When the Logan County school district does its preschool screenings this Friday at Post Oak Baptist Church in Russellville, the Russellville Lions Club will be helping out with some useful new technology.
The Kidsight program will be on sight with a new camera which helps catch vision problems in children between the ages of 2 and 5.
Kidsight is a free vision screening program where Lions Club volunteers throughout Kentucky conduct vision screening sessions at preschools, kindergartens and other early childhood centers. Screenings are also conducted at health fairs and other public events throughout the state.
The Franklin Lions Club purchased a SPOT camera for approximately $11,000 and will be assisting the Russellville Lions Club by using it for the screenings.
“We are not professionals,” said Frank Schwab, who will be operating the camera at the screenings. “We just take the pictures and then they are sent off to the state Lions Club where they will be looked at by a doctor.”
If it looks like a child may have a problem with their eyes, the parents will be notified that it’s a good idea to take him or her to get a professional eye exam.
The screening is 90 to 95 percent accurate, though, according to the Lions Club.
The Kentucky Lions KidSight screening program detects these vision problems in children:
Myopia (Nearsightedness) - This is when the eyes focus incorrectly, making distant objects appear blurred. It can be treated with glasses, and typically is not amblyogenic as long as both eyes have similar degrees of myopia.
Hyperopia (Farsightedness) - This is the difficulty seeing objects that are near. Small levels of far-sightedness are normal for young children, but high levels can cause problems. Left untreated, hyperopia can contribute to crossing of the eyes or poor vision in each eye. This condition can be corrected with glasses.
Astigmatism - This is a condition in which the cornea (the clear covering of the front of the eye) has an abnormal curve, causing out-of-focus vision. Typically, an eye with astigmatism is not perfectly round but is slightly oblong, creating astigmatism. Astigmatism is not amblyogenic unless it is asymmetric or of a large degree.
Strabismus - Strabismus is when the eyes are not directed to an object simultaneously. Sometimes the eyes deviate inward, and other times the eyes deviate outward. Vertical Deviations can also occur, but are quite rare.
Anisometropia - This is the condition in which the two eyes have unequal refractive power–they are in different states of myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness). Anisometropia can adversely affect the development of binocular vision in infants and children if there is a large difference in clarity between the two eyes. The brain will often suppress the vision of the blurrier eye in a condition called Amblyopia, or lazy eye.
The screening is free, thanks to the support and volunteer efforts of the local Lions Clubs. Funding is also provided by individuals, corporations and grants.
The first few years of a child’s life are critical in the development of good vision. Problems are not always evident by simply looking at a child. Each day that eye problems go undetected and untreated, a child’s vision may deteriorate to the point of irreversibility. The earlier these conditions are detected, the more easily and successfully they can be treated.
The Russellville Lions Club is also planning on working with the Russellville Independent School System with screenings for its preschools students in May and also will be going to area daycares to provide screenings.