Vision Screenings Are Essential for a Healthy Life

Many of us remember visiting the school nurse for an annual vision screening as children. As we grow into adulthood, this important appointment is often overlooked. Far too often, adults wait until they experience vision problems before they schedule a screening. By missing annual vision screenings, vision problems cannot be detected early and treated.

With the use a special camera, vision screenings are intended to assess vision issues and help identify problems that can lead to poor vision. Vision screenings are not as comprehensive as eye exams. Eye exams are more comprehensive and include tests for conditions such as color blindness, glaucoma and depth perception.

As the population in the United States ages, the number people who are blind or visually impaired is estimated to double by 2030 and triple by 2050. Vision screenings are a critical part of one’s overall health and can significantly improve the quality of life for millions of Americans.

For children, vision screenings are essential to help ensure their development. Young children cannot identify and communicate challenges with their vision. If left untreated, vision disorders can interfere with a child’s academic and social progression. In some cases, untreated vision disorders can lead to permanent vision loss.

For individuals and families living in Bradford, Centre, Clinton, Lycoming, Sullivan, and Tioga counties, North Central Sight Services, Inc., provides quick, easy and effective preventive vision screenings to detect vision loss and potential eye diseases. The organization uses 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 old. Individuals who do not pass the screenings are referred to local eye care professionals.

For income-eligible children, North Central Site Services, Inc., provides opportunities for eye exams through its Functional Vision Clinic, which is held monthly at the organization’s facility in Williamsport. A pediatric optometrist specializing in visual-related learning problems conducts the exams. Common signs of a functional vision issue include poor eye-hand coordination, alternate uses of the right and left hands, and difficulty when studying visual information.

For more than 65 years, North Central Sight Services, Inc. has assisted individuals who are blind or visually impaired to live independently and maximize their quality of life. The organization helps prevent vision loss through education programs and screenings for children and adults. North Central Sight Services, Inc., offers adjustment services for people losing their vision, support services, employment opportunities for people who are blind or visually impaired, and a prevention of blindness program.

For more information on vision screenings and related services, contact North Central Sight Services at (570) 323-9401.

Financial Assistance Available for Assistive Technology for Centre County Residents with Low Vision

For people who have low vision, everyday tasks become more complicated and living independently can become difficult. Assistive Technology, however, can change that.

North Central Sight Services is offering financial assistance to Centre County residents to provide Assistive Technology devices. The funding is made possible through a grant presented to North Central Sight Services by an anonymous donor.

“Assistive Technology helps people with low vision to live independently,” said North Central Sight Services President and CEO Brian Patchett. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to get these life-changing devices in the hands of Centre County residents who can benefit from them.”

Assistive Technology ranges from low-tech items like bump dots and magnifiers to high-tech devices such as CCTVs, digital magnifiers and wearable devices, many of which include text-to-speech features.

North Central Sight Services employs an Assistive Technology Specialist to educate blind and visually impaired clients on the latest technology, including Apple products, to enhance independence. At the organization’s Assistive Technology Lab in Williamsport, the specialist helps evaluate individual client needs and helps find devices that best suits those needs. The specialist is there to support clients every step of the way, including obtaining the appropriate devices and providing technical assistance to clients, family members and employers.

In addition to the availability of individual financial assistance, North Central Sight Services recently donated Assistive Technology devices to Bellefonte Library, the main branch of the Centre County Library System, to assist library patrons who have low vision. The donation to the library includes two desktop video magnifiers, five handheld devices, two high-contrast/large-print keyboards and one large monitor, as well as a Zoom text magnifying software license. While the desktop devices are available for patrons to use on-site at the Bellefonte Library, the handheld devices are available to patrons to borrow for a seven-day loan.

If you’d like to learn more about Assistive Technology or the financial assistance available to Centre County residents, please contact us at (570) 323-9401.

