Last week members of the Surface Creek Lions Club checked the eyesight of students from Little Sprouts Community Preschool and the Backpack Early Learning Academy. With parental permission, preschoolers sat attentively and looked into the "face" of an ingenious non-invasive screening device. The device -- manufactured by the plusoptiK Company -- captures an image of a child's eyes and automatically screens for early signs of vision abnormalities especially ambiyopia, commonly known as "lazy eye."
The important screening is conducted annually as part of the KidSight Colorado project. Don Chapman is a member of the Delta Lions Club and the county's KidSight coordinator. He reported that the Lions Clubs of Hotchkiss, Paonia, Delta and Surface Creek Valley pitched in to purchase the portable screening device. Chapman said that clubs throughout the county help with screening and, over the last two years, Delta County Lions have screened over 600 kids. This year the total screened will be higher because kindergarten and first graders have been added to the program.
According to the Colorado Lions KidSight Program website, each year more than 48,000 children are screened statewide and about one in ten is referred to an eye care professional for follow-up care.
KidSight is one of many vision related programs supported by Delta County Lions clubs. In addition to helping screen the eyesight of young children, Lions collect and recycle eyeglasses and they support the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Institute at the University of Colorado.
To support projects in the Cedaredge area, the Surface Valley Lions conduct fundraising bingo games on the first and third Wednesday of every month at the Masonic Lodge (lower level) at 295 West Main Street with a light dinner at 6 p.m. followed by games at 7 p.m.
The Surface Valley Lions meet monthly and they welcome new members. To join contact Pat Means 970-640-6614 or Chris Anderson 970-250-3951.