Lions Club provides free vision testing at county fair

The goal is simple, the local Lion’s Club International district governor says, regarding their newest public service project.

“The goal is to vision screen every pre-school age child between the ages of 3 and 5 in our district (Lion’s Club district 13) and we are comprised of 10 counties,” Lion’s Club International District Gov. Jack Preston, of Wapakoneta, said. “We screened children at the Shelby County Fair last week, we are here this week and we are going down to Miami County in August. Every zone chair and every club president is working to put together a team to do this.”

The Lion’s Club International, which is devoted to humanitarian projects, is focused on helping people see, but the organization also works to better their community by helping food pantries and improve the quality of life in their community.

A booth set up at the Auglaize County Fair this year is a project of the Cridersville, Waynesfield and Wapakoneta Lion’s clubs. They were at the fair Tuesday from noon to 8 p.m. and will be at the fair again from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday. The test is free.

Preston explained they conduct two vision tests — one test is to determine if a child has problems with depth perception and the second test is to determine if the eyes are working together properly.

To determine depth perception, a child is required to put on special glasses and shown a number of cards and they must identify the “smiley” face in the card.

“If the child can pick out the ‘smiley’ face four out of five times, then they pass,” Preston said. “They do not fail, they are just said to be unable to identify the picture.”

The second test is the WelchAllyn Sure Sight test and requires a hand-held device to look into the pupil of the eye.

“This measures if the eyes are working together,” said Preston, who mentioned he had vision problems at an early age and noted this project is close to his heart. “We can determine if the eye is rolling out or rolling in before the child starts school.

“If we notice a problem, we will refer the parent to a doctor and provide them with our documentation,” he said. “If they do not get help, the brain may shut off the eye completely.”

Preston explained this screening process requires a parent’s signature, but information regarding the child is kept confidential. No information includes the child’s last name. If the tests reveal a problem may exist, then the parent is given the test results to take to a physician,  optometrist or an ophthalmologist.

“Their doctor will know what to do when they take the results to them,” Preston said. “They can show the doctor the results and they will examine the child further and determine if any corrective measures are necessary.

“We are not eye doctors, we are just screening kids,” he said.

Preston said the three clubs’ goal is to screen every preschool child in the area before they enter school. After they start school, other programs are available for the student.

“We own two of these stations in our district because the club in Kenton received a donation so they could purchase their own,” Preston said. “I believe between all of us we should be able to get the kids tested and determine if the parents need to get the tested further.”