The Lions’ Low Vision Resource Center, operated by Olympia Host Lions Club, is open by appointment to serve you with low vision aids and resource information. You will find us just off the freeway at 2600 Martin Way E in Olympia.
Come in and try out a desk top magnifying machine that lets you get back to reading the newspaper or your favorite magazine. See how a lighted hand-held magnifier can make shopping so much easier. Or just get help installing new low vision apps on your smart phone.
Looking for something to make life easier for a loved one with low vision?
Give us a call to learn more or make an appointment for the two of you to visit. Our services are free and we look forward to helping!
All our assistive items are loaned free of charge to any Washington State resident with low vision.
Take home a reading machine or a magnifying glass. It’s free and you can keep it as long as you need it.
Our wide selection of CCTV type magnifying readers (Merlin, Adobe, daVinci) brings many visitors to the resource center. Lighted hand-held magnifiers are popular items, along with:
The LVRC is located at 2600 Martin Way E, Suite C. The Resource Center is open for appointments from 10 to 2 on Wednesday and Saturday. If those times won’t work for you, please let us know so we can arrange something else. We are here to serve you.
All visits are by appointment. To make an appointment, call the Lions EyeLine. The number is 360 790-8667.
We answer our phone every day from 9 to 9 – or feel free to leave a message and we will call you back.
Have items to donate or return? Let us know by calling the EyeLine at 360 790-8667.
We continually get loaned items back into the Center, clean them thoroughly, repair as needed and put them back out for loan.
Generous individuals bring us their personally owned equipment when it is no longer needed. We have also received large donations of equipment from other organizations no longer able to serve low vision individuals.
And as funds allow, we also replenish our inventory by buying the equipment most in demand by our local clients.
All of that means our inventory is continually changing. You may want to check back often. Or let our volunteers know what you are looking for so they can contact you if that machine or item comes in.
Want to load apps on your smart phone?
We can show you how to use apps to read QR codes, identify nearby objects or turn your phone into a bright beam of light.
Let us know what you are hoping to do - we are here to help.
Support for the Corbin Low Vision Resource Center comes from generous donors including:
The Lions Low Vision Resource Center depends on volunteers and supporters to provide the hands on help, financial support and expertise needed to keep the Center open.
In accordance with Lions Clubs International requirements, all monies received from the public by Olympia Host Lions will be returned to the public in our service projects.
100% of your donation for the LVRC goes directly to support low vision projects.
All work at the LVRC is done by Lions volunteers and friends. Volunteers help with everything from running the center to running a vacuum. Whether you prefer to work from home, in the center proper or even as a pickup and delivery person, you will be helping make life easier for someone who doesn't see well.
Our volunteers handle appointment scheduling, office work, inventory maintenance, equipment repair, cleaning, events, publicity, resource research, and client assistance.
To learn how you can volunteer, call the Lions EyeLine at 360 790-8667.
Your financial donations keep the Center open and serving our neighbors throughout western Washington.
Make a tax deductible donation by sending your check to Olympia Host Lions Club Foundation at PO Box 416, Olympia, WA 98507
The Olympia Host Lions Club Foundation is an IRS recognized 501c3 organization.
We handle our funds in accordance with Lions Clubs International policy. That means all overhead to run the club or for Lions social activities is provided by the Lions themselves and all monies received from the public is returned to the community through service work or donation.
If you or a family member have CCTVs or other low vision aids you no longer need, please consider donating them to the Lions Low Vision Resource Center. We will put them to good use helping someone with low vision get through their day a little better.
Back in 2007, Lions Olympia Host Lions Karen Sell and Jan Weatherly wrote a grant request to the National Institutes of Health for Low Vision Awareness. Through that grant, the Olympia Host Lions received $10,000. According to grant mandates, the money was to be spent on increasing awareness that people living with low vision did not have to live “in the dark”.
The Washington State Department of Services for the Blind, several local support groups, and Lion Carl Corbin, who lived with macular degeneration, provided direction for the Lions’ work. Some of the outreach actions funded by the grant included:
When the grant ended, Lion Carl led the effort to open the storefront Lion’s Low Vision Resource Center, now named after him. Lions sought out donated equipment that could be loaned to people needing assistance. Referrals came from eye health professionals and Margie Courier, a contractor working from the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind, who was blind herself.
