Volunteers with the La Plata Lions Club screened Waldorf preschoolers’ eyesight Oct. 26, as part of a program for children across Charles County.
Volunteers screening for depth perception and “lazy eye” at Mary B. Neal Elementary School recommended that eight children be seen by an eye specialist, out of the 45 children, ages 3 to 6, who were examined.
The Lions Club will use its equipment, including special cameras, to screen preschoolers in all 21 Charles public schools during the 2012-13 academic year, Chairman Carolyn Rogers said.
The club’s vision screening committee also works with children at Archbishop Neale School, a Catholic school in La Plata, and a few day-care centers.
“With this camera, we know right away if there’s [vision] problems,” Rogers said.
The club got its SureSight cameras a few years ago. Through grant funding, Lions Club International purchased the equipment for Lions Club District 22-C, which then loaned the equipment to the La Plata Lions Club.
Early detection of amblyopia, or lazy eye, is particularly important because children can be cured of the condition, which prevents the brain from correctly interpreting signals from the eye, if they are treated when they are young, volunteers said.
Early vision screenings also help children excel in school, said volunteer Jordan Burick.
“Children are important. Their eyes are important. You get them started in school so they can learn to read without any [vision] problems, they’re going to have a change to be more successful throughout their school career,” Burick said.
The club has been doing screenings at schools for about eight years, he said.
Lions International has focused on vision since 1925, when author and advocate for the disabled Helen Keller challenged the group to dedicate itself to sight, members said.
During the screening, children wear special glasses, random dot serial butterfly glasses, used to perform a litmus test.
By looking through the glasses, children see a 3-D butterfly. To get an idea of the child’s depth perception, the child is asked to pinch the butterfly’s wings.
Rogers said another test the glasses are used for to determine depth perception involves a chart. The chart has multiple rows of animals, and one animal is 3-D. Children are asked to identify which of the animals is 3-D.
The children seemed to enjoy the screenings.
“The eyes are going to be good,” declared Darnell Sallis, 5, while Elijah Seaforth, 4, appreciated wearing “magic glasses” during the test.