15:04 PM

Community Impact: Jefferson Lions Club

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vision disability is one of the most prevalent disabling conditions among children.

“If a child can’t see well, it limits what they can see in the classroom,” said Jimmy Mock, president of the Jefferson Lions Club.

Historically, Lions Club chapters across the U.S. have been focused on sight conversation and vision improvement. The Jefferson chapter has been providing those services through education, vision screenings, supporting payments for eyeglasses and exams, and other functions.

Now, the club has a new tool available to screen children for vision impairments – a portable device that quickly determines if a child should be referred to a vision doctor for additional care. The Jefferson Lions Club recently received a grant for $7,304 from the Jackson EMC Foundation to purchase the spot vision screener for its Kidsight USA program in Jackson County.

In about 30 seconds, a trained volunteer with the spot vision screener can learn if a child is at risk for one or more of six vision impairment – including nearsightedness, farsightedness and blurred vision. The device looks like a camera and can be easily operated by volunteers.

“This device will tell in a few seconds if a child or anyone else may need to get an eye appointment,” Mock said.

The Jefferson Lions Club plans to coordinate vision screenings with elementary schools and preschools in Jackson County. Based on results from other Lions Club chapters using the device, an estimated 10-15% of children may be referred to an eye doctor.

The volunteers are not eyecare professionals and don’t offer a diagnosis, Mock said. Following the screening, the volunteers will provide a report to help educate parents about potential eyecare decisions for their child.

The grant from the Jackson EMC Foundation is allowing the Jefferson Lions Club to implement the new program with the vision screening device, according to Smith. Lions Club chapters in Athens and Statham have been offering the program.

For more information about the Jefferson Lions Club, visit facebook.com/jefferson-galionsclub.org/