November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month

Tozer Eye Center
34 million Americans live with diabetes. Diabetes can impact multiple health systems in the body including eyesight and eye health.

Diabetic Retinopathy is a complication of diabetes where high blood sugar levels damage the blood vessels in the retina and is the leading cause of new-onset blindness. This condition can cause blurred vision, floaters and vision loss which can lead to blindness if not treated. While these complications can most often affect older patients, they can affect younger people in their teens and twenties as well.

According to the National Eye Institute, Diabetic retinopathy has four stages:

  • Mild non-proliferative retinopathy: At this early stage, small areas of balloon-like swelling occur in the retina’s tiny blood vessels.
  • Moderate non-proliferative retinopathy: As the disease progresses, some blood vessels that nourish the retina become blocked.
  • Severe non-proliferative retinopathy: Many more blood vessels become blocked, which disrupts the blood supply that nourishes the retina. The damaged retina sometimes then signals the body to produce new blood vessels.
  • Proliferative retinopathy: At this advanced stage, signals sent by the retina trigger the development of new blood vessels that grow (or proliferate) in the retina and the vitreous, which is a transparent gel that fills the interior of the eye. Because these new blood vessels are abnormal, they can rupture and bleed, causing hemorrhages in the retina or vitreous. Scar tissue can develop and can tug at the retina, causing further damage or even retinal detachment.

The CDC recommends these eye health practices to diabetics, both for control of vision problems and to slow worsening eyesight:

  • Schedule a comprehensive eye exam annually getting the recommended yearly dilated eye exam.
    • Keep blood sugar levels in your target range – over time, high blood sugar not only damages blood vessels in your eyes; It can also cause large fluctuations in your glasses and contact lens prescriptions.
    • Keep blood pressure and cholesterol levels in your target range to lower your risk of diseases and vision loss.
    • Quit smoking.
    • Exercise and be active. Physical activity protects your eyes and helps you manage diabetes.
    • Educate your family and friends. Preventing vision loss and blindness is a leading public health challenge.

If you or someone you know is experiencing vision loss, contact us 570-323-9401.

October is National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month

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Declared in 1988 by the United States Congress, October is recognized as National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). This is a time to celebrate and educate the importance of employing people with disabilities. Seventy percent of working-aged American’s who are blind or visually impaired are unemployed. This figure is unacceptably high given the abundance of assistive technology available and record low unemployment rates among the general population. 

This year’s theme for NDEAM is Advancing Access and Equity. An inclusive workforce is a strong workforce. It is critical to recognize the importance of ensuring all people have equal opportunity to contribute their skills and talents by providing the resources needed to succeed. NDEAM counters negative attitudes and misunderstandings that persist and lead to unequal employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

How can you celebrate NDEAM?

Get educated!

Spread the word!

Be an advocate!

  • Commit to making your community accessible to people with different disabilities
  • Support artists with disabilities
  • Participate in protests and demonstrations on disability issues
  • Join and/or donate to disability organizations you like
  • Talk about disability issues with friends, family, classmates, and coworkers

Employer Resources

Inclusive apprenticeship programs help employers access a wider talent pool. Learn how to start or expand an apprenticeship program:

The Job Accommodation Network helps employers increase access and opportunity for people with disabilities: 

Want to hire a diverse, talented workforce? This free online toolkit from  has tools to create a more disability-inclusive and compliant workplace 

Employers: Are you using accessible technology to increase access and opportunity for people with disabilities? The Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology can help:

The Campaign for Disability Employment, an initiative of the Office of Disability Employment Policy, offers PSAs and more that employers can incorporate into National Disability Employment Awareness Month celebrations:

For more information about #NDEAM visit

September is (CVI) Cerebral Vision Impairment Awareness Month

CVI- Cerebral visual impairment (sometimes referred to as cortical visual impairment) is a disorder caused by damage to the parts of the brain that processes vision. CVI is the leading cause of visual impairments in the United States. One study shows that up to 1 in 30 children have CVI-related visual difficulties.  

