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On Sight
January 2015

Bowling Social

For Adults Who Are Blind and Visually Impaired in Wisconsin
Saturday, February 28, 2015
12:00 Noon to 4:00 P.M.
Wagner's Bowling Lanes
2159 Brackett Avenue
Eau Claire, Wisconsin  54701
Registration Fee:  $20.00* Per Person
(Includes Up To 3 Games of Bowling, Shoe Rental, and Registration Costs)
Safe and easy to use approach rails provided
All levels welcome and no experience Needed
There will be a 50/50 drawing (Must be present to win prizes)
Carpooling MAY be available from Chippewa Falls, LaCrosse, Madison, and possibly other communities
SPACE IS LIMITED Register by Friday, February 13, 2015

by calling or emailing Patrick at 608-237-8120  -or- This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
This event is co-sponsored by:
The Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired and The Eau Claire Noon Lions Club

Donations / Proceeds will fund other recreational events sponsored by
The Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired,
754 Williamson Street, Madison, WI  53703,
1-800-783-5213  •

*We are limited to offering this opportunity to only 40 individuals, so reserve your space soon.  
This opportunity is only open to individuals over the age of 18.
If there is severe weather in the area, we may be forced to cancel the bowling event for the safety of all participants.  

Stipends MAY be available for registration fee and travel expense.

 January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month. Did you know 2.7 million Americans have glaucoma and only half of them know it?  Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can damage the eye’s optic nerve and result in vision loss and blindness Glaucoma often has no symptoms in its early stages, but it can be detected before noticeable vision loss occurs. Early detection by an eye care professional can help save sight. While anyone can get glaucoma, African Americans over age 40, everyone over age 60, especially Mexican Americans, and people with a family history of the disease have a higher risk of developing glaucoma.

Your eyes are an important part of your health. There are many things you can do to keep them healthy and make sure you are seeing your best.

Click here for a list of simple steps for maintaining healthy eyes.

Simple Tips for Healthy Eyes

Have a comprehensive dilated eye exam. You might think your vision is fine or that your eyes are healthy, but visiting your eye care professional for a comprehensive dilated eye exam is the only way to really be sure. Many common eye diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic eye disease and age-related macular degeneration often have no warning signs. A dilated eye exam is the only way to detect these diseases in their early stages.

During a comprehensive dilated eye exam, your eye care professional places drops in your eyes to dilate, or widen, the pupil to allow more light to enter the eye the same way an open door lets more light into a dark room. This enables your eye care professional to get a good look at the back of the eyes and examine them for any signs of damage or disease. Your eye care professional is the only one who can determine if your eyes are healthy and if you’re seeing your best.

Know your family’s eye health history. Talk to your family members about their eye health history. It’s important to know if anyone has been diagnosed with a disease or condition since many are hereditary. Tell your eye care professional of any blood relatives that were diagnosed with an eye disease or condition. This will help to determine if you are at higher risk for developing an eye disease or condition.

Eat right to protect your sight. You’ve heard carrots are good for your eyes. But eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, particularly dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, or collard greens is important for keeping your eyes healthy, too.i Research has also shown there are eye health benefits from eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut.

Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing diabetes and other systemic conditions, which can lead to vision loss, such as diabetic eye disease or glaucoma. If you are having trouble maintaining a healthy weight, talk to your doctor.

Wear protective eyewear. Wear protective eyewear when playing sports or doing activities around the home. Protective eyewear includes safety glasses and goggles, safety shields, and eye guards specially designed to provide the correct protection for a certain activity. Most protective eyewear lenses are made of polycarbonate, which is 10 times stronger than other plastics. Many eye care providers sell protective eyewear, as do some sporting goods stores.

Quit smoking or never start. Smoking is as bad for your eyes as it is for the rest of your body. Research has linked smoking to an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, cataract, and optic nerve damage, all of which can lead to blindness.

Be cool and wear your shades. Sunglasses are a great fashion accessory, but their most important job is to protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. When purchasing sunglasses, look for ones that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation.

Give your eyes a rest. If you spend a lot of time at the computer or focusing on any one thing, you sometimes forget to blink and your eyes can get fatigued. Try the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds. This can help reduce eyestrain.

Clean your hands and your contact lenses properly. To avoid the risk of infection, always wash your hands thoroughly before putting in or taking out your contact lenses. Make sure to disinfect contact lenses as instructed and replace them as appropriate.

Practice workplace eye safety. Employers are required to provide a safe work environment. When protective eyewear is required as a part of your job, make a habit of wearing the appropriate type at all times and encourage your coworkers to do the same.

Courtesy of the National Eye Institute. For more information, visit 

 Staff Changes

Welcome New Administrative Assistant for Marketing, Education and Governance

Justin Lemke joined the staff in January of 2015. He has worked in a wide-range of industries from manufacturing, to online content development, to teaching abroad. Justin will be putting his diverse background to use as he assists in Marketing, Education, and the Governance of the organization. In his free time he enjoys eating out, going to movies, and writing.

New Marketing Director

Nan Hoffman started at the Council in March, 2014 as the Grants Specialist. In January, 2015 she transitioned to the Director of Marketing role. Nan graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in nursing, and spent most of her career in health care administration in nonprofit organizations, most recently as vice president of marketing and fund development at Home Health United. Nan is a member of The Association of Fund Raising Professionals and Downtown Rotary in Madison.

Fund development updates
Gifts and grants help us change lives

All who benefit from the services provided by the Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired say THANK YOU to the individuals, grantors and businesses who gave so generously in 2014.

Your gifts supported the Vision Services team as they helped people adapt to their changing vision, organized webinars, led community events, and provided orientation and mobility training.  The Sharper Vision store served over 3000 customers with advice and adaptive products, including free white canes to those who qualified.

Grants and sponsorships from foundations and businesses throughout the state helped us take vision services to those in rural areas and funded a cooking class for those with low vision. 

Bequest gifts to the Council provide the stable funds that allow us to continue our mission of serving people in Wisconsin who are blind or visually impaired. A generous trust designated for scholarships allowed eleven students to receive grants totaling $16,500 to help them with their post-secondary education.

Our sincere thanks to everyone who made these efforts possible! 

The Big Share is Coming Soon

Community Shares of Wisconsin presents The Big Share on March 3, 2015! The Big Share is an online day of giving for 70 local nonprofits dedicated to building a fair, just community and protecting our environment. The Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired is participating in The Big Share.

The Big Share is a fun, easy, and flexible way to donate to and learn more about organizations that help our community. The Big Share will introduce you to local charities and causes and will provide a new way of giving for many who have yet to discover the Council.

You can schedule your donation anytime at or watch for more information in the February issue of OnSight.

Check our website soon for 2015 scholarship information

This year, the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired is offering scholarships in the amount of $1,500 to $2,000 each to full and part-time students-- whether undergrad, graduate, professional, or doctoral-- who are Wisconsin residents and are blind or visually impaired. 

Registration is online, and an application kit with guidelines will be available by February 6 at

We support education for meaningful employment.  If you do, too, please share this information with others.  Thank you!

 Sharper Vision Store
Wilson Recorder With Volume Control
Item # CR430 $42.00

Wilson Recorder

The Wilson Recorder is a simple to use digital recorder can store up to 12 hours of recordings based on the selected recording quality. It's easy to add or delete messages or transfer messages onto your computer via included USB cable. Users can also pause while recording. This device measures 4" x 3" and comes with volume control, a belt clip, and a single earbud. This recorder makes notes, memos, and reminders easy for low vision users. 

Council office closed for holiday

The Council office and Sharper Vision Store will be closed on Monday, January 19, 2015 to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

 May we help you?

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