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With the new school year in session, the Cedar Key Lions Club will be contacting kindergarten and preschools in Levy County offering free early childhood vision screening to identify children up to six years old with undetected vision loss due to Amblyopia factors (Lazy Eye) and refractive errors.
Ambylopia is easy to treat, but early detection before the age of six is vital, as correction must take place before the age of six while a child’s visual system is still developing.
The Lions’ KidSight program was initiated in Levy County during the 2012-2013 school year, with the Cedar Key Lions Club working in collaboration with the University of Florida Pediatric Ophthalmology Department, offering free of charge screening at area preschools and daycare centers.
Last year Cedar Key Lions Club KidSight Chairwomen Judy Duvall, Susan Hollandsworth and Judy Howerton and trained lions members arranged for screening sessions at 18 locations around the county, screening 507 children, using a special hand-held camera that takes digital photographs of the eyes that is used by the University of Florida to identify potential vision problems.
In these screenings, 37 children were identified with early childhood vision problems, such as Ambylopia, and were sent referrals by the University of Florida Pediatric Ophthalmology Department recommending that their child be examined by a specialist.
Cedar Key Lions KidSight Chairwoman Judy Duvall said, “Our free screening is conducted at all child care centers in Levy County. We do it wherever the kids are, be it at daycare centers, kindergartens, or preschools. Our goal is to screen every child aged one through six in Levy county.
“KidSight screening is so important, because it goes beyond the regular vision screening provided in schools. With specialized KidSight equipment that the Cedar Key Lions Club purchased, we can detect children’s vision problems early, giving the child an opportunity for having a good start of going through school with their vision corrected,” she explained.
“The screening itself is quick and easy. It’s as simple as taking a picture of the eyes. It takes five minutes and the life-long effect that it can have on a child’s vision and quality of life is well worth our volunteer time.” remarked Duvall.
Cedar Key Lions will be contacting sites and setting up screenings beginning in September. This year they plan to schedule a “make-up” day in each town, so that any children not enrolled in a daycare or preschool can be tested. To schedule a screening or for more information, contact Judy Duvall at 352-507-1177.