Conquering Goals While Helping Others: Meet Steven Floyd

Steven Floyd, II of Williamsport takes great pride and satisfaction in helping others. In his role as an Assistive Technology Specialist with North Central Sight Services, Steven works directly with clients to educate them on the many forms of assistive technology available to improve their quality of life and increase their independence. For 65 years, North Central Sight Services has provided programs and services for people who are blind or visually impaired in Bradford, Centre, Clinton, Lycoming, Sullivan and Tioga counties.

Assistive Technology ranges from low-tech items like bump dots and magnifiers to high-tech devices such as CCTV’s, digital magnifiers and wearable devices, many of which include OCR (Optical Character Recognition) which is a text-to-speech feature. Learning how to best utilize a device can take time and patience, but the perfect form of technology is essential to meeting a client’s educational, employment, and day-to-day needs.

Steven has first-hand experience with his clients’ sight-related challenges. He was born with Septo-optic Dysplasia and Nystagmus, disorders that left him visually impaired. With the help of several surgeries, contact lenses and Assistive Technology, Steven conquers any challenge that comes before him.

During Steven’s time with North Central Sight Services, he has worked in several departments including distribution, shipping, and document imaging.

With Steven’s working knowledge of the organization, a degree in computer science, and his love of helping people, he is the perfect fit for his current role as AT Specialist which he began more than a year ago.

“I enjoy being around people and helping them succeed,” Steven says. “I want to find the perfect device to meet their needs. I want to help all my clients become more independent.”

Like many people, Steven can get nervous when speaking in front of a large crowd. Over the past year, Steven set a goal to become a better public speaker. With practice at work and in his role as Vice President of the Williamsport Sight Services Lion’s Club, Steven has found many opportunities to hone his public speaking skills. He speaks at club meetings, he conducted an AT training session at a work retreat, and he shared his story at a district-wide Lions Club event.

In his free time Steven is a part-time DJ, he enjoys composing music using digital software and is passionate about photography.

“I love what I do,” Steven adds. “My career is very rewarding.”

North Central Sight Services is a not-for-profit agency based in Williamsport. The organization provides blindness prevention education, vision screenings, services and employment to individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Additionally, North Central Sight Services provides business services such as shredding, vending, bottleless water coolers, fulfillment, and packaging services.

For more information, call (570) 323-9401.

2022 Golf for Sight

Friday, May 27, 2022

White Deer Golf Course
352 Allenwood Camp Lane, Montgomery, PA

Book your sponsorship or register your team today!

At North Central Sight Services, our mission is threefold: prevent vision loss, help people adapt to low vision, and provide employment services to people who are blind or visually impaired to empower them to live independently and fully enjoy life.

By supporting Golf for Sight, you will make a difference in lives right here in your community. Proceeds will provide essential services for people who are blind or visually impaired as well as prevention of blindness education, occupational therapy, assistive technology and early intervention programs.

This is our non-profit organization’s largest fundraiser. We are grateful for every dollar raised that we can invest in our mission!

This year’s outing is taking on a Hawaiian theme!

To register your foursome, contact Amy Alexander at

NCSS Donates Technology to Centre County Library System

North Central Sight Services has donated $10,000 worth of technology devices to Bellefonte Library, the main branch of the Centre County Library System, to assist library patrons who have low vision. The devices include desktop and handheld video magnifiers that enable people with low vision to read printed materials.

The first-of-its-kind donation by North Central Sight Services is made possible through a grant presented to the non-profit organization by an anonymous donor. The video magnifiers are now available for any library patron to use at Bellefonte Library.

“We’re thrilled to make these assistive technology devices available to the public at the Bellefonte Library,” said North Central Sight Services President and CEO Brian Patchett. “We hope this donation helps bring awareness to the life-changing benefits of such devices. Assistive technology like these devices helps people who are visually impaired live independently and fully enjoy life.”

Nicholas Struble, branch manager at Bellefonte Library, said, “As a public library, we aim to make our collections and resources accessible to everyone in our community. Prior to this generous donation, our offerings for individuals who have low vision were limited to audiobooks and large-print books. Now a world of additional books and other library materials are accessible to them.”

