Lions Club conducts sight screenings
Equipped with a new technology, Wesson Lions Club is helping to spearhead efforts in the Mississippi Lions South District 30 to sight-screen as many children and youth as possible throughout the region to catch eye disorders before they become more serious.
The local effort is in the tradition of Lions Clubs throughout the world that have focused their mission on preventing blindness and serving the visually-impaired, Wesson Lions Club President Randy Davis says.
In recent weeks, the organization has brought its advanced Plusoptix vision device to a health fair at Co-Lin and special sight screenings for kindergarteners and first through sixth graders at Wesson Attendance Center (WAC) and members of the Hazlehurst Boys and Girls Club. It is seeking to schedule visits to Head Start programs and day care centers in and around Brookhaven, Crystal Springs and Hazlehurst
At the WAC screening, almost 400 kindergarten and elementary school children received the quick vision screenings enabled by the scanner, which can detect problems when just pointed at eye. One hundred of them were referred to healthcare professionals for further evaluation.
Because the Plusoptix vision screener requires only an eye scan and not reading lines of words or letters, children and adults who are evaluated do not have to be proficient in any language or to able speak articulately. It allows Lions Club volunteers, pediatricians and school nurses to detect the most prevalent vision disorders at an early age.
“Plusoptix is most useful for persons up to the age of 25, and we want to screen children under seven – the earlier the better, as young as six months old – to identify, effectively treat and prevent ongoing problems, such as amblyopia (lazy eye),” Davis says.
Since the Mississippi Lions South District 30 purchased two Plusoptix machines four years ago, the Wesson Lions Club has assisted other clubs in Brookhaven and Hazlehurst in schools and Head Start centers, and screened hundreds of adults and kids.
“We have wanted to use the devices as much as possible since the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions,” Davis says. Although the Wesson Club has used loaned devices, a dozen Mississippi Lions Clubs – on the Coast, at Madison and Hattiesburg and in the northern part of the state -- have acquired their own machines.
To set up a sight screening event in southwest Mississippi, call 601-754-4832.