Lions Club members, from left, Mike McKenzie, Marty Bonk and Sara Baltus screen the vision of Brinley Baltus, a student at Fairview Elementary School. Photo by Dennis Schwartz
Posted November 7, 2016
For the seventh year, Plymouth Lions Club volunteers put in countless hours to screen Plymouth students for vision problems.
The Plymouth School District – with invaluable help from the Lions – screens students in 4K, kindergarten, first, third and fifth grades, in addition to any students referred by staff or parents. The club also screens students at St. John Lutheran and St. John the Baptist schools.
This year 771 district students were screened, with 54 of them referred to eye-care professionals for further evaluation.
“Many have already returned to school with new glasses and huge smiles on their faces,” said district nurse Anne Nelson.
The Lions Club, known for its vision-related initiatives, stepped up in 2009 after the county health department stopped doing vision screenings in schools.
Last year, the club invested in a Welch Allen Spot Vision Screener, a high-tech handheld machine that quickly and accurately detects vision issues. It is less subjective than vision charts and provides much more information, screening for nearsightedness, farsightedness, blurred vision, eye misalignment and two types of unequal refractive power.
Nurses can prepare a detailed report on each child to help families decide if they need to see an eye-care professional.
“We appreciate the support and help of not only the use of the Spot Screener, but especially the ongoing volunteer hours,” said Anne Gamoke, director of student services for the district. “Kids who struggle to see, struggle to learn. Thankfully for the 54 students who were referred, this no longer will be a concern.”