Eversight Connecticut Vision Fall 2016 - Page 9

PROJECT KIDSIGHT The Lions and Eversight Connecticut expand children’s vision screening Eversight and the New Britain Lions Club have partnered to orchestrate the largest eye screening program in the state. Led by Eversight Connecticut Executive Director Ryan Cady and Lions member Alan Daninhirsch, they have screened more than 12,000 children in the past two years from the New Britain school system as part of a national program called Lions KidSight USA. KidSight is an initiative to ensure children receive vision screening and professional follow-up care they may need to correct vision problems. And the program is gaining momentum. Lions Club International recently awarded a $100,000 grant to the local Lions Club to purchase additional vision screening equipment. The Connecticut Lions plan to match the grant dollar for dollar in an effort to reach at least 45,000 children annually with the additional machines. Eventually, they’d like to sweep the entire state, screening 200,000 Connecticut children a year. “The cooperation between Eversight Connecticut and the local Lions organization has really enabled us to accomplish everything we’ve done,” Daninhirsch said. “It has been a model program for the entire state.” For Cady and Daninhirsch, the emphasis behind the program is simple: Sight for young children is crucial to education. If you can’t see, you can’t read. And if you can’t read, you can’t learn. KidSight Connecticut “We really want to envelop the entire state and make sure that all kids are screened,” Cady By the numbers 6,000 New Britain school children screened each year by Eversight Connecticut and the Lions Club $100,000 Grant from Lions Clubs International to the Connecticut Lions to purchase vision screening equipment 200,000 School children Eversight and the Connecticut Lions hope to screen across the state on an annual basis said. “Because anything we can do to help make sure children are receiving the medical attention for their eyesight is vital. This is really making an impact in our communities and in the lives of young children.” The results from screenings across the New Britain school system, which includes about 13 schools, solidified Cady’s and Daninhirsch’s belief that the current state-mandated system requiring school nurses to screen children with the Snellen eye chart has its limits. Children with detectable eye problems are slipping through the cracks. According to Daninhirsch, school nurses have a five percent referral rate with the eye chart. But when using the PediaVision Spot devices, the referral rate for Eversight Connecticut and the Lions jumps to 17 percent with a 95-96 percent accuracy rate. That difference means that nearly 25,000 children between kindergarten and the sixth grade are dealing with undetected vision issues in Connecticut. For most of the United States the program with new equipment is focused on children between the ages of six months and six years. In New Britain, though, Daninhirsch, who is an Eversight Connecticut That’s a gap Cady, Daninhirsch, Eversight and the Lions are Board Director, and Cady concentrated on kids between striving to eliminate. kindergarten and the sixth grade. Using hand-held PediaVision Spot devices that generate results printed out “As we’re beginning to go back and follow the children, on-site, a team of three to five volunteers can work through we’ll see kids with glasses,” Daninhirsch said. “They’ll say 500 children in a day. to us, ‘I didn’t have these glasses before you screened me Parents receive a letter advising them to make an appointment with an optometrist or ophthalmologist if their child’s results are flagged from the scan. last year. And now I’m doing much better.’ That makes it all worthwhile.” Fall 2016 | V I S I O N | Page 9 0929_CT-VISION-Fall2016.indd 9 10/13/16 11:39 AM