2015 Technology Petting Zoo – Thursday May 14

With today’s emphasis on technology, it is important to find the best solutions for staying connected. Attend the Low Vision Resource Group meeting at Charles E. Beatley, Jr. Central Library on May 14 for a showcase on how tablets and e-readers can enhance reading opportunities for people with vision impairment.

Attendees can have hands-on experience with iPads, Kindles, iPhones, NOOKs and other e-readers. Kevin Osborne, Adult Services Manager, and Kym Robertson, Librarian I and Talking Book Service Manager, will be our guest presenters. Learn how accessible technology can expand your world!

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Learn about current efforts for a cure

If you have been told you have age-related macular degeneration, join this special program and hear from Catherine Cukras, M.D., Ph.D., Ophthalmologist and Retina Researcher at National Eye Institute (NEI), NIH. Learn how you can become part of future NIH sight-loss solutions. Dr. Cukras will provide an overview of the AMD public health threat the United States is facing as baby boomers age. It is predicted that people at risk of developing this sight-threatening disease will more than double by the year 2030. Learn about current studies designed to help us better understand the progression and impact of AMD and other eye disorders.

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March 8 event was a banner day for POB

Kudos to Drs. Suleiman Alibhai, Donald Gagliano and Michael Summerfield for their realistic, hopeful and candid presentations at the March 8 Vision Rehab Town Hall Meeting. Take-home messages from the event included important information about state-of-the-art rehab opportunities for U.S. Military Veterans as well as a new training emphasis on low vision care for all current ophthalmology residency programs throughout the country.

In the District of Columbia metropolitan area, POB is proud of the progress and growing commitment the ophthalmology community is making to offer patient education and vision rehabilitation referrals. A lively discussion at the Town Hall meeting included concerns about new therapies and low vision procedures that require many months of adaptation and training with questionable outcomes. Thanks to POB’s co-sponsors Sibley Senior Association, The Beacon Newspapers, numerous exhibitors and most importantly the 85 attendees who provided this event with a spirited audience and great participation. Follow up on this event’s topics with information on empowering macular degeneration resources at this month’s Macular Degeneration Network meeting.

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Learn sun safety facts with two Lunch & Learn Events

For most of us, the eyes are the most cherished of our senses. Yet we could be exposing them to danger every time we go outside.

Over time, the sun’s rays can seriously damage the eyes and surrounding skin, potentially leading to vision loss, conditions such as cataracts, and eye, eyelid and intraocular cancers. Simple daily protective strategies will help keep your eyes and the sensitive skin around them healthy. Join POB for two informative Lunch & Learn events in May called “Sunlight and Your Eyes,” at MedStar Washington Hospital Center and Friendship Heights Village Center. Learn the facts and myths about UVA and UVB light rays, high-energy visible light, who is at risk, how sunlight damages the eyes and what defenses are available to protect your sight. Please register for these programs to receive light lunch.

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Author and executive coach Sheridan Gates will be hosting a special event at Friendship Heights Village Center on Monday April 27, 2015 in celebration of the launch of her new book,  ”Losing Sight, Finding Vision: Thriving Throughout Life’s Losses.”

In her book, Gates shares the practical lessons of her personal and professional journey confronting vision loss and career reinvention.

Gates is also a member of the Stargardt’s Network, a share group and listserv sponsored by The Prevention of Blindness Society of Metropolitan Washington. Stargardt’s disease is a form of macular degeneration, usually affecting people before the age of 20. Lectures, meetings and events allow members with Stargardt’s and their family and friends to connect.

Join us for this special event with a book signing to follow!

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Managing Parkinson’s Disease, Movement Disorders & Visual Changes

Michael J. Fox brought attention to Parkinson’s Disease (PD) for millions of people around the world after his own 1992 diagnosis. His advocacy has shined light on the importance of information to cope with the facts and myths of the ailment. In the spirit of Fox’s efforts, join nationally recognized guest physicians and experts from Johns Hopkins Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder Center and Sibley Memorial Hospital’s Center for Rehabilitation Medicine on April 11 at this groundbreaking symposium. This comprehensive educational opportunity is at Friendship Heights Village Center and includes free parking and continental breakfast.

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• Remove tripping hazards from stairs and walkways.

• Remove small throw rugs or use double-sided tape to keep rugs from slipping.

• Use grab bars and non-slip mats in your tub or shower.

• Improve the lighting in your home with brighter lights, and use lamp shades or frosted bulbs to reduce glare.

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Low vision apps and accessibility features

The Vision Support Lunch & Learn invites you to attend an exciting opportunity to learn about the iPad Test Drive Program for those who want to try before they buy, as well as those who own an iPad and want more instruction. Learn from Moira Williams, Founder of Envision Technology, Inc. of Bethesda on Thursday, March 19 at Friendship Heights Village Center.

Moira is a trusted expert instructor in the field of technology training for individuals with impaired sight. Accessible devices have had a positive impact worldwide. Training for consumers on iPads, other tablets and smart phones is no longer limited to traditional technology students. Seniors with and without vision loss are learning to use these devices and are improving their quality of life in the process.

Registration for complimentary lunch is requested.

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Government offers talking banknote identifiers

As part of the U.S. government’s Meaningful Access Initiative, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing will provide an iBill Talking Banknote Identifier at no cost to all eligible visually impaired people who request one. The iBill Talking Banknote Identifier is a fast and accurate way to identify all U.S. bills in circulation – $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100.

According to the CDC’s 2012 National Health Interview Survey, more than 9 million people with vision loss in the U.S. have a family income of less than $35,000. This means that even though smartphones are developing apps that can help with reading currency, it is a financial hardship for many people to afford them. Phase 2 of this project began in January of 2015 to make the iBill Talking Banknote Identifier available at no cost to all eligible visually impaired or blind people.

If you are a member of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, you are automatically eligible. For more details, call the Bureau of Engraving & Printing at 1-844-815-9388 to order your currency reader.

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Glaucoma Awareness Month

Don’t let glaucoma get in your way.

Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damages the eye’s optic nerve, which carries visual signals to the brain. It can lead to vision loss or blindness if left untreated. Quite frequently, by the time people are diagnosed with glaucoma, they’ve already begun to notice changes in their side, or peripheral, vision.

While anyone can get glaucoma, people at higher risk for glaucoma include African Americans age 40 and older; everyone over age 60, especially Hispanics/Latinos and those with a family history of the disease.

glaucomaA comprehensive dilated eye exam may help save your sight because when glaucoma is detected early, it can be controlled through medications or surgery. If you are at higher risk, make sure you get a comprehensive dilated eye exam every 1 to 2 years and encourage family members to do so as well.

Don’t wait until you notice problems with your vision to see an eye care professional. A low-cost exam may be available to you through Medicare. For more information, call 1–800–MEDICARE or visit www.medicare.gov.

For additional information about glaucoma, visit www.nei.nih.gov/glaucoma or call NEI at 301–496–5248.

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