The Outlook

Official Newsletter of the Sight-Loss
Support Group of Central PA, Inc

The Sight-Loss Support Group of Central Pennsylvania, Inc.
Turning Darkness into Light Since 1982

P.O. Box 782, Lemont, PA  16851            814-238-0132


Winter/Spring 2018



Please join us on February 8 for lunch and a special presentation by two Penn State researchers: “The Future is Here: Cutting Edge Research in Access Technology for the Visually Impaired.”

A new wave of access technology is emerging in the labs at Penn State’s Center for Human Computer Interaction. Prototypes of smart glasses, smart phone apps, and an interactive shopping glove are evolving in our own backyard. Sooyeon Lee and Wang Xiying will join us for a show-and-tell and explain their current research. Members of the Sight-Loss Support Group (SLSG)and the National Federation of the Blind, Happy Valley Chapter, have participated in the developmental phase of these futuristic devices for several years.

Our monthly 2nd Thursday’s lunch group is a good place to be if you are new to vision loss or are an old hand. We have a simple lunch and share our stories and experiences with one another. After lunch, we usually have a short presentation on a topic of interest to individuals with sight loss. Occasionally, we’ll get together for a special event such as a play, baseball game, or special tour. Come eat, share, and connect at 2nd Thursdays. We hope to meet you soon.

2nd Thursdays is a collaboration of the Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services, North Central Sight Services, and the Sight-Loss Support Group of Central PA. Each month, staff members and clients from each organization come together and find common ground.

Where: Mt Nittany Residences, 301 Rolling Ridge Drive (behind Hills Plaza) in the activities room.

When: 11:30–1:00/1:30

Details: Lunch is “on the house.” For help with transportation, please call Josie Kantner at (814)238-0132 (SLSG office).



We are excited about the variety of audio-described events planned! In addition to the Penn State Center for the Performing Arts events, FUSE and the State High Thespians are on the slate, as well as a garden tour, and a local public art tour. Tell your friends and co-workers about these offerings. Those with full-vision may also find the introduction and description helpful and interesting.

For theater productions, audio-describers provide pre-show information about the production, characters, costumes, and sets. During theater and dance performances, without interrupting dialog, these professionals describe the ongoing visual elements. Receivers and headsets are provided free of charge for use during performances; the description service is also free. For tours and art exhibits, describers detail individual works, provide background, and often provide “tactiles.”

Please arrive in plenty of time to acquire your headset and go to your seat before the 15-minute pre-show description begins. REMEMBER: Reservations are required AT LEAST TWO WEEKS IN ADVANCE for audio-description. Also, assistance with ticket costs is available for many performances. Please call the Sight-Loss Support Group of Central PA at (814) 238-0132 or email at for reservations or for further information.

CINDERELLA (Musical): Wednesday, February 21, 7:30 pm, Eisenhower Auditorium.

The PSU Center for the Performing Arts presents the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, Cinderella. Adapted for the stage with enchanting music by Rodgers and Hammerstein, this lush production of the traditional fairy tale features an incredible orchestra, jaw-dropping transformations, and all the moments you love—the pumpkin, the glass slipper, the masked ball, and more—plus some surprising twists! Please reserve the audio-description (A-D) service by Feb 7, and be seated by 7:15 pm. See ticket information below.*

MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG (Musical): Friday, February 23,
7:30 pm, Schwab Auditorium.

FUSE Productions presents Stephen Sondheims's semi-autobiographical musical, Merrily We Roll Along, an uplifting story that turns back the clock on friendship, compromise, and the high price of success. Tickets are required ( or phone (814)-380-8672; ask for reduced "student" price). Note: A-D at the Friday, Feb 23 performance only. Please reserve the A-D service by Feb 9, and be seated by 7:15 pm.

DORRANCE DANCE, ETM: Double Down (Modern Tap Dance): Tuesday, February 27, 7:30 pm, Eisenhower Auditorium.

The PSU Center for the Performing Arts presents Dorrance Dance, an award-winning tap dance company that aims to honor tap dance’s uniquely beautiful history in a new, dynamic, and compelling context, by pushing it rhythmically, technically, and conceptually. ETM: Double Down uses electronic tap boards; the stage, in effect, becomes a musical instrument. Please reserve the A-D service by Feb 13, and be seated by 7:15 pm. See ticket information below.*

DIRTY DANCING, The Classic Story on Stage (Musical): Thursday, March 22, 7:30 pm, Eisenhower Auditorium.

The PSU Center for the Performing Arts presents Dirty Dancing, an unprecedented live experience, exploding with heart-pounding music, passionate romance, and sensational dancing. Two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds, Baby and Johnny, come together in what will be the most challenging and triumphant summer of their lives. The hit songs, “Hungry Eyes,” “Hey Baby,” and the heart-stopping “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” will have you singing along. Please reserve the A-D service by March 8, and be seated by 7:15 pm. Note: A-D service for the Thursday performance only. See ticket information below.*

MUMMENSCHANZ, You and Me (Visual Theatre): Sunday, April 8, 4:00 pm, Eisenhower Auditorium.

The PSU Center for the Performing Arts presents Mummenschanz, You and Me. By creating a playful yet compelling experience through the inventive use of shadow, light, and creative manipulation of objects, the Swiss-based visual theatre troupe Mummenschanz offers timeless insight on the human condition. The result is a visually stunning spectacle that transcends cultural barriers and sparks the imagination. Please reserve the A-D service by March 25, and be seated by 3:45 pm. See ticket information below.*

ONCE UPON A MATTRESS (Musical): Sunday, April 15, 2:00 pm, State High Thespians.