CVI is most common in babies and young children but can continue into adulthood. Some people with CVI have good vision when measured on a letter or picture chart – their vision is sharp – but they can’t use their vision properly to do everyday tasks. In other words, many children with CVI have no problems with their eyes, but their brains are unable to decode what they are looking at.

A Child with CVI may have trouble:

  • Responding to the things they see
  • Seeing certain parts of what is in from of them, like busy moving scenes
  • Recognizing faces and objects
  • Recognizing things in cluttered spaces
  • Reaching for something while they’re looking at it
  • Understanding what they’re looking at

Frontiers | Cortical Visual Impairments and Learning Disabilities

Parents may also notice that their child with CVI:

  • Reacts slowly to visual clues
  • Prefers to look at things that are moving
  • Prefers to look at things in a certain part of their vision like with their peripheral (side) vision

What causes CVI?

CVI can be caused by a number of different factors including a lack of oxygen or blood supply to the brain, hydrocephalus, infections that reach the brain, head injury, and certain genetic conditions. Babies that are born prematurely are more likely to have CVI.

There isn’t a cure for CVI, but vision rehabilitation can help people with CVI make the most of their vision. They can continue to do the things they love, they just may have to find alternative ways of doing them. Babies and children with CVI need early intervention and therapy, educational support, and other special services to help them develop and learn.

If you believe your child is experiencing CVI, or any other vision difficulties, we are here to help. contact us at 570-323-9401.

August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month

August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month

Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month is celebrated every August to bring attention to the importance of healthy eyes to prevent blindness and other sight impairments. The goal is to raise awareness about the importance of taking care of the health of children’s eyes throughout the month. Good eyesight and eye health are vital for young children’s physical and cognitive development. Because children of a young age are not always able to understand when their eyes are not healthy or when they are having a sight issue, parents need to be cognizant of their children’s vision. They should understand and recognize when their child’s sight is being hindered or they are having a significant issue that needs attention. 

One of 20 children ages 3 to 5 has a vision problem that could result in permanent vision if left untreated. Despite these unsettling statistics, 80 percent of preschoolers do not receive an eye screening.  The best way to ensure good vision health is to take your child for regular eye examinations. Eye examinations allow for diagnoses of impairments or difficulties your child may have with their vision better ensuring for greater success with learning. 

Examinations are the best way to protect your child by health. It’s important to know, eye problems can develop in between appointments as well. There are some behaviors that children may display that could be warning signs concerning their eye health: 

Eye Appearance:

Eyes not lining up properly—one eye turns in or out

Eyelids are red, crusty, or swollen

Eyes are red or watery


Rubbing eyes all the time

Covers or closes an eye, Squints or frowns

Your Child Says:

“My eyes itch”, “My eyes are burning”, “My eyes are on fire”

At NCSS we offer vision screenings to our community. Our vision screenings detect symptoms of vison loss and potential eye diseases. Quick, easy and effective, our screening program incorporates the Spot™ Vision Screener, a handheld device that scans both eyes at the same time from a comfortable three feet away. It can detect potential vision issues across all age groups, starting at six-months. If an individual shows signs of a visual problem and does not pass our screening, we refer that individual to an eye care professional of his or her choice for a complete eye exam. 

Functional Vision Exams for Children
NCSS’ Functional Vision Clinic (FVC) is an initiative that aims to serve school aged children with unique vision capabilities and those who would otherwise have financial hardship or are under/uninsured. It provides a complete eye examination with tests that can find vision-related learning problems in children. 

For more information, please contact our Prevention of Blindness Department


NCSS Receives Grant from the Elsie Skvir Ganister Fund at the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania

North Central Sight Services was awarded $465.00 from the Elsie Skivir Ganister Fund at the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania. These funds will be used to provide vision screenings to 232 children in the community’s we serve. 

