In 2015, the NECC, Lions Clubs International, and area public schools began screening preschool & school age children for vision problems. With this collaboration, the vision screening program has identified many young children who would not have been identified as having vision problems using traditional methods. Identifying and correcting vision problems early is so important to school age children, as 80% of how children learn is through vision and 1 in 10 children has a vision problem significant enough to affect learning.
The CT Lions KidSight Program is a free service funded by the CT Lions Eye Research Foundation and staffed by volunteers. Using the latest technology (called a photo screener) the screening device detects risk factors for amblyopia, such as strabismus (eyes that cross or wander out), refractive errors and unequal vision between the two eyes, and potentially even more serious issues such as cataracts and eye cancer. The NECC is grateful to the dedication of the CT Lions volunteers as well as the staff of the area public schools for bringing this valuable service to local children. The NECC continues to look at how we can bring more screenings to children in our communities as we work towards our mission that all children, birth through age eight, in Killingly, Plainfield, Putnam & Sterling are healthy, safe & successful learners. If you would like more information on our Vision Task Force, please contact our Regional Director.
When should children get regular vision testing?
According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months of age. Children then should receive additional eye exams at 3 years of age, and just before they enter kindergarten or the first grade at about age 5 or 6. The vision testing conducted at public schools and pediatric offices are not sufficient and do not detect all problems. During a visit to an optometrist for a comprehensive eye exam, the doctor will look at things a school vision screening will not, such as the overall health of the eyes, how the eyes work together, and whether your child’s eyes are focusing correctly. This in-depth look will also examine depth perception, color and peripheral vision, the health of the pupil, and distance viewing. Children’s eyes are responsible for 80 percent of their total learning, making it vital to ensure the eyes are healthy with an annual exam (from thinkaboutyoureyes.com).
What are some warning signs of vision problems in children?
Look for some of these warning signs:
- Avoiding or not liking reading
- Short attention span
- Difficulty throwing or catching a ball, copying from a chalkboard or tying their shoes
- Pulling a book in close to their face, or sitting too close to a TV
- Lots of blinking or eye rubbing
- Guiding their eyes with a finger or pencil while reading
- Falling performance in school
ThinkAboutYourEyes is a national public awareness campaign, presented by The Vision Council and the American Optometric Association, designed to educate the public on the benefits of vision health and promote the importance of getting an annual comprehensive eye exam.
Lions Kids Sight is a nationwide program to safeguard the vision of children aged 6 months through 6 years.
Click here for a list of vision eye care centers and doctors in your area and here for a buyer’s guide for purchasing glasses online.
Learn more about the success stories of Gavin and Colton, two young children who have benefited from this fantastic screening program.
See our Calendar of Events page for vision screenings!