The North Central Sight Services donation includes two desktop video magnifiers, five handheld devices, two high contrast/large print keyboards and one large monitor, as well as a Zoom text magnifying software license. While the desktop devices are available for patrons to use on-site at the Bellefonte Library, the handheld devices are available to patrons to borrow for a seven-day loan.

North Central Sight Services also has funding available to provide free or low-cost assistive technology devices directly to individuals in Centre County who have low vision. Individuals should contact North Central Sight Services at (570) 323-9401 to learn if they are eligible.

The Assistive Technology Lab at North Central Sight Services’ facility in Williamsport, and the organization’s Mobile Assistive Technology Lab, educates people who are blind or visually impaired on the latest technology to enhance independence. Services include evaluating a client’s needs and abilities, providing training on the best assistive technology for them, and providing technical assistance to clients, family members and employers to effectively put assistive technology to work.

Dealing with the Pandemic – An essay by Barbara Irvin

I don’t believe there isn’t a person in this world who hasn’t been impacted by the pandemic in some way. Since it began, lots of changes have been happening. Schools have shut down. Businesses have been forced to reduce the number of employees who work for them. Social gatherings have pretty much disappeared. Life as we know it has been altered in more ways than we could ever have imagined.

Through all of this, people have been told to remain hopeful. A vaccine is on the way, and we will all get back to the life we once knew. For those who have had the virus or even know someone who has contracted it, this prediction can seem far away. People want to return to living, learning, and working the way they used to. Looking around me, I can see adapting to these changes has proven difficult for most.

Fortunately for me, I have not experienced any major problems. I’ve continued to work steadily throughout the pandemic and keep up with my educational pursuits. Because I take online classes, using a computer for taking and submitting exams has been convenient for me even before COVID was discovered. If anything, the ordeal has made me more focused on accomplishing the goals I’ve set for myself a long time ago. I go to work every day, do what I need to, come home and take care of my responsibilities there, and then study. It is a rigorous routine. There are days when I don’t feel like working so hard, but I know I won’t get anywhere if I slack off. So, I keep pushing myself.

I hear so many complaints about how people cannot do anything because they feel as though their freedom has been taken away. Yes, it does get frustrating at times. However, this does not mean you have to put a hold on doing what you enjoy. You can still find ways to channel your interests and contribute to causes you feel passionate about. Do the things that make you happy and comfortable. For me, it’s all about the creative aspect. When I am working on a project that I know is going well, I feel as though I can do anything. That is why I try to write every day. I can express myself freely and do not have to worry about someone judging me. A sense of power flows through me as my pen glides across the page or my fingers race over the keys.

Will we get through this crisis? Yes, with faith. The news broadcasts can be depressing. When you are seeking inspiration, look to your friends and family. They will lift your spirits and put a smile on your face. That’s what they are there for, and you will grow to care about them even more.

 -Barbara Irvin, employee at North Central Sight Services, Inc. for 17 years. 

Golf For Sight 2021!


We are back! Our Golf for Sight tournament will take place on May 28th, 2021 at Wynding Brook Golf Club in Milton. Our golf tournament is our biggest fundraiser of the year and we were saddened to have to cancel last year’s event and are looking forward to getting back! 

Please take a moment and consider sponsoring and/or playing in this event! Aside from a few Covid-related restrictions, mostly social distancing, we expect the tournament to run as it has in the past! 

Sponsorships and team spots are available, but don’t delay – they fill up fast! FORM- Golf For Sight 2021

Contact Amy Alexander for more information and to reserve your spot 570-323-9401 ext. 140 or 


Mountain Home Magazine Article

Nov 30, 2020 02:16PM ● By Linda Roller


The building on 2121 Reach Road in Williamsport looks like many of the other manufacturing plants located there. Even the lobby, with the sign-in log, the waiting chairs—all standard issue. But walk through the doors of the plant, and there is a difference, and an organization that has made a difference for decades for people with sight problems.

