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Cedar Key Lions Club members have been in training to operate early childhood vision screening equipment 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.
KidSight, a Lions International program, has now expanded into Levy County with the Cedar Key Lions Club working in collaboration with the University of Florida Pediatric Ophthalmology Department.
Through this partnership, Lions Club volunteers and UF vision professionals offer free of charge screening at area preschools and daycare centers.
Lions Club members are trained to conduct the vision screenings. Lions volunteers arrange the screening sessions and use 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.
After the Lions Club conducts the screening, the screening information is sent to the University of Florida Pediatric Ophthalmology Department where screening results are interpreted for possible vision problems. After the screening photographs have been interpreted, results are reported back to families.
Parents receive a notification form that tells them that their child either passed the screening, the photo was unreadable, that a borderline or mild problem was detected, or a vision problem was identified and their child should be examined by a specialist.
Cedar Key Lions KidSight coordinator Judy Duvall said, “Our free screening is conducted at any child care center in Levy County that requests one. We do it wherever the kids are, be they daycare centers, kindergartens or preschools. Our goal is to screen every child aged one through five 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 has helped purchase, we can detect children’s vision problems early, giving the child an opportunity to have a good start of going through school with their vision corrected,” she explained.
Cedar Key Lions members attended a special three-hour training session to learn proper operation of the camera and how to check the child’s information form.
“The screening itself is quick and easy. It’s as simple as taking a picture. It takes five minutes and the life-long effect that it can have on a child’s vision is well worth our volunteer time.” remarked Duvall.
In areas of the country where the Lions KidSight program has been running, tens of thousands of children have been screened with hundreds of children - aged one through six - diagnosed early enough for treatment to correct their vision before it was too late.
To schedule a vision screening clinic, call Levy County KidSight coordinator, Lion Judy Duvall at (352) 507-1177.
More information on the Lions KidSight program can be found at www.peds.ufl.edu/kidsight.
A moving video in a parent’s own words on how the Lions KidSight screening saved her pre-school child’s vision can be seen at www.peds.ufl.edu/kidsight/family-resources.asp