Why Vision Screening?
The early years of a child's life are critical in the development of good vision. Unfortunately, one out of twenty preschoolers has an undetected vision problem that could cause permanent vision loss if left untreated. Other eyesight problems may also be present. Locally, we refer 8-9% of children screened to eyecare professionals.
Eyesight problems are not always evident by simply looking at a child or watching them play. Young children can and do compensate for vision problems so well that parents, teachers, and even pediatricians, may be unaware of the problem. Children with eyesight issues don't know they can't see well; things look perfectly normal to them.
Educational studies suggest that 80% of a young child's learning occurs through the use their eyes. Also, by the time a child is old enough to be in primary grades, some conditions can no longer be effectively treated. For example, Amblyopia can develop and if not treated can lead to poor academic performance, low self-esteem, limited social and sports involvement, and behavioral problems. Seven of ten juvenile delinquents have an undiagnosed vision problem.
"The Keene Lions Club is offering free vision screening for preschoolers in our community using a state-of-the-art Photo Screener. I encourage families to participate, since this screening method is very effective at detecting treatable vision problems in young children." (Dr. Deborah R. Hansen, MD Pediatrician, Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene)
What is KidSight?
KidSight Keene is a free vision-screening program managed and provided by Keene Lions Club members and volunteers. We conduct vision-screening sessions at about 50 preschools, early childhood centers, kindergartens, and schools. The program is designed for children ages six months through about eight or nine. We also screen 7th graders to help ensure children can see well before entering high school and because vision changes may emerge at puberty. School staff members or parent volunteers accompany the children during the screening process.
How is Vision Screening Done?
Screening is a simple process since we use very advanced technology. The Lions Club uses a hand-held Welch Allyn Spot auto-refraction device, about the size of a large 35mm camera. The process requires no preparation, nor does it require a child to read letters or name shapes. Here is a link to a piece that aired in February 2018 by WMUR that features the Spot device we use to screen children.
No medication or eye drops are ever administered; the process is totally painless and it takes only a moment for each child. The device is held about three feet from the child and is able to capture required data for over 98% of children. It is 85-90% accurate in detecting vision problems identified below.
The Kidsight screening program is capable of detecting six types of vision problems in children, specifically: amblyopia (lazy eye), nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, strabismus (misaligned eye), and anisometropia (unequal refractive power). However, eyesight screening cannot identify all eyesight conditions. That's why we recommend all children receive a periodic eye examination by an eyesight professional, (optometrist or ophthalmologist).
What happens after the screening?
The results of the screening are sent home with the child at the end of the day or mailed by the school to parents. If a potential problem is identified, parents are urged to take their child to one of the eyecare professionals in the area. If needed, the Keene Lions Club may also be able to assist with the costs associated with eye examinations or eyeglasses. You can get an application for assistance here .
For a look at how we communicate screening results, click on the following links:- Screening Results Cover Letter
Links to References, Articles, and Research and Studies
Research and Studies
Lions Jim Barnes volunteering at a local pre-school
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