Lions Club vision screening for local schools, daycares
Jesse Bonello - Staff Writer
The Sioux Lookout Lions Club, for the first time, completed vision screening on students in local schools and daycares, including Lac Seul First Nation students, between Oct. 1 and 16.
The free screening was done using a special camera that was donated by the Lions Foundation of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario to this zone for Lions Clubs, which also include Dryden, Kenora, Red Lake and Pickle Lake.
After receiving training over the summer, four members from the Sioux Lookout Lions Club were able to provide the vision screening.
“The process is pretty simple. The camera takes a picture of the students’ pupils and indicates immediately on the screen whether it’s a good scan or a referral,” said Sioux Lookout Lions Club member Lisa Larsh.
If a student gets an optometrist referral it’s up to the parents if they want to act on it, but Larsh shared that it affects more than just their vision.
“When a child doesn’t have proper vision they’re not going to learn properly in the classrooms and, when they’re that young, they don’t know that their vision is hindered because they think that’s normal. They also don’t always have the language to express when they do have problems,” she explained.
According to Prevent Blindness America, one in four school-age children have vision problems that, if left untreated, can affect learning ability, personality and adjustment in school. Even if a child is already wearing glasses, it’s important to have screenings done because their prescriptions can change frequently as well.
Larsh said that the goal is to provide yearly screenings for local children in schools and daycares.
“We’re hoping to make this an annual process. Kids’ vision can change very quickly so, if it’s done yearly, we’ll be able to jump on any changes and provide referrals. Once we provide an optometrist referral, it’s completely up to the parents after that,” she shared.
Larsh emphasized that the Lions Club is also there to help families and ensure that children have the proper resources for vision.
“If a student needed glasses but the family couldn’t afford them, then they could approach the Lions Club to help them out financially in purchasing glasses. We’re not only there to do the vision screening, we can also be there to support in getting the glasses as well,” she concluded.