School districts are currently performing annual vision screenings on all their students to remain in compliance with 28 PA code, Chapter 23.4. Valuable resources are being used within the school districts, often removing those resources from daily school functionality including but not limited to nursing and administrative staff. NCSS aims to remove the need for these resources by assisting in meeting state mandated reporting requirements while also providing high quality screening results and information from certified screeners and consistent follow-up and support for families as they seek the corrective measures needed for their children. The American Association of Pediatrics Ophthalmology and Strabismus sites several correlations to the academic performance in children and the health of their eyes. Early detection and treatment are imperative. 

NCSS is expanding our Social Services Program to provide all students in Lycoming, Sullivan, and Tioga County School districts with high quality, state mandated vision screenings on an annual basis. These funds will help us reach that goal. 

NCSS staff completes vision screenings for numerous school districts and will begin to incorporate an auditory assessment to school children K-12 to provide all results necessary to meet state reporting guidelines. NCSS will also assist in the referral of students who meet additional referral criterion. 

We are thankful to the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania for their continued support! 

NCSS Receives Document Shredding Contract for Pennsylvania State Agencies

North Central Sight Services, Inc. (NCSS) in partnership with UniqueSource Products & Services is now contracted to offer document shredding services for Commonwealth agencies, including executive, independent, and state-affiliated entities in central Pennsylvania.

Beginning on July 1, 2023, NCSS became the sole provider of document shredding to state agencies in Bradford, Centre, Clinton, Columbia, Luzerne, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, and Union counties. Dauphin, Juniata, Mifflin, and Perry counties are projected to be added July 1, 2024.

“We have provided excellent service to our commercial shredding clientele and are thrilled to add PA state agencies as customers,” said Brandy Moon, SHRM-SCP Chief Operations Officer.  “This growth in our shredding department will help us to continue our mission to serve more people,”

“UniqueSource is proud to facilitate the expansion of NCSS’s shredding services to Commonwealth agencies,” said Matt Dickens, UniqueSource Vice President of Sales. “The growth of employment opportunity for Pennsylvanians with disabilities that offer competitive wages and integrated environment is our primary focus, and we are excited to see the continued development through this and other contracts.”

NCSS document shredding is secure, flexible, and compliant to ISO 9001:2015, HIPPA, I-Sigma, and PCI standards. Pennsylvania state agencies in these counties in need of shredding services can email to get started.

For more information about North Central Sight Services, Inc. shredding services, visit

About UniqueSource:

UniqueSource Products & Services is a membership-based organization with 53 members that focuses on employment for Pennsylvanians with disabilities. By prioritizing adaptive technologies and other supportive accommodations UniqueSource members employ approximately 2,000 persons with disabilities each year, with positions available in every county of the Commonwealth. For more information visit

Firework Eye Safety Week June 28th-July 4th

Fireworks Eye Safety Tips - Kugler Vision
Firework related injuries can cause significant trauma and injuries to individuals. Studies have shown that hands and eyes are the most injured, with the loss of hand function and blindness being the most common and serious injuries. In the most recent annual report from the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), The commission found that there were an estimated 10,300 fireworks related injuries treated at US hospital emergency rooms. The report also found some of the following statistics relating to firework injuries.

  • 71% of fireworks-related injuries were to males.
  • 14% of fireworks-related injuries were to the eyes.
  • Firecrackers were the leading cause of fireworks-related injuries, followed by sparklers.
  • Adults ages 20-24 years had the highest estimated rate of emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries.

Children younger than the age of 15 accounted for 26% of estimated injuries. Some of these injuries were the result of using sparklers. Unbeknownst to many, sparklers can burn at temperatures up to 1800 degrees. It is vital that parents supervise their children when celebrating and using these fireworks. 

Other studies have found that bystanders can account for almost half of all fireworks related injuries. All individuals must be vigilant during any type of celebration that includes fireworks. Either simply observing the fireworks or taking part in a celebration, everyone should be aware of their surroundings and remain a safe distance from all threats.

