TROY – Robert Medley, member of the Troy Lions Club, was inducted into the Ohio Lions Club Honor Roll for his work and dedication to the “Lions Club Pre-School Vision Screening Program.”
The screening program was created to screen children between the ages of 3 to 6 years utilizing vision screening instruments to examine their vision for any abnormalities. Some abnormalities could be an precursor indication to amblyopia, or more commonly known as lazy eye. According to Medley, catching this condition in this specific age group makes the treatment much easier, and after the age of 6, it becomes difficult to treat.
Before the pandemic, the Lions Club screening program would examine 300 to 400 children each year by visiting pre-schools in the area. The pandemic impacted their efforts. The group is planning to start examining again this fall. “Ideally, we would love to be able to go to every pre-school and screen every child,” commented Medley.
Medley listed behaviors that children can exhibit that are associated with vision problems which include rubbing their eyes, squinting, turning/tilting their heads, and being closer to the TV or a school board. If parents are concerned about their child’s vision, a visit to the doctor or an optometrist would be beneficial. “I suggest that children get screened every year beginning at the age of 3. Children’s eyes change so quickly,” stated Medley.
Medley and other screeners are required to attend training sessions for a day then pass a test to receive a certification to safely screen and identify abnormalities. Then, they are required to recertify every three years. Medley received his certification from Prevent Blindness Ohio which is an organization that educates and spreads awareness of vision impairments.
When visiting a pre-school, students, parents, and staff are informed of the screening. A consent form is sent home with the students for parents to sign and only children with consent forms are screened.
The screening program and Medley have been credited with saving a few children’s vision. Medley provided an example of a young girl involved with the Edison State Pre-School who had “off-the-carts results.” The girl’s family was informed and upon an optometrist exam, the girl’s vision was corrected through a two-part treatment with two pairs of glasses. If Medley and this program had not caught the vision impairment, the young girl could have lost her vision entirely.
“If you find only one child like that in all the years of screening, that’s what makes it worthwhile to you,” said Medley.
“The best part of this program is being able to identify vision impairments in pre-school kids. About 90% of learning at that stage is through vision, and if a child can’t see, they’re going to struggle to learn,” Medley commented.
The Lions Club is a national organization that does screenings. The pre-school screening program was adopted in 2010 according to Medley. The national organization then purchased vision screening equipment for each district. The program has continued to grow and other chapters are joining the program still. The cost of the equipment is about $6,000. “This kind of community program is vital to the children in our communities,” stated Medley.
On the topic of being inducted into the Ohio Lions Club Honor Roll, Medley commented, “it was quite an unexpected honor.” Medley has been involved with the Troy Lions Club for 32 years and has spent some of that time promoting the program and creating the Ohio Sight & Hearing Foundation. The foundation is used to help individuals pay for advanced procedures.
Medley invites the community to join the Lions Club and to volunteer their time to help screen children.