Putting into action the organization’s motto of “We Serve,” members representing several Frederick County Lions Clubs recently came together on a countywide service project when 250 preschool children in the YMCA Frederick County Head Start program received vision screenings performed by Lions members on eight different dates at three different sites in September and October of 2016. The majority of the screenings were conducted at the Head Start offices in Frederick, Maryland with the remaining screenings held in Emmitsburg, Maryland and Walkersville, Maryland. This was the third consecutive year for the joint screening effort.

The children were brought in one or two at a time to a non-invasive testing station with Head Start staff members accompanying the children to and during the testings. The station utilized PlusoptiX S12C eye-vision technology to capture an image of the children’s eyes and automatically determine whether a vision impairment, such as near- or far-sightedness or astigmatism, was present. The tester holds the unit approximately one meter from the child and asks the child to focus on the smiling face on the front of the camera. At the completion of the testing, each child received a Lion sticker to indicate they had completed the screening process.

The parents/guardians of all children tested received written test results to indicate whether their child passed, was recommended to see a vision professional for a potential problem, or was unable to be screened. While the vast majority of children passed, readings obtained by trained Lions indicated that some of the children needed to be seen by vision professionals for potential vision anomalies. The advanced technology of the PluxoptiX camera provides readings that are printed out either on a label or on a detailed form and are attached to the letter for use by the vision professional of the parents’ choice.

Lions members participating in the screenings included: Sharon Hane, John Kile, Cliff Sweeney, and Bill and Rachel Wivell from the Emmitsburg Lions Club; Darlene and John Aulls, Paul and Toni Gray, and Lynn Stimmel from Francis Scott Key Lions Club; and John Hopson from the Middletown Lions Club.

Child care centers or organizations that want to learn more about the Lions preschool vision screening program or to schedule a screening should contact Region III Lions Saving Kids Sight Coordinator, Lion John Hopson at johnhop@netzero.com or 301/371-6128.

Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organization with more than 1.4 million members in approximately 47,000 clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas around the world. Since 1917, Lions Clubs have assisted the blind and visually impaired and made a strong commitment to community service and serving youth throughout the world. The three clubs involved in the screenings have long histories of community service: Emmitsburg since 1982, Francis Scott Key since 1959, and Middletown since 1931. Lions Clubs are comprised of individuals who identify needs within the community and work together to fulfill those needs. If you want to help your community and have a roaring good time doing it, consider becoming a Lion. There are a number of Lions Clubs in the Frederick County area; for information on becoming a Lion, contact the Emmitsburg Lions at www.emmitsburg.net/lions, Francis Scott Key Lions at www.fsklions.org, or Middletown Lions at www.middletownlions.org.

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Lions participating in the recent vision screenings of Head Start students included: (seated) Lion Sharon Hane, Emmitsburg Lions; Lion Lynn Stimmel, Francis Scott Key Lions, and Lion Rachel Wivell, Emmitsburg Lions; (standing) Lion John Aulls, Francis Scott Key Lions; Lions Cliff Sweeney and Bill Wivell, Emmitsburg Lions; and Lion John Hopson, Middletown Lions.

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