Here are some firework safety tips from the American Academy of Ophthalmology to follow to remain safe if your family tradition includes lighting fireworks at home: 

  • Observe local laws and use consumer fireworks
  • Wear protective eyewear. Fireworks-related eye injuries are typically a mix of blunt force trauma, heat burns, and chemical exposure. 
  • Do not allow young children to play with fireworks. Sparklers, a firework often considered to be the ideal “safe” device for youth, burn at very high temperatures and should not be handled by young children. Children may not understand the danger of fireworks and may not act appropriately while using the devices or in emergencies. 
  • Set of fireworks outdoors in a clear area, away from a house, structure, dry leaves, grass, and other flammable materials. 
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies and for pouring on fireworks that fail to ignite or explode. 
  • Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning or “dud” fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away. 
  • Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks. 
  • Never light fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal container. 
  • Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas. 
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place. 
  • Check instructions for particular storage directions. 
  • Never have any portion of your body directly over a firework while lighting. 
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks. 

If you or someone you are with experiences an eye emergency, here are some tips to follow.

  • Seek medical attention immediately.
  • Do not rub the eye or the surrounding area. Rubbing may increase bleeding or cause the injury to become worse.
  • Do not rinse the eye out with water or any liquid. Rinsing the eye can cause more damage than rubbing.
  • Do not apply pressure to the eye or the injury. Protecting the eye from further contact with any item is important.
  • Do not stop to take any type of medicine or pain reliever. Finding medical attention or going to the emergency room is the most important thing. Time is of the essence.
  • Do not apply any ointment or lotion to the injury. This may cause the area to become slippery and hinder medical personnel from being able to examine the injury. Also, the ointment or lotion may not be sterile.

    The Explosive Truth on Fireworks Safety - Eye Centers of Racine & Kenosha

    As we celebrate America and our freedom, remember to do it safely. 

June is Cataract Awareness Month

June Is Cataract Awareness Month | Eyecare Associates of New Orleans
June is Cataract Awareness Month
. Cataracts are the number one cause of preventable blindness throughout the world. Unfortunately, many people who suffer from cataracts in developing nations do not have access to care or technology that is required to diagnose and treat cataracts. With the advancement of technology, surgical procedures that remove cataracts have been developed and evolved greatly within recent times. These surgeries can restore vision within only a few minutes for those who have gone blind due to advanced cataracts. It is estimated that there are 4 million cataract procedures performed each year within the United States. Worldwide, that number is 28 million procedures each year or about 60,000 each day around the world.  

Cataracts come about in the eye when a natural lens becomes cloudy and does not allow the light to enter the eye. The lens of the eye is a small transparent structure that assists bending light and allows it to be precisely focused onto the retina. In most cases, cataracts develop in the eyes of individuals over the age of 50. In some cases, it may be congenital or result from a specific disease or trauma. The way to treat cataracts is to have surgery that removes the lens; and it is replaced with an implant to help restore vision.

Just a couple of decades ago, cataract surgery was considered a high-risk procedure with long recovery times. Thanks to advancements, cataract surgery today is an outpatient procedure that can be done with the patient recovering at home the same day. In some cases, the individual may even be able to operate a vehicle the day after the surgery. The surgery itself involves a microscopic incision that allows the cataract to be removed. An intraocular lens is then implanted to replace the damaged, cloudy lens. Recovery time is rapid thanks to the quick healing from the tiny incision that is made during the surgery. 

Symptoms of cataracts:

  • Decreasing vision with age
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Seeing halos around bright lights
  • Difficulty distinguishing colors
  • Frequent prescription changes for glasses
  • Difficulty reading

Causes of cataracts:

  • Age
  • Eye trauma
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Glaucoma
  • Sun Exposure

Treatment of cataracts:  

  • New glasses
  • Anti-glare sunglasses or magnifying lenses
  • Surgery

    Cataract Awareness Month

If you are experiencing cataract symptoms, contact your doctor to discuss your options. 

NIB/NAEPB Advocacy Day – Washington DC

Advocating for people who are blind or have low vision.

