Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Do SC Lions Clubs conduct vision screening in South Carolina?
A. Currently over 35 SC Lions Clubs conduct vision screening throughout South Carolina in preschools, day cares, Head Start centers and schools.

Q. How many children are screened each year and what is the referral rate?
A. Because of COVID we were not able to enter schools for screening in 2020/2021 school year and the 2021/2022 school year is contingent on the individual school systems. During the school year 2019/2020, over 35 clubs reported screening more than 100,000 children with over 14,000 referrals. Depending on the school district, referral rates range from 4% to 25%

Q. My pediatrician and the school nurse screen our children each year with the Snellen Chart. Isn’t that enough?
A. The Snellen Chart (pull down chart) screens for visual acuity which is a measure of how well small details are resolved in the very center of the visual field; it therefore does not indicate how larger patterns are recognized. Visual acuity alone cannot determine the overall quality of visual function. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Q. Is there a better way?
A. The Plusoptix and Hillrom Welch Allyn SPOT devices are auto-refractive vision screening units that are handheld, lightweight, and easy to use. These units screen all age groups, starting at six months and requires no response and minimal cooperation from children. They are very quick (about three seconds) and non-invasive (works at three feet). They are accurate, repeatable, and reliable and the results are easy to understand (one page summary). Results are thorough, detecting nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, binocular problems, and unequal refractive powers.

Q. Who should be screened?
A. Children as young as 6 months may be screened. The child must be able to fixate (look at a specific object). For this screening, the child must be able to focus on flashing colored lights on the device.

Q. Why screen children so young?
A. According to the American Optometric Association, almost 1 out of 4 children suffer from inadequate visual abilities. The first few years of a child’s life are critical to the development of normal vision. Vision abnormalities in a child’s eyes may occur even when the eye appears to look normal. A child with vision problems often does not realize that the way they see the world is not the way everyone else sees it.

The eye, muscles that control the eye, optic nerve, and the area of the brain that gives us vision are completely developed, no matter how perfectly or imperfectly, by the age of six. Vision deficiencies that may have occurred during development will be very difficult or impossible to treat after the age of 6 when development has been completed.  Many of these problems when caught early enough can be completely corrected.  The earlier vision problems are diagnosed, the better the chance of correction and the easier and less expensive the treatment.

Q. Has COVID 19 had any effect on our school aged children?
A. According to the article “How the COVID-19 Lockdown Changed Children’s Eyes,“ written by Reena Mukamal for American Academy of Ophthalmology, “Some ophthalmologists around the country are noticing a spike in children’s vision problems as Americans emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic…Many children use electronic devices around the clock for both school and play. This, combined with delayed vision screenings during the pandemic, has created a heap of issues for children’s eyesight.”

Q. Do I still need to take my child to an eye care specialist if screenings are within range?
A. YES! YES! YES! All children should be seen by an eye care professional once per year starting at 6 months old. Lions do not recommend any specific eye doctor, do not make diagnoses, and do not examine a child’s eyes beyond taking readings.  Screenings for acuity and/or with the auto-refractive vision screening units are not substitutes for seeing an eye care professional but tools to help.

Q. How do we request a Lions Club to screen at our event, pre-school, day care, or school?
A. If you would like to have a Lions Club screen at your event or school, email, or fill out the below request and we will get back to you.

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