Massillon Lions Club eyes testing for children

MASSILLON —Massillon Lions Club members have a clear vision for the community.Beginning with the youngest students, the Lions Club is working to ensure that all children see the world around them as clearly as possible by providing proper eye screenings.
In the coming weeks, representatives of the Massillon Lions Club will visit each Massillon City elementary school to assist with testing for amblyopia, more commonly known as “lazy eye.”The condition, which hinges on the fact that one of the child’s eyes sees images far more sharply and clearly than the other, worsens quickly. As the child matures, the brain will begin to ignore the poorer image, and that could result in loss of vision in the eye not seeing clearly.

In partnership with the Lions Club, school nurses work with children to conduct the eye tests at the schools. They will make referrals for follow-up eye exams when needed.

“If there is a significant difference (in the clarity of vision) between the two eyes, the children are referred for further examination,” Jim Thomas, Lions Club immediate past president, said. “If the condition goes undetected — even for a year or so — that eye can lose its vision.”

Thomas noted that if children are prescribed glasses during the follow-up exam, the Lions will provide assistance with the purchase cost of the prescribed lenses if the child’s family cannot afford them.

Last year, the Lions Club received a $10,000 grant from the Massillon Rotary Foundation to purchase a special PediaVision camera that allows for quick and easy diagnosis of children’s sight. The device, Thomas said, helps tremendously when eye tests are done with younger children. Often, preschoolers would struggle with the eye tests because they did not understand what information they were supposed to gather from the charts and, sometimes, children would be referred for additional testing when it wasn’t needed.

“The camera has taken that problem away,” Thomas said. “All we have to do is get them to sit still for two seconds.”

At the end of the month, the Massillon Lions Club will partner with Lions Clubs in Canal Fulton, Beach City, Tuslaw and Northwest to offer screenings to even more children. On Oct. 22, preschoolers and their families are invited to attend a free movie at the Lions Lincoln Theatre. Preschoolers in attendance can receive free eye screenings.

“We are trying to reach more preschoolers,” Thomas said. “We want to make sure they all have the same opportunity for testing.”