We are using the latest technology, the Welch-Allyn SPOT VS100, to conduct our vision screenings. We use them at local schools, especially for 1st and 4th grade students. We have tested middle and high school students as well. We also use them at health fairs and back to school events.
The machine is a handheld, portable device which was designed to help us quickly and accurately detect vision issues on subjects as young as 6 months as well as older adults. The results are displayed on the machine and relayed to the subject. As non-professionals, we can only encourage the subject to get a professional evaluation. We also use the opportunity to talk in general about eye health, especially if the subject has diabetes.
Our 2014-2015 Lions International President, Joe Preston, initiated a program called Lions Kidsight USA. It is a nationwide program to safeguard the vision of children.
According to educational experts, 80% of learning is visual. If a child can’t see well, they can’t learn well. A child that can’t learn well becomes frustrated and bored, which can lead to behavior issues. The earlier vision problems are detected, the better, because if they remain undetected, they risk becoming permanent.
The mission of the Kidsight program is to ensure eye screening and follow-up care is given to all kids because every child deserves to learn and see the world clearly.
Our Club accepted the challenge to be a part of this ambitious program. In the fall of 2016, we tested over 3500 students in Cobb County schools. Working with school nurses and social workers, we were able to make sure that any child who didn’t pass the screening received follow-up care. In most instances, the parents were able to provide the care. In some cases, the schools had resources available when needed. But, for over 100 students who had no other resource, our Lions Club provided professional exams and eye wear.
Our program grew at the beginning of the 2017 school year. Schools were calling us to schedule screenings because of the speed, over 100 students per hour when using two machines, and the accuracy. They wanted to know which students needed help. We visited 36 schools and screened 10,385 children. Just under 2000 were identified as potentially having vision deficiencies. We provided exams and eye wear for 70. We screened an additional 737 at health fairs and back to school events and assisted 99 with professional eye care.
In the fall of 2018, it was obvious word had spread about the Lions Screen Team, as we like to call ourselves. Working with the other Lions in Cobb County, especially the Smyrna Jonquil, Marietta, and Atlanta Latino clubs, we visited 49 schools and screened 14,284 students. The failure rate has fallen, which is good news; we are beginning to see children for the second time and many who didn’t pass the first screening are now able to pass with their new eye wear. We did provide 59 students with exams and eye wear. We screened an additional 520 at health fairs and back to school events and assisted 61 with professional eye care.
The Winter 2018 edition of the My East Cobb magazine has a short feature about our screenings.
Other Lions Clubs in our county including the South Cobb and North Cobb Clubs also have active screening programs. Members of the Paulding County-West Cobb Club have assisted at screenings performed by the other clubs.
We are fortunate to have a working arrangement with America’s Best which provides a professional exam and 2 pair of glasses for $70.
If you’d like to be a part of one of our screening events, please use the CONTACT US button for more information.