Thousands of Iowa children are having their vision checked through a painless, free program, now completing its fourth year. Lori Short is state coordinator of the “Coming to Your Senses” program, based at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. She says Lions Club volunteers are being trained by the hundreds in Iowa on how to perform the simple screenings. The volunteers go into day care centers and use a modified Polaroid camera that takes a picture of the child’s eye. Those pictures are sent back to University Hospitals to be analyzed to see if the child has a potential vision problem. So far, 1,300 volunteers have been sent into day care centers in 89 of Iowa’s 99 counties, where they’ve screened more than 16,000 children. Short says it’s simple to get what’s needed from the kids who are being screened, who are between the ages of six months and four years. Short says “they don’t have to do anything but sit still” and have a picture taken, and the eyecare specialists do the rest. She says as many as 7,800 Iowa children under age four have poor vision in at least one eye. The screenings focus on six conditions that lead to what’s called “lazy eye” in children, which can lead to blindness if not detected early and treated. For more information, call your nearest Lions Club of Iowa office or Lori Short at (319) 353-7616.
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