Free eye screenings for kids set for March

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Lions Club sponsors program

By Lisa King

Staff Photos by Lisa King

Barbara Edwards with the Lions Club does an eye scan of Odin Schak (held by Shauna Schak) and Nova Schak, 4.


Maria Stivers examines an image of a child's eyes that was taken by the Lion's Club last week.

    Here’s how to get your child’s eyes checked for free  

Lions Club sponsors program to check children 1-5 for common maladies that need early treatment.

  By Lisa King/Sentinel-News staff writer  

If a young child can't see well, he or she doesn't know that's not normal. And by the time a doctor finds out, irreparable damage could be done, said John Horton, president of the Kentucky Lions Club.

“The child may be even become blind,” he said.

Horton is excited about a new program sponsored by the Kentucky Lions Club called Kentucky KidSight, which is free eye screening for children 1 to 5 years old.

“It's a wonderful thing for parents,” he said. “It could save a child's sight when you didn't even know they had a problem.”

Noble Roberts, with the Shelbyville Lions Club, agrees.

“This will let parents know if there is a problem with their child's eyes,” he said.

This program uses a new technology called “photoscreening,” which looks at the way light reflects off the eye. This technique has been shown to be 85 to 90 percent accurate.  

The Lions Club has set up the KidSight program by contacting preschools and daycare centers around the state. Parents may sign and return a consent form.

The Lions will arrive in teams of three to conduct screenings. The screening process is simple and non-invasive. A photo is taken with a camera and sent to the screening lab to be read by technicians. The results are then sent to the parents.

One such screening was held in Shelby County last week at the public library. Four other screenings have been scheduled for March at the following locations and dates:

• Community Day Care, Mount Eden Road: March 3-4 • First Baptist Church next to Jewish Hospital: March 10-11 • Child Town, Midland Trail: March 18-19 • Adventure Club, Simpsonville: March 25-26 All screenings will be held from 9 a.m. to noon. Photoscreening helps identify the following eye maladies: • Improperly aligned eyes (strabismus).

• Obstructions that interfere with light passing through the eye (cataracts and ptosis) that can cause amblyopia.

• Imperfect refractive powers of the eye (nearsightedness, farsightedness, anisometrpia and astigmatism).

Amblyopia is otherwise known as lazy eye or dull vision, but it more accurately is poor vision in an eye that did not develop normal sight during early childhood.

This  condition is common and affects 3 out of every 100 people, Lions Club statistics report. Early detection is the key to correction of this problem.

Once this condition is identified, a child will generally wear a patch over the good eye, which forces the so-called lazy eye to start working. As the eye strength increase, the patch is worn for a shorter period of time each day.

Many children also will require glasses to aid in their vision, and some will require surgery. If this condition is not detected by age 5, a child may lose his or her sight.

For more information, call Kentucky KidSight at 502-583-0564.