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On Sight: May 2015


June Webinar: Telephones and Visual Impairment 

Join the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired for a free 60 minute webinar, “Telephones and Visual Impairment,” on Thursday, June 11, 2015 from 1-2 PM CST. The webinar speakers are Virginia DeBlaey and Jean Kalscheur, Vision Rehabilitation Teachers from the Council.

“Telephones and Visual Impairment” will outline several types of phones, including corded, cordless, and cellular phones.  Jean and Virginia will describe features of each type of phone verbally and through video demonstrations. The audience will learn techniques for using a phone, such as dialing a button phone by touch, marking key buttons, tips for setting up speed dial, and telephone features to consider when the user has both vision and hearing impairments.

Specific types of phones that will be discussed are:

  • Big-button corded phones
  • Remote handset phones
  • Smart phones  
  • Odin Mobile phone (a specialized cellular phone for persons with vision impairment)

To attend the webinar, you will need a personal computer with Internet access or belong to an organization that can provide access to this online event. Register today at under the “Events” tab or call 1-800-783-5213 for assistance. Attending the webinar is FREE.


Recreation Committee Event – Fishing 

Get out your tackle box because the Council’s Recreation Committee is holding a fishing event for people who are blind and visually impaired this June. Participants will enjoy four hours on Lake Onalaska using their own favorite fishing reels or the equipment that will be provided on board. There are only 20 spots available, so reserve your spot quickly!

The fishing event will be held on June 27th from 3-7pm in La Crosse. The cost is $20, which goes toward the boat fees and snacks that will be provided throughout the day. Fishing poles, bait and tackle will all be available on the boat for free of charge. There may be carpooling opportunities from around the state. For more information, visit the event listing by clicking here.To register for the event, please contact Justin at 608-237-8119 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..   


Ain’t Blindness a Pain in the Anatomy! (Blog stories) 

The Outlook From Here writers remind us that we all have to laugh sometimes at the awkward interactions when the blind world and sighted world collide in their new blog series called ABAPITA (Ain’t Blindness a Pain in the Anatomy!). Kathie recounts a time when she received charity in the form of change in her full coffee mug while Dan makes us chuckle by describing his handcart filled with fishing gear after a successful rummage sale.

Check out the blog story at to have your daily dose of humor. If you have a story that falls into the ABAPITA category, write it down and send it to Michelle Roach at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Happy reading! 


Get Off the Computer in Celebration of Healthy Vision Month 

During a normal work day in front of the computer, many people regularly notice that their eyes feel tired and dry, and the screen may even be blurring. Do these feelings sound familiar?

The National Eye Institute declares May “Healthy Vision Month.” Keeping your eyes healthy and productive at work and at home is extremely important. According to the American Optometric Association, Computer Vision Syndrome is defined as “the complex of eye and vision problems related to near work experienced during computer use.” Because many of us depend on the computer daily, it is our responsibility to create the healthiest environment for our eyes during screen time. The Council encourages everyone to celebrate Healthy Vision Month by trying the following tips to help prevent Computer Vision Syndrome.

Tip 1: Talk to your eye doctor about your computer use. The lenses you wear everyday may not be the best lenses to wear while using the computer. The next time you have a comprehensive eye exam, be sure to ask your eye care professional about what options may be the best fit for working at the computer.

Tip 2: Create a comfortable work station. Our work usually happens at a desk where all of our tools to help us complete our work are situated around us. The computer you use should be calibrated to help you be the most productive. Make sure the screen resolution and contrast are set to levels that make images and text crisp, clear, and easy to read. Position the computer straight ahead of where you sit and think about your posture when you work.  Is your head straight and not flexed forward?  Is the display somewhat below eye level?  Are your wrists and hands comfortably extended from the elbow when using a keyboard? Is there glare from the display that might be reduced by repositioning the display in relation to windows or overhead light sources?  Is the display free of dust or fingerprints that could reduce clarity?

Tip 3: Give your eyes a break. Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome like eye strain, blurred vision, and dry eye can be provoked by focusing on your computer screen for too long. Jean Kalscheur, Director of Education and Vision Services at the Council, recommends following the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, move your focus away from the computer and look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Find things to do during these breaks like making phone calls, getting something off the printer, or filling up your water bottle. Your eyes will appreciate this well deserved break.

Though sometimes getting off the computer isn’t an option, maximizing visual comfort while using the computer can be achieved. The next time you notice symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome, remember these three tips and adjust your work patterns to ensure comfort and productivity. If you or someone you know has low vision or blindness and you’d like to learn more about adaptive products that could help maximize your vision, call the Council at 1-800-783-5213. Our vision rehabilitation teachers are trained in creating optimal work environments for those who are blind or visually impaired. 


AmazonSmile for Mom and Dad 

Haven’t decided what to get Mom or Dad on their day yet? The Council recommends looking at Amazon’s selection of great gifts like jewelry, flowers, and books for Mom or watches, sports apparel, or hats for Dad!

This year, consider accessing Amazon through and choosing the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired as the charitable organization which will receive 0.5% of the price of your purchase.

Learn more about AmazonSmile by going to their website and reading their FAQ sheet. The Council, your mother and father will thank you for using this great program for purchasing the perfect Mother’s Day or Father’s Day gift this year! 


The White Cane Appeal

In one year, 489 people in Wisconsin who are blind or visually impaired received a free white cane from the Council. For those people who received their first white cane, or replaced a well-worn one, having that cane means they can safely cross the street, walk confidently throughout their neighborhood, and be recognized as someone with low vision.

The Council is the exclusive Free White Cane Program provider in Wisconsin. We give free white canes to all who are eligible through our Madison location and through the Vision Forward Store in Milwaukee.

Please consider a generous gift to the Council to help us cover the cost of the white canes and for other vision services we offer throughout the state to those with low vision. Gifts can be made online at Thank you!


Pick up Mom’s or Dad’s Gift Card Today! 

Encourage Mom and Dad to take care of their vision this Mother’s and Father’s Day by giving a gift card to the Council’s Sharper Vision Store, which carries cooking and dining products, calendars, large print games, magnifiers, and more!

The  gift card can be sent directly to you or Mom's or Dad’s door if requested by calling the Sharper Vision Store at 608-237-8100 or toll-free at 1-800-783-5213. You can also stop by the store at 754 Williamson Street in Madison anytime between 8am and 4:30pm Monday – Friday to pick one up.


May we help you? 

If you have questions about the Council’s programs, services, events, outreach or legislative advocacy, please visit or call us toll-free at 1-800-783-5213 or locally in Madison at 608-255-1166.