-- — Batesville Lions Club members have been doing a great service for area schools over the past five years by offering free eye screenings to students.
The Indiana Lions Eye Screening Program has screeners throughout the state. District 25F, which has five groups, covers the area from Indianapolis to Richmond and south to the Ohio River, reports member Dave Clashman. To date, the people who screen in this district have tested nearly 200,000 students.
“Our team consists mostly of Lions Club members from Batesville, Milan and Versailles. However, we get additional help from the Aurora, Bright, Greensburg, Metamora and Osgood clubs. We also get tremendous support from the local retired teachers association. A number of retired teachers are a key part of our team and vital to our success. Their dedication, commitment and support are very much appreciated,” he says.
“The screening process requires individuals who have been trained on the various key tests we conduct .... (they) must go through a re-certification training every three years. However, there are number of other roles where nontrained individuals are needed and are very critical to our efficiency in the screening process.
“One key to our success is communication,” the organizer points out. “We keep in touch with the school nurses as we deliver (student information) forms to the school at the beginning of the school year.” Members also send out e-mails when seeking volunteers for each effort. “Sometimes more than one team will work a school. Our team and another one from Columbus will work together at Greensburg and other large schools in Decatur County. This joint effort really speeds up the eye screening process.”
Lions will screen over 3,000 students at over 20 public and private schools in Ripley, Franklin, Dearborn and Decatur counties this year. Fifth- and eighth-grade students receive the acuity eye screening test, and youngsters in kindergarten, first and third grades are tested for that and also receive stereopsis testing which checks for amblyopia, also known as lazy eye. “This is a very serious problem and can lead to blindness if not taken care of properly .... only a few students are found with this problem. However, because of the serious nature of this, it is critical that the student receives professional help,” the organizer stresses. “Our group is also involved in doing adult screenings at health fairs and other places .... (That effort) includes a test for macular degeneration and glaucoma for people over age 35.
“A great sense of satisfaction comes from a well-coordinated event, where every member of the team plays a key role in our success. It is this team effort that makes it happen and gets the job done. Each team member, regardless of his or her role, is critical to our efficiency.
“Another positive point ... is that the program allows Lions Club members from various clubs to work together on a joint project. We have a sense of family.”
Diane Raver can be contacted at diane. raver@ batesvilleheraldtribune.com.