Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Glade Sun

November 1, 2012

FFG Lions continue to test 1-5 year-olds for eye problems

CROSSVILLE — The Fairfield Glade Lions Club started testing pre-K and some Kindergarten children in 1998. This was a result of the dedication of the Tennessee Lions Eye Center (TLEC) in Nashville with Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in 1997. A new procedure and a Welch Allyn Suresight (trade mark) Vision Screener was developed.

Children aged 12 to 60 months can be screened for possible eye problems that include near and far vision, astigmatism and anisometropia (Unequal power between eyes). Corrections are possible for children of this age that could change their lives. The Lions/Vanderbilt Program has spread to many other states and several foreign countries.

Young children 12-60 months old have difficulty with standard eye testing exams. The doctor must reply on the child’s answers as to what they see and in most cases the child doesn’t even understand the question. Problems like near or farsighted vision cannot be detected easily until the child is old enough for limited reading. It may be too late to make corrections by the time it is discovered. This is why the new screening procedure is so important.

Lions KidSight Chairman, Jerry McBride advised that there are 20 Lions Club members who assist him in testing children this September-October in nine Cumberland County Elementary Schools, two Christian Schools and four Head Start Schools. 798 children were tested in 2011 with 37 referrals.

Lights engage the child’s attention from the screener that is located about 14-inches from their face. A simple paper tape is generated by the screener for professional reading by personnel in Vanderbilt. A referral letter is sent directly to the parent/guardian if a problem is detected requesting that they take the child to a local qualified doctor.

The Lions have been “Stewards of the Blind” ever since 1925 when Helen Keller challenged them to accept this commitment. The FFG Lions Club has provided free sight and hearing testing in Cumberland County for over 30 years. Financial help may be available for families in need. This is all a part of the Lions motto “We Serve.”

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