In this musical version of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale, The Princess and the Pea, Princess Winnifred is an ungainly, brash girl competing for the hand of Prince Dauntless, whose domineering mother Queen Aggravain has declared he must marry a "true" princess before anyone else in the kingdom can marry. A-D service for the Sunday matinee performance only. Please reserve the A-D service by April 1, and be seated by 1:45 pm. Due to ongoing construction at the State College High School, and limited information at press time, please verify ticket information and performance location with the SLSG office when reserving the A-D service.

SPRING FLOWER TOUR: Tuesday, May 15, 10:00 am, H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens, PSU Arboretum.

Join us as we explore the glorious springtime floral displays at the botanic gardens! Master Gardeners and the Centre Crest Gardening Club will lead the way. We will meet at the main parking area entrance of the gardens (corner of Park Avenue and Bigler Rd) at 9:50 am. The tour is free and open to all, but please notify the SLSG office by email at or by phoning (814)-238-0132 by May 1 if you plan to attend.

WALKING TOUR OF STATE COLLEGE SCULPTURES: Tuesday, June 5, 1:00 pm, meeting site TBA.

Save the date, and join us as we explore some of the prolific public art works of downtown State College. The tour is free and open to all, but please notify the SLSG office by email at or by phoning (814)-238-0132 by May 22 if you plan on attending. Rain date Wednesday, June 6.

June 24, 2:00 pm, Schwab Auditorium.

FUSE Productions presents The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the musical based on Victor Hugo's novel. The story follows  Quasimodo, a deformed man taken in by Claude Frollo as an infant. Due to his haggard appearance, Quasimodo is forced to remain inside the Notre Dame cathedral for his entire life, until meeting a girl named Esmeralda. Note: A-D service at the Sunday, June 24, matinee performance only. Tickets are available through FUSE ( or phone (814)-380-8672; ask for reduced "student" price). Please reserve the A-D service by June 10, and be seated by 1:45 pm.


*Ticket Information for the PSU Center for the Performing Arts (Eisenhower Auditoruium):

Tickets are necessary and may be purchased by calling the Center for the Performing Arts at (814)-863-0255 or (800)-ARTS-TIX. A limited number of complimentary tickets are available for Eisenhower shows for patrons with sight-loss and a guest through their Accessibility Program; phone the Eisenhower Auditorium, (814)-863-0234 and ask for Christine Igoe.


Tip: View the calendar page of the Sight-Loss Support Group's website at for more information.




A recent study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) has been decreasing with each successive generation throughout the 20th century. Adjusting for age and sex, each generation was more than 60% less likely to develop AMD than the previous generation. The incidence of AMD was 8.8% in the Greatest Generation (born during 1901-1924), 3.0% in the Silent Generation (born during 1925-1945), 1.0% in the Baby Boom Generation (born during 1946-1964), and 0.3% in Generation X (born during 1965-1984).

The study, conducted in 2016 and 2017, examined data from the longitudinal Beaver Dam Eye Study that followed 4,819 residents of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin - the original participants and their offspring—from 1987-2013. The strong generational association remained significant after adjusting for age, sex, smoking, educational attainment, exercise, levels of non-HDL cholesterol, and other clinical factors.

The steady decline in the incidence of AMD suggests that aging Baby Boomers and members of Generation X may well experience better retinal health longer than did the previous two generations. Factors that explain this decline in risk are not known; however, this pattern is consistent with reported declines in risks for cardiovascular disease and dementia.

The improvement may be attributed to better environmental conditions, as well as improved nutrition and approaches to disease, but more research is needed to determine cause-and-effect relationships. In the meantime, our incentive to do all the things we know we should do just got stronger. So—eat those deep leafy greens and blueberries, feast on cold-water fish a few times a week, get a good night’s sleep, and take that afternoon walk. Your body and your eyes will thank you.


Yoga teacher, Gretchen Hein, has created a five CD series, Beginning Yoga for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Gretchen provides clear, concise, and direct instructions, as well as spatial cues, as she guides beginners through the fundamental poses of yoga. She has extensive training in the Iyengar and Anusara yoga traditions and teaches at Namaste Yoga in Tallahassee, Florida. The CDs are available directly from her: (845) 901-0585;



For many decades people were advised to limit their consumption of eggs because it was thought that cholesterol-rich eggs increased the risk of heart disease. Now researchers are unscrambling the nutrition science on eggs. According to research conducted by Harvard researcher Dr. Fran Hu, “Consuming one to two eggs per day was not found to have any substantial overall impact on the risk of coronary heart disease or stroke among healthy men and women.”

So, your one to two eggs each day could be totally benign, cholesterol-wise. Egg yolks have protein, iron, phosphorus, zinc, folate, selenium, and choline. And egg yolks are excellent for your eyes — vitamin A, D, lutein and zeaxanthin, all support eye health. Time for a new omelet pan!



Two CCTV systems are still available for distribution. These Screen Magnifier Systems have been donated to the Sight-Loss-Support Group and are available to be loaned at no cost to a visually-impaired individual. Both are older type systems, but are in good working order, with large screens. If you are interested in using one of these systems in your home, please contact the office (814-238-0132 or


Remember to check our website ( for announcements, updates, and further information, and to follow Sight-Loss Support Group of Central PA Inc” on Facebook.



Winter/Spring 2018 (February, 2018)