Lions Clubs provide eye screenings for 20,100 local students

Published 2:05 pm Thursday, April 4, 2024

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EDWARDSBURG — More than 20,100 children have been screened by the Lions of Michigan and Project KidSight.

District 11B2 consists of Lions Clubs located in Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Van Buren Counties. According to organizers, the total number of children screened was 20,177 and 2,133 referrals. While screening at the Coloma Schools last week, the team learned it had surpassed its goal of 20,000 students, with more schools scheduled to screen before the end of the school year. 

The Project KidSight program is designed to identify treatable and preventable causes of vision loss in preschool children ages 6 months to 5 years.  A hi-tech mobile vision screener is used that is programmed to quickly and accurately identify vision disorders such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), anisometropia (unequal refraction power), astigmatism (optical defect), anisocoria (unequal pupil size) and strabismus (gaze deviations) through non-invasive testing.

The portable vision screener performs a binocular test of both eyes within one second and it identifies potential vision problems with a 98 percent accuracy rating. When problems are detected, the vision screener reports a “Fail” or “Refer” status, and a detailed report identifying potential problems is provided to the child’s parent or guardian for further follow-up with an optometrist or ophthalmologist.

If diagnosed early, 95 percent of vision disorders can be corrected, however when vision problems are not detected early, a child’s vision can deteriorate to the point of irreversible blindness.  Over time, treatment options diminish, and the cost of treatment increases.

A PKS Team of 14 to 16 Lions members or Friends of the Lions Club were able to arrive in the early hours of the school day to do the screening, with each volunteer having a background check to participate in screening in the schools. When going into a school, volunteers have an ID card with a lanyard proving they have had a background check.