Eighty percent of all visual impairment can be prevented or cured. Detecting visual impairment while children are still in school can make a significant difference. The Lions Club International makes vision screening part of its mission, and area Lions Clubs are making sure Ridgefield students are checked regularly.
The process was quick and easy at View Ridge Middle School. Seventh grade students lined up in the hallway, waiting their turn in the room. Their names were checked off on a list, and they took turns sitting in a chair along a wall. A volunteer stood a few feet in front of them, holding a device that looked like a giant ViewMaster with a smiley face on the lens. “Look at the nose,” the volunteer said. In just a few moments, each student had their vision screened and they could head back to class. With the automated screening, volunteers know instantly whether the student’s eyes are fine or whether they need a referral to an optometrist.
Students wear special glasses for part of the vision screening.
Dean Stenehjem from the Ridgefield Lions Club helped conduct the screenings.
Over the years, Lions Club screenings nationwide have found not only thousands of kids who need glasses but also children with cancer, detached retinas, and childhood cataracts. Lions volunteers are trained in how to use the specialized cameras to accurately screen kids for a wide range of potential eye issues.
Lions Club member David Page brings the cameras from the Salmon Creek chapter; both Ridgefield and Salmon Creek Lions Club members volunteer to conduct the screenings. The Salmon Creek Lions Club has been doing vision screenings across the region since 2015; by the end of this year, they will have completed more than 30,000 screenings. The Ridgefield Lions Club has partnered with the schools since 2017 to screen 4,500 students in kindergarten through third grade, fifth grade, and seventh grade.
This valuable service to the community is conducted at no cost to the students or families. Lions Clubs worldwide are known for their work to improve the lives of the visually impaired and prevent avoidable blindness. Many thanks to the Lions Clubs in Ridgefield and Salmon Creek for helping Ridgefield students see clearly.