spoonbill software web site, visit www.spoonbillsoftware.com.au.

POB-sponsored events in February

The February issue of Your Eyes Today, the newsletter of the Macular Degeneration Network of the Prevention of Blindness Society of Metropolitan Washington (POB), can now be downloaded from www.youreyes.org/images/stories/newsletters/2017/YourEyes_February2017.pdf.  This issue notes numerous events in February, including a presentation February 16 in Friendship Heights on "Becoming Scam Savvy."

To subscribe to this newsletter on-line, visit http://www.youreyes.org/modify-your-subscription.

To view POB's calendar of coming events as a web page, visit http://youreyes.org/events/eventlist.

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