“People remember us for services we did twenty to thirty years ago—rubber mats and brooms, reading to the blind. Now we’re getting known for shredding services,” Katie Coffey, quality and marketing director of North Central Sight Services comments as we wandered through the 68,000 square-foot-shredding, packaging, and distribution center. It’s a long way from the four-story building in a residential area of Williamsport, where the mats and brooms were made, both in terms of facilities and in the range of services provided to government, industry, and the public.



Many things changed with the move in 2007. The brooms and mats are long gone. Now North Central Sight Services is a government contractor for CDs, DVDs, USB flash drives, and other office supplies. According to Katie, that program is launching a commercial site so the public can also purchase these items from NCSS. Through, over 40,000 products are available. “It’s hard to compete with the ‘big box stores,’ but all the [profits] go to the community,” she says. With the difficulty in obtaining masks and hand sanitizer, NCSS swung into action, finding suppliers in the U.S., and making these vital items available to the region at a reasonable cost, with the profit supporting our region.

Then there is the vending program, with trucks from NCSS filling machines throughout the seven county service area. That, along with the bottleless water cooler service, keeps NCSS trucks busy all over the region.

But the “star” of the show these days is document shredding, a service in over twenty Pennsylvania counties. NCSS provides a secure storage area, used for short term holding of material for shredding. Organizations can also contract long-term storage for business files. A company can even use NCSS to store information until the date that the company wants it destroyed, then have it shredded on that date. They provide a pick-up and delivery service, a barcode tracking system for a business, and file boxes for material. There is even a walk-up service, where anyone can bring papers and electronic media to be shredded, watching as their documents become confetti for thirty-five cents a pound. The area is secure and even the personnel is secure, as the employees who handle this material and run the shredding machines are visually impaired. No one sees sensitive documents.



NCSS’s varied services not only fill government contracts and provide services to businesses in the region, but also provide employment for people who are blind or visually impaired. Around sixty percent of the staff is visually impaired. Even the trucks are staffed by visually impaired people, with sighted people driving the truck to the work site or company that has contracted for the NCSS service. Visually impaired people work the vending service, again with a sighted co-worker. Even the CEO of North Central Sight Services is visually impaired. The employment opportunities are important, as the majority of people with sight problems in this country are unemployed. Here, work stations are set up for people who cannot see. It’s a plant designed for the visually impaired to work in a modern service and distribution plant.

The employment opportunities are only half the story, though. For this organization, through the work it does, generates money for the services it provides, like vision screenings, to the seven county service area and beyond. Currently, the NCSS program serves Head Start in Towanda, Canton, and Troy. They also provide the service to the Northern Tioga School District, along with sites in Lycoming and Clinton counties. They are working on getting vision reports from various school districts, to improve the service in K-12 across the region. NCSS screens 5,000 children a year.

The screening goes beyond children. North Central Sight Services provide health fairs in places like Truck-Lite in Wellsboro and Con-Agra in Wyalusing. The Tioga Downs Casino in Nichols, New York, recently provided $30,000 for mobile labs used by NCSS to serve the communities of the area.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed some of what NCSS offers to the general community.

“Vision impairment is isolating, and the pandemic has made that worse,” Katie explains. “We have adapted to the changes.” Client care specialists at NCSS call people regularly to check on them and provide a friendly voice in a world that feels more distant and unavailable.



Then, there are the electronic and mechanical helps for the blind and visually impaired. Technology has changed these tools, even as the large clocks and numbers are still used. Now, new large monitors and software can magnify print so that someone impaired can read any document as it is displayed on a computer screen. There’s even an app for phones that can take a picture of some printed material and read the label verbally on cans or containers. These computerized helps bring a new level of independence to the everyday life of those who have lost their sight and helps to fight the isolation that a lack of sight can create. NCSS helps visually impaired people, who are often on a limited income, afford these important aids to a richer, more independent life.

