Auburn's Center for Visually Impaired Adults goes high-tech

Many tools available for sight assistance
By: Krissi Khokhobashvili, Journal Features Editor
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For people with low or no vision, a community group is here to help with friendship, education and, thanks to a donation from the Auburn Host Lions Club, a bevy of tools to make everyday tasks easier.

“There’s all kinds of stuff out there that is available to help with visual impairment,” said Dave Brown, a longtime member of the Center for Visually Impaired Adults in Auburn. 

With the $5,000 donation, the center purchased the Eye-Pal Solo, which scans typed documents, displays them on a screen and reads them out loud. Text size, volume and even text and background color can be changed at the touch of a button, and members can use it to read newspapers, legal documents or any text they can’t see clearly.

Other tools available are a color identifier, useful when getting ready in the morning because it will differentiate navy blue from black, and identify many other colors. A currency identifier scans bills and says what denomination they are. At a recent meeting, members tried out a talking kitchen scale and a tool that hangs over the top of a cup or glass that makes a sound when liquid being poured in is nearing the top. 

Members can test out tools at the center to see if it’s something they might like to buy themselves for use at home. 

Lynne Laney, center coordinator, said there’s a small portable closed-circuit television available that projects a magnified image of an object onto a screen.

“A person can actually take it in their pocket to a store to read a label,” Laney said.

In addition to gadgets, the center has a volunteer core that works to help members with independent living skills, exercise and more. There is a Braille instructor and Laney can help with measuring and beginning instruction for white canes.

At the weekly meetings at Unity of Auburn, members hear from various presenters, including entertainers and experts in vision impairment.

“One of the neat things about this group is that you run across stuff all the time that is new to you that you used to be able to do but you can’t do anymore, because you can’t see,” Brown said. “And if you throw it out to the group, there probably isn’t anything that somebody hasn’t solved.”

“It’s a real support group,” agreed member Lucille Dyer. “There are varying stages of vision problems in the group, and it’s really good to see how people who have less vision than I do are able to live their lives, and the common, everyday things that they do. It’s really inspiring to me.”

Reach Krissi Khokhobashvili at

Center for Visually Impaired Adults
What: Resource and support for adults with limited or no vision
When: 9:30 a.m. to noon Wednesdays
Where: Unity of Auburn, 1212 High St., Auburn
Cost: Free
Information: Dave Brown, (530) 637-4592