Eric Margules 2014-10-17 00:36:45
KidSight USA Launched to Save Sight For many children in the United States with vision issues, the problems aren’t diagnosed until they experience trouble learning or paying attention in school. By then, it could be too late. Studies show that unless vision problems are detected and corrected early, they risk becoming permanent by age 7. That’s why Lions KidSight USA was formed. KidSight USA is a new coalition that brings together KidSight programs and Lions around the United States to screen the vision of children between 6 months and 6 years of age. Lions already screen more than half a million kids annually through state and local programs, so KidSight USA aims to expand on that success by supporting the development of new programs to reach underserved areas of the United States. “Vision affects a child’s ability to see the world, but it also impacts a child’s ability to learn,” says Dr. Ed Cordes, an optometrist and the chairperson of Lions KidSight USA. “Experts say that up to 80 percent of learning is visual, so we need to screen all children to identify any vision issues that can get in the way of learning. And we need to screen children early to identify vision problems while they can still be corrected.” KidSight USA has established three levels of sample screening programs designed to meet the needs of all clubs and districts. From basic community-level screenings to programs spanning multiple districts, programs can evolve over time to meet the needs of individual clubs and communities. Experienced Lions screening programs will work with new clubs and districts to help get their screening programs up and running. All U.S. Lions are encouraged to participate in the initiative. “KidSight USA is an important national initiative that will help families protect the health of their children,” says International President Joe Preston. “It builds on our proud history of saving sight and our belief that all children deserve to see the world clearly. And with the help of Lions, we hope they will.” To help support new screening programs, grant funding up to US$100,000 is available for qualifying service activities through Lions Clubs International Foundation, which has already awarded more than US$2 million to support children’s eye screening programs in the United States. Screening device manufacturers, Plusoptix and Welch Allyn, have also partnered with KidSight USA to provide financial support for the development of the program. It only takes a few minutes of training for any Lion or volunteer to learn to screen children’s sight. Every child deserves to learn and see the world clearly, and with an estimated 4 million children who will require professional follow-up care after their screenings, it’s easy to see that the need is real. For information and to get involved in Lions KidSight USA, visit e-district.org/sites/kidsightusa.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://digital.lionmagazine.org/article/Visionary+Work/1838329/229522/article.html.