James City Lions and Williamsburg Host Lions screen kindergarten students

Between October 5 and October 16, 2015, the James City Lions Club along with help from the Williamsburg Host Lions Club conducted vision screening for all incoming Kindergarten students at the nine Williamsburg-James City County Elementary Schools and third grade students at one elementary school. A total of 815 students received vision screening using the Welch Allyn Spot Screener. The SPOT Vision Screener is a handheld, portable device that can detect focusing issues in patients 6 months of age through adult. The SPOT screens both eyes at once from a nonthreatening three foot distance and can take a reading within 1-5 seconds. Because the SPOT captures automatically requiring no response from the subject, it is especially valuable in screening special needs, preverbal, and preschool children. Janice Fowler, Head Nurse for WJCC Schools, stated that the process went very smoothly and that the students really enjoyed the process.

Of the 815 students screened in WJCC Schools, 82 were identified as having a common eye problem which needs to be addressed through a vision screening by an eye care professional. One of the most common problems is Amblyopia also known as Lazy Eye. If this is addressed early, before the age of 10 years, blindness may be prevented. Other vision problems include Unequal focus, curved focus, farsightedness, nearsightedness, eye alignment not normal, unequal pupil size, and crossed or wall-eyed.

The Lions of District 24D of which both James City and Williamsburg Host are members make this form of vision screening available to not only the school system but to any nursery, day care center or preschool in Williamsburg and James City County. There is no cost for the screening as this is part of the service provided by Lions who were called Knights of the Blind by Helen Keller in 1925.

The Welch Allyn Spot Screener cost in the range of $10,000 and by having the Lions bear this cost plus providing the manpower to do the screening, this frees dollars and personnel in the schools and other facilities to use their financial resources as well as the skill and training of their personnel more advantageously.

The objective of Lions of District 24D is to screen every preschool child in the district between the ages of 6 months and 6 years. In the past 4 years we have screened more than 52,000 children and referred over 7,000 for further examination by an eye care doctor.

For information on how to take advantage of this service provided by the local Lions Clubs, contact Margene Hartsough at 757-250-3151.

This item was posted by a community contributor.

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