Low Vision and Talking Books; Look Into It

Low Vision and Talking Books; Look Into It

EJ is one of my favorite patients.   She has a great family that supports and loves her.  At her visits, we talk about the latest on TV (we have spent hours talking about American Idol), current events and how she loves to read.

EJ is legally blind from advanced macular degeneration and cant’ “read.”  EJ uses Talking Books.

Though I deal with patients that have lost vision from retinal diseases such as macular degeneration and diabetic reitinopathy, I don’t actually work with the low vision needs of my patients.  Several weeks ago, I introduced Dr. Chris Renner, a low vision eye doctor in northern Virginia, who does such work.

Talking Books is a free library service that, through the NLS (National Library Service), mails braille and audio materials to persons with low vision (my patients), blindness or physical handicap who are unable to read standard printed material.

The service is free to all those that qualify.  Enrolling basically requires a letter from your doctor, or other qualified person, to attest to your difficulty.  The materials are also sent postage-free.

The link for NLS site for Talking Books has all the information you’ll need to learn about this service including eligibility requirements and enrollment applications.   Should you forget or lose this post somewhere, the link will be included on our web page as well.

EJ also attends a Low Vision Support Group organized through Fairfax County (Virginia).  She has found this to be another valuable resource.

What Does This Mean? EJ is one of my favorite patients because she is always upbeat.  The glass is always “half-full.”  While visually impaired, but refuses to be visually disabled.  She loves to read and has found a way to sustain her passion.  I have a lot of respect for her.

EJ is so pleased with this program, that I asked her to share it with you.

While Talking Books is a national program, I would encourage you to look for other support in your local area.  If you find something in particular you’d like me to include, please send me an email or “comment.”


Randall V. Wong, M.D.

Ophthalmologist, Retina Specialist
Fairfax, Virginia

  • Chris Renner, O.D.
    Posted at 18:05h, 26 February Reply

    In that same vein, the Radio Reading Service, run by the Washington Ear, loans radios that are pre-tuned to special frequencies. They have volunteers who read the Post, various magazines, web publications every day. The service and equipment is free. They read items that will never make it to tape or be downloaded.


  • teresa weber
    Posted at 16:42h, 27 February Reply

    Inspiring! Love this child… Teri

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 20:22h, 27 February Reply

      There are a lot of overlooked resources out there. For those of us who don’t need them, we remain unaware.


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