The Fayetteville Lions Club conducts a three-pronged sight and hearing screening program each year.
First, there is the annual sight and hearing screening of students in grades kindergarten, second, fourth, sixth, eighth and ninth, as well as special education, in the nine Fayetteville and Lincoln County schools with those grades. In 2018-2019, Debbie Taylor, using Fayetteville Lions Club-owned sight and hearing testing devices, conducted screening of 2,169 children. Of those, 398 were referred for further exam for vision and 90 for hearing. It should be noted that the sight screening for the 329 participating kindergarten students was done with the digital “photoscreener”.
During her recent report to the club, Debbie said, “Statistics show 80 percent of all visual impairments can be prevented or cured. Visual impairments in children are common, and uncorrected vision can impair a child’s development, lead to behavior problems in the classroom, interfere with early literacy and learning and may even lead to permanent vision loss.
“Early screening leads to early detection which helps to ensure that children get the follow up care they need. Our goal is for children to be healthy and that a correctable problem doesn’t stand in the way of their learning! “
Digital Photoscreening of Preschool Children
The second prong of the Lions’ screening program is KidSight digital ‘Photoscreenings’ of preschool children, generally under the age of six. This screens for vision disorders and eye disease in a state Lions program coordinated with the Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. Participating Lions used the recently purchased PlusOptix Vision Screener.
Undetected and untreated problems during the first five years of life can prevent proper development of the brain’s binocular function, resulting in amblyopia, or “lazy eye”. In fact, amblyopia is the leading cause of monocular blindness in United States children.
This process also screens for six major eye disorders, including near and far sightedness, astigmatism, anisometropia (unequal refraction), media opacities (i.e. cataracts) and strabismus (misaligned eyes). With the PlusOptix Screener, a “photographic” image is taken of each eye, and for each screening that does not “pass”, a digital printout of the measurements and information is sent to Tennessee Lions Eye Center at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital for professional evaluation. As indicated, parents are notified and the child referred for further in-office medical examination.
Lions Ray Landman, Bill Thomison and Bill Jackson conducted the photoscreening program. In 2018-19 the Fayetteville Club screened 618 children in local kindergarten, pre-k, Head Start and day care centers. There were 48 referrals for professional evaluation.
Community and Industry Screening
The third prong of the Lions’ screening program involves sight and/or hearing screenings at local health fairs and local industries upon request. In 2018-2019, the Fayetteville Lions have conducted 48 sight screens under this program so far with 10 referrals. You can contact Lions Jim Neale or Don Combs to request this type of screening session.
The overall chair for the Lions Sight and Hearing Screening programs is Lion Ray Landman. During his recent report to the club, he said, “If we can save the vision of one child, it is worth a thousand times over the effort to provide these service programs.”