Most parents think they would know if their kids had vision problems – their children would squint, sit too close to the TV or complain about fuzzy vision. The truth is, five percent of preschoolers have amblyopia, or “lazy eye,” but only 15 percent of kids under age five ever undergo an eye exam, simply because they display no outward symptoms or can’t verbalize their poor eyesight. Unfortunately, if left untreated, these conditions can have a negative effect on a child’s ability to learn in school and can lead to permanent vision loss.
Since 1995, the Missouri Lions Eye Research Foundation has screened almost 200,000 children, including 8,000 in the St. Louis region last year, for amblyopia and other vision conditions through our free Children’s Vision Screening program. From Friday, July 8 through Saturday, July 9, 2011, the Foundation will hold its largest free screening event of the year for children ages six months and older at the Saint Louis Science Center.
Hours for the screenings are 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. both days. No appointment is needed.
Said one mother whose daughter was screened by the Foundation, “If the Foundation did not screen her, it may have been years before her first exam. Not only have glasses prevented her vision from worsening, her vision has actually improved!”
Screening for vision problems takes just minutes and is completely non-invasive. Trained Foundation staff technicians use a hand-held scanner to screen a child’s eyes, and the automated system reviews the results to immediately produce a pass or refer report. If a child shows symptoms of a vision condition, the parents are encouraged to take him or her to an eye doctor for a follow-up eye examination.
In addition to screening children at public events like the Science Center, the Foundation offers vision screenings at no cost to preschools, daycare centers and community organizations in St. Louis as well as the families they serve. Organizations who wish to schedule a screening may do so by calling the Foundation at 1-800-753-2265.
About the Missouri Lions Eye Research Foundation
The Missouri Lions Eye Research Foundation is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation based out of Columbia, Mo. The Foundation is dedicated to the preservation and restoration of sight through its vision programs including: Children’s Vision Screening, Healthy Vision Screening, Eyeglass Recycling, Eye Care Assistance, Heartland Lions Eye Banks and the support of ocular research. For more information on our programs, please visit www.mlerf.org.