When Carl moved to Seattle, Margie took over running the LVRC with the assistance of her husband Timm – and both Margie and Timm became Lions. The Couriers played an instrumental role in helping low vision individuals until Margie’s death in 2018.
Today, Lions of Olympia Host Lions Club run the Center. Low vision specialist Dr. Mary Ferris, OD, FAOO, assists with staff training and consults on equipment questions.
The Low Vision Resource Center (LVRC) was originally located near the Transit Station in Lacey, then moved to 2103 Harrison Avenue NW in space generously provided by The Rants Group. Effective February 1, 2022, the Center moved to 2600 Martin Way E.
In 2020, Olympia Host Lions Club formalized the importance of the Low Vision Resource Center, registering it with Lions Clubs International as a Legacy Lions Project. The center serves clients from the Canadian Border to the Oregon border and from the mountains out to the Pacific Ocean.
The LVRC is run by the Olympia Host Lions Club, and guided by the club board of directors.
Administration and staffing is provided at no cost to the Center by volunteer Lions and friends.
Funding for the LVRC comes in part from the Olympia Host Lions Club Foundation, a 501c3 charitable tax organization.
Foundation Board of Directors for 2021/2022 includes:
When you need low vision resources, our LVRC Program Manager Paul Swanda will make sure you get the help you need. Tell him what you want to do and Paul will help you find a way to do it!
Michael's career in healthcare management makes him a natural for helping you find the low vision help you want.
Andy likes people and it shows in the way he works with clients at the low vision resource center. Come in for help and leave with a smile!
Jean comes all the way from Federal Way to volunteer at the LVRC and she knows the Center inside and out. She will help you find the right resource to do what you want to do.
Dedicated volunteers help to keep the Low Vision Resource Center running. Current volunteers include Lions from Olympia Host Lions Club
Shelton Lions Club
Federal Way Lions Club
If your vision cannot be corrected well enough – with glasses, contact lenses or medical procedures - for you to read a newspaper normally, your doctor may have said you have “low vision.” And most certainly you are not alone. In Washington State alone, nearly 150,000 people struggle with blindness or low vision.*
Causes of low vision range from birth defects to disease to eye injury. Many people find themselves with low vision because of cataract, age-related macular degeneration, diabetes or glaucoma.
The American Foundation for the Blind has estimated that about 13% of U.S. adults report they are either blind or have difficulty seeing even with corrective lenses.
Low vision significantly impacts individuals and society. Studies have shown that people with low vision report more depression, falls, and cognitive decline than people with better vision. Low vision individuals may feel a lowered quality of life if they are unable to drive, read, see their loved ones or even cook for themselves safely.
And, unfortunately, as the U.S. population ages and more people suffer from diabetes, the incidence of low vision will likely continue to go up. Today, vision loss shows up among the top ten causes of disability in the U.S. In 2012 4.2 million Americans aged 40 and older suffered from low vision or blindness. The CDC predicts that in the next 30 years our aging population and increasing epidemic of diabetes will boost that number to nearly 9 million people.
The Corbin Low Vision Resource Center aims to freely serve all western Washington residents looking for devices that can help them live better.
Lions are involved with low vision because vision is one of the five main service areas for Lions Clubs International. Lions around the world have been battling blindness since 1925 when Helen Keller challenged the Lions Club to become her “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.” Locally, Lions screen the vision of students, pay for eye care and glasses for those in need, recycle used glasses to help others see through our Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center (LERC), and run centers like the Olympia Lions’ Low Vision Center.
Low vision is not the same as blindness. The CDC defines low vision as having corrected vision of less than 20/40 in the better seeing eye and legally blind as having best-corrected vision of 20/200 or worse in the better seeing eye. (https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/basics/ced/)
Some children do have low vision. While most low vision is age related, children may face low vision through inherited conditions, pediatric cataracts, retinal or optic abnormalities, disease or even a childhood injury.
In western Washington, the Lions provide low vision aids through their Low Vision Resource Center at 2600 Martin Way NE in Olympia, Washington. Call for an appointment.
Olympia Host Lions meet Tuesdays at noon at the First Baptist Church downtown Olympia. Plenty of Parking at 9th and Franklin.
Call for info at 360 790-8667.
Steamboat Branch Lions meet the first Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at Griffin Fire Hall #1 on the Steamboat Island Road.