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Lions Club offering free eye screening to area children

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury Lions will hold a free vision screening for children at Ilsley Library in Middlebury on Friday and Saturday, May 27 and 28, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
More than 12 million school-age children in the United States have some form of vision problem, yet only one in three have received eye care services before age six. Many vision problems run the risk of becoming permanent if not corrected by age seven, when the eye reaches full maturity. Vision also plays an important role in education. According to educational experts, 80 percent of learning is visual.
This is not an eye chart exam. The Lions Clubs of Vermont purchased 4 Welch Allen spot vision screener cameras last year and to date have screened over 11,000 Vermont residents. The camera reliably screens for six amblyopic risk factors: myopia (nearsightedness); hyperopia (farsightedness); astigmatism (blurred vision); anisometropia (unequal refractive power); strabismus (eye misalignment); and anisocoria (unequal pupil size).
The camera is not a substitute for a full eye exam by an optometrist. For example, it cannot detect glaucoma or cataracts (typically adult conditions). The screening itself is similar to having your photograph taken. The screening typically takes about 60 seconds and the child/adult will see a series of lights and hear a noise similar to birds chirping while obtaining the measurements. What parents will get is a screening result which indicates that their child’s vision is within normal range, or a referral print-out that they can give to their optometrist showing the risk factor measurements that were observed. Financially qualified parents receiving a referral recommendation for a full eye exam, or later for eyeglasses or corrective action, can request that assistance from the Middlebury Lions Club.
The Middlebury Lions plan to partner with local schools to help school nurses complete their annual eye examinations next school year. Recently, to test their own training, the Lions helped Mary Hogan school nurse Amber McDonald to screen her final eight students. McDonald said that the testing provided more information for parents than her traditional eye chart testing was able to obtain, and exceeded state vision screening requirements. The eight students were done in less than 15 minutes, a task that would have taken Amber 2 hours previously, and would have yielded visual acuity results only. 
Editor’s note: This article was submitted by Randy Bigelow, president of the Middlebury Lions Club.

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