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Technology Gives Hope to Those with Vision Loss

Updated: January 22, 2019 06:42 PM

Vision loss can be devastating. But for 100 years, the Lighthouse Center for Vision Loss has been helping those find a new way to navigate life.

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Executive Director Mary Junnila said, "The Lighthouse has always been about pushing forward, and looking to the future. Pushing boundaries. Nothing does that right now like technology. It's just amazing to know what's possible."

Examples include high and low-tech devices, like wearable 'smart' glasses that can read text aloud, recognize faces or improve vision.

Laura Lussier, an occupational therapist, showed us how it works. She points at a page, and the device takes a picture. It the reads back the text. It can also differentiate currency! She pointed it at a dollar bill, the the device told her is was $1 dollar.

Also, there's software that allows individuals who are blind to use the computer, magnification devices, braille devices, home safety and health monitoring systems, smartphones and tablets, Alexas, adaptive cooking gadgets, and more!

There's always an app for things. One technology instructor said that one app can do the function of what 20 separate devices used to do.

Aaron Windsor explained how an Amazon Fire Stick is helpful. "They are building things right into the software, like a screen reader or a microphone button that can dictate."

He spoke into the microphone, saying, "Open Netflix." And the Fire Stick opened up Netflix!

Lynne Maine showed us a couple of the Closed Circuit TV systems, which can magnify things or even read text back. It's been a helpful option. "Women can put a camera up to their eye and it can help them see to put on their make-up."

"Technology isn't one size fits all," added Junnila. "Our staff work one-on-one with people in their homes to figure out what will work best."

There's also a loan program that helps people try things out, before buying. And there's always the possibility of grant funding, if someone can't afford a device.

The Technology Open House is Thursday, from 5:30-7pm at the center. 4505 W. Superior Street is the address. There will be a 30 minute presentation off the bat, and then time for rotating through the different stations. Please RSVP: 218-624-4828

There's also their second annual Dining in the Dark event coming up on April 11th. They are looking to achieve 100 sponsors for their 100 year anniversary. 

Some of the sponsors now include: VitreoRetinal Surgery, Relf Eyecare, Duluth Lions Club, Edgwood Vista, North Shore Bank, RSM, TKDA, Integrated Office Solutions, CW Technology, Cartier Agency, Bonner Eyecare, Anne M. Holy - Waddell and Reed, and Harbor Pointe Credit Union.

For more info: https://www.lcfvl.org/

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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