Before I lost about 85% of my vision 10 years ago, I would have never imagined that soon I would be confidently roaming the halls of Congressional office buildings in Washington DC. That is exactly where Kim Zimmer, CEO, and I (Suellen Porter, Customer Service Manager) were on May 10, 2023.  We were attending the NIB/NAEPB Advocacy Day:  Connect the Dots. We were visiting the offices of Congressmen Glen Thompson and Dan Meuser, and the office of Senator Robert Casey. 

The right for people with disabilities to choose their own career paths has become my political passion.  Over 70% of blind or visually impaired adults in the United States are under or un-employed. The AbilityOne Program is a federal program that was established in 1938 to create employment opportunities for people who are blind or have significant disabilities. Through our partnership with National Industries for the Blind (NIB), NCSS offers employment opportunities by manufacturing, purchasing, and shipping products to federal agencies and the military all over the world. 

Kim and I were asking our legislatures to amend the federal Rehabilitation Act to require State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies to provide their clients with information about AbilityOne jobs offered by non-profit agencies, like ours.  We also asked that they hold hearings to ensure that all government agencies are following federal mandates through purchasing AbilityOne products.

Providing employment opportunities is essential for people who have sight impairment or blindness. Without these opportunities, many individuals would be unable to find employment. As a result, they would struggle financially while relying more on government services to supplement their income and financial needs. Not only is employment a financial need, but it also gives individuals self-worth and dignity. Employment allows individuals to be part of the community. Interactions at work may lead to friendships and relationships that will also allow the individual to grow as a person rather than being isolated.

The Legislative Directors and Aides we spoke to in all 3 offices were eager to listen to our concerns.  They agreed that all people with disabilities have the right to choose where they work, and that Congress needs to exercise more oversight to ensure that the AbilityOne Program continues to grow to provide more opportunities for the disabled community.  We are assured that our elected officials are listening to our concerns and that they will continue to do their best to help keep us employed.

Visit to learn more. 

May is Healthy Vision Month!

May is Healthy Vision Month. It is celebrated to stress the importance of the health of our eyes and vision. Established in 2003 by the National Eye Institute, the goal is to spread awareness and educate society about the risks of ignoring overall eye health. One main goal for the month is to encourage individuals to have regular eye exams and checkups. It is important to be proactive and not wait for vision problems to start.

Approximately 39 million people in the world are blind and six times as many are visually impaired or have some type of sight impairment. Some eye conditions can cause vision loss and even blindness. These include Cataracts, a clouding of the eye. Diabetic retinopathy, which causes damage to the blood vessels in the back of the eye. Glaucoma, damage to the optic nerve, often with increased eye pressure. Age-related macular degeneration, which gradually affects central vision.

5 ways to protect and support healthy vision.

  1. A healthy diet is very important for good vision. Eating healthy supports every part of your body. To help your eyes, make sure you have dark, leafy greens and seafood that is high in omega three fatty acids in your diet.
  2. Wearing protective eyewear keeps your eyes safe during many activities. Protective eyewear is not only just when playing sports. Everyday activities, especially outside where different environments can have items or objects blowing through the air can be dangerous for your eyes. Some activities such as mowing the lawn, cutting firewood, or even painting can put your eye safety at risk. It is also important, with as much time as we look at screens, that we start wearing blue light protection glasses. These glasses can prevent the blue light from damaging our eyes and will assist with the wear of our everyday screen viewing.
  3. Wearing sunglasses will help protect your eyes from the UV rays (ultraviolet radiation) that the sun produces every day. It is significant to note that not all sunglasses provide levels of protection from UV rays. When shopping for sunglasses, it is vital to ask what type of UV protection the glasses provide. Sunglasses with both UVA and UVB protection will provide the most defense.
  4. Clean hands are very important to your eye health. Keeping your hands clean will aid in keeping dirt and possible infections from your eyes. We wipe and rub our eyes constantly throughout the day and even the slightest dirt or germs can have real, long-lasting effects. It is also key to make sure your hands are clean, especially if you use contacts and are putting them in or taking them out.
  5. Smoking is detrimental to your eye health. Smoking has been linked to many diseases, but it can also lead to vision loss. Smoking can increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and other vision impairment.
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