Ella and her Pink Glasses

By MaryAnn Ragone DeLambily                     

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

I’m sure the familiar saying; “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words” resonates as you look at this photo of a baby named, Ella, sporting her new pink glasses. In fact, some of the words you might come up with are, “precious”, “cute”, and “sweet”. Aside from those most adoring words, after knowing Ella’s story, you might want to use words such as “Lions”, “Vision Screening”, and “Plusoptix”. Obviously, not as appealing, but Ella and her pink glasses represent the fact that she was in need of glasses and her need was founded on a vision screening conducted by the local Lions Club. 

Ella’s First Screening

Kristi Voeller, of North Dakota, took her 6 month old daughter, Ella, for a vision screening conducted by the local Prairie Rose Lions Club at her MOPS Group in Bismarck. Kristi admits, she almost did not take baby Ella to get screened because she was only 6 months old and she had been seen regularly by the family pediatrician and there had not been any concerns. Since there was no one in line to get screened, Kristi decided she would go ahead and take Ella. 

To Kristi’s surprise, Ella was referred for further evaluation by an eye care professional. Even with the referral, Kristi thought it was some kind of fluke.  However, she scheduled an appointment through the InfantSEE program for several months later.  Not thinking there was any rush, she thought it was fine to wait until then.  However, her husband, having to see the optometrist himself at about the same time, took Ella’s referral information with him to his appointment and showed the optometrist the results of Ella’s screening. Upon looking at the screening results, the optometrist suggested taking Ella to see her for a follow-up as soon as possible.

Ella Needs Glasses

After Ella was seen by the optometrist and given a series of tests, it was determined that Ella needed glasses. Kristi remarked at the difference in Ella’s behavior after receiving her new pink glasses one week later. Ella became much more engaging, fascinated with her mommy’s nose along with her toys, playing with the family dog and her big sister, 4 year old Emma.  In addition, she had become more vocal, interested in her surroundings and environment by crawling more, and paying more attention to what is around her.  

Ella’s Glasses are Pink

How can you miss those pink glasses?  Everywhere Ella goes; Kristi is stopped and asked about Ella’s pink glasses. Ella loves her glasses and doesn’t want to take them off. Ella’s pink glasses have changed the way Ella sees everything around her. Not only does Ella look adorable, but even at 6 months old, Ella’s sight has been improved all because of a vision screening conducted by the Prairie Rose Lions Club. 

A Big Thanks to the Pairie Rose Lions Club

The Prairie Rose Lions Club, in keeping with the mission of Lions KidSightUSA, conducts vision screenings with the Plusoptix vision screener.  Plusoptix is a proud partner of Lions KidSightUSA, a nation-wide program that brings Lions clubs across the country together to ensure young children receive eye screenings and follow-up care when needed. The Plusoptix vision screener ensures that children are screened for the most prevalent risk factors that may lead to the development of Amblyopia or “lazy eye”. An early diagnosis means early correction and treatment.  Thanks to the Prairie Rose Lions Club and early intervention, Ella’s vision has been improved. 

For more information about the Plusoptix vision screener and Lions KidSightUSA, please visit www.plusoptix.com and www.lionskidsightusa.org.

Prepare Kids for a Successful School Year with Vision Screening

MaryAnn Ragone DeLambily

Good vision is important to a child in order to succeed in the classroom. Eighty percent of learning comes through the visual pathways and for that to happen, good sight is needed. Therefore, it is essential to find any potential problem before it’s too late and interferes with school learning. 

Performance in School

Focus and Concentration

Multiple things can go wrong that cause a vision-related learning problem. It is very difficult to focus on school work when there is a vision problem.  Many children become fidgety and start to act out only to find out that the reason behind it is because they are not able to focus. They are struggling to read the fine print in their textbooks or cannot see the writing on the whiteboard or screen from far away. They are unable to concentrate on something that is taken for granted. Ultimately, this lack of focus or lack of concentration will cause a child to forego his work or tasks asked of him. Over time, this will negatively affect a child’s ability to learn and his performance in school will deteriorate. 

Performance in Sports and Recreation

What child doesn’t like to play outdoors? Not only is it play time but it helps children burn off energy so they come back to the classroom refreshed and ready to learn. But if they have vision related problems, this could mean that they are unable to participate in sports or activities that involve good hand-eye coordination or good distance vision like soccer, football, or baseball. When children do not get the physical exercise that is needed for good development, they will not only suffer from poor academic performance but in other social areas as well. 

Comprehension

Children learn by reading but if they are unable to read the words, make sense of the letters, or move their eyes in the direction of the sentences, they will have a very difficult time comprehending what they just read.  This will directly affect their ability to understand their class work and complete assignments. 

Confidence Builder

When we are confident, we feel good about ourselves and those around us, what we are doing, our work, and our future. Children feel confident when they are getting good grades, when they know the subject well, work hard, complete assignments, preparing for the day’s lesson and ultimately do well in school. For those children who cannot see the whiteboard, read their books, follow sentences, play sports or have recreation time, their confidence level is low. They will feel inadequate and worthless and will have trouble fitting in, making friends, and have any motivation or ability to do well in school. These children will fall behind in their studies, will not view school as enjoyable, and will eventually lose interest and/or act out. 