It’s a long way from reading to the blind, a service that North Central Sight Services provided back in 1957 as the Blind Association. But the idea of serving the visually impaired and the community at large remains the same. Through technological help, vision screenings, education, and personal support, North Central Sight Services provides and protects a more independent future for those of us with vision problems, and, through that care, to the entire community.

Find out more at (570) 323-9401 or at     

The above article was published in December’s issue of Mountain Home Magazine. 

Link to article 

Hand Sanitizer & Disposable Masks For Sale!


Hand Sanitizer
  LIQUID- 80% Ethenol Alcohol   
Item Number Description Single Bottle Per Case    
6000.303000 *16.9 oz Bottle with Sprayer (8/Case)  $ 5.85  $ 46.80    
6000.304000 *32 oz Bottle with Pump (12/Case)  $ 8.72  $ 104.64    
6000.305000 *Gallon Reg Cap (2/case)  $ 23.91  $ 47.82     
    Price Per Unit
Item Number Description Per Drum      
6000.306000 *55 Gallon Drum w/Pump  $ 1,131      

  Empty Bottles        
6000.303002 16.9 oz with Sprayer $  2.75      
6000.304002 32 oz with Pump $  3.25      

  GEL- 65% Ethenol Alcohol  Price Per Unit
Item Number Description Single Bottles Per Case    
6000.309000 16.9 oz Bottle with Pump  $ 6.71  $ 53.68    
6000.310000 32 oz Bottle with Pump (12/Case)  $ 10.35  $ 124.20    
6000.311000 Gallon Reg cap (2/case)  $ 30.41  $ 60.82    
    Price Per Unit
Item Number Description Per Drum      
6000.312000 55 Gallon Drum w/Pump $ 1,489      

Item Number Description Single Masks Box of 50    
6000.301000 3 Ply Mask 50/Box $ 0.38 $ 19.00    

Our Sanitizer exceeds CDC requirements and is manufactured in Allen Texas. It is then scented, bottled, labeled, and distributed by North Central Sight Services.

To order: call (866) 320-2580, email or pick up at our Walk-In Shred Entrance located at 2121 Reach Road Williamsport PA 17701

Free Delivery within 50 miles of Williamsport PA. Shipping is available at an additional cost!


Dear Staff and Extended Family,

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) has an increased impact throughout Pennsylvania and across the nation, our first priority is the safety, health, and well-being of our staff members, volunteers and the individuals we are privileged to serve. As of today, we are not aware that any of our staff members or consumers have been diagnosed with COVID-19. We will keep you updated should any new developments arise.  

We are
closely monitoring the rapidly-evolving developments and making sure we abide by the recommended safety guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the state, and our local county health departments. The CDC’s website specifically addresses FAQ’s, symptoms, prevention, and treatment – information that you may find helpful. 

We are taking the necessary steps and precautions to prevent, contain, and minimize any potential exposure to the virus that our organization could face and to protect the particularly vulnerable population that we serve. To that end, we are ensuring that best sanitizing practices are implemented. We are confident that diligent attention from each one of us to the practice of good hygiene, like washing our hands, ensuring that our common areas are sanitized, “social distancing” and self-monitoring, will help to minimize the impact of Coronavirus and any other flu or colds.

All staff are advised to stay home if they are not feeling well.
  Depending on symptomology, a doctor’s release may be required to return to work.  Anyone with a sick child or family member is encouraged to stay home to minimize exposure.  We will, of course, exercise flexibility in administering PTO for anyone who needs to stay home because they are ill or because they have a sick family member.

Staff are asked to avoid crowded events, although most have been cancelled anyway.  We are especially committed to those elderly blind individuals who count on us for transportation and shopping assistance and we will monitor their circumstances as well as we can.  No one will be left without food or transportation to the doctor to the best of our ability.  Vehicles are supplied with sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizers although we must also firmly encourage clients to stay home from any non-necessary appointments if they don’t feel well.

We are discussing additional plans that we will implement if the need arises. Our responses to the situation will remain fluid and we will keep you informed of any changes.


Brian Patchett, MPA, MS


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