 Vision Screening Can Help

Back to School with Instrument-Based Vision Screening

Many children are struggling to see and due to the pandemic with home confinement and more screen time, there has been an increase in myopia (nearsightedness) among children.

According to Dr. Edward V. Cordes, Past International Director, Lions KidSight USA Foundation, “Fifty-five million students had to contend with full or partial school closures in 2020, which means they spent more time online than before the pandemic. Just how many more children now strain to see clearly and are struggling to learn? We just don’t know, and that’s the problem. These children urgently need to be identified and helped to ensure early and successful treatment.”

Almost 40 percent of children in the United States have never undergone a vision screening. The delivery of vision screening services for children going back to school is an important and effective way to determine if a child has a vision problem. The Plusoptix vision screener provides an accurate, non-contact, safe, and reliable screening for children. The detection of vision problems at an early age can be treated early on to prevent a child from having further complications that would impede learning in the classroom. 

Act Now

Before school is in session, or early on in the school year, be sure your child gets the proper vision care and eye health before it is too late.  Prepare now for a successful school year ahead. 

The Importance of Children’s Vision Screening by MaryAnn Ragone DeLambily

Why Early Vision Screening is Important

Eye Screening is intended to detect vision disorders that may lead to Amblyopia, also called lazy eye. Many vision disorders, if not detected and treated during the first years of life, can lead to permanent vision impairment, which neither glasses nor any other visual aid can address. 

Learning is Visual

Approximately 80% of all learning comes through the visual pathways. Any interruption or interference in the visual pathways can detain a child from performing to his maximum potential. If a child is not learning according to his potential or level, then this will cause a delay in the learning process and/or development causing difficulties and struggles as they progress in school.

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), 25 percent of all children, or 1 in 4 students, have a vision problem significant enough to impact their learning.

Why Do We Need Early Vision Screening

We need early vision screening for children for prevention. We all know about the importance of preventative medicine. This is no different. From the ages of 0 thru 3 years of age, amblyopia prevention is critical. It is at this time of prevention that Amblyopia or other complications can be treated. After the age of 3 years old, prevention is still necessary, but as children get older, it gets more difficult to treat. 

Early vision screening identifies risk factors in children from early as 6 months of age through 6 year of age. The earlier risk factors are identified through screening, the earlier it can be treated. 

Possible Vision Problems

Vision problems can lead to a loss of sight, learning difficulties or delayed development.  Some visual disorders lead to a disability called Amblyopia which can cause monocular blindness. According to Prevent Blindness, it is estimated that two to three percent of the general population suffers from Amblyopia. An amblyopic child who was never treated becomes an amblyopia adult with lingering difficulty in learning, sports, and maybe even a job or career.

What is Amblyopia?

Amblyopia is also called lazy eye. It is a disorder of sight due to the eye and brain not working well together.  It results in decreased vision in an eye that otherwise typically appears normal.  It is the most common cause of decreased vision in a single eye among children and younger adults. 

Strabismus and significant refractive errors are considered risk factors for Amblyopia which include myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, and anisometropia.  Refractive errors occur when parallel light rays are not brought to a sharp focus precisely on the retina, producing a blurred retinal image. 

Definition of Refractive Errors

* Nearsightedness (Myopia) – the cornea and lens bend (refract) incoming light rays so they focus precisely on the retina at the back of the eye resulting in blurred far vision.

* Farsightedness (Hyperopia) – In the farsighted eye, the light rays are refracted too far.  They meet behind the retina, resulting in blurred near vision.

* Astigmatism – In astigmatism, the curvature of the cornea is irregular, causing light rays to focus to more than one place so that a single clear image cannot be formed on the retina, resulting in blurred vision.

* Anisometropia – This means that the two eyes have a different refractive power (glasses prescription) so there is an unequal focus between the two eyes.

* Anisocoria – this means the pupil size is significantly different in size between each pupil. 

* Strabismus – There are different types of strabismus including esotropia where one or both eyes turn inward; Hypertropia when the visual axis of one eye is higher than the fellow fixating eye and Exotropia when one or both eyes turn outward. 

How Does Early Vision Screening help?

A vision screening may identify the need for a more comprehensive eye exam to be completed by an eye care professional. A screening can be done by lay people such as the Lions Clubs, medical and non-medical professionals, school nurses, pediatricians, and others. The intention of a screening is to identify, not diagnose, vision problems in the early treatable stages. It renders a result, if not passing, a referral to an eye care professional for further evaluation. 

Vision screening is important because it gives the opportunity to prevent, detect, and treat children that otherwise may be at risk of permanent and lifelong visual disability. A child may not even know their eyesight isn’t normal because it might be normal for them.  It is important to get these screenings done to find the problems that could be easily missed. 

The Best Time for Early Vision Screening is Now When it comes to young eyes, there is an important window of opportunity when certain vision conditions can be more easily corrected while children are still growing and developing.