FRUITLAND, Iowa–Having good vison plays a vital role in early childhood development. However, many young kids’ vision problems go undetected because they cannot read yet. Each year, the Fruitland Lions work to remedy this problem by offering free vision screenings to children ages six-month to kindergarten age through the Iowa KidSight program.
Since 2004, Lions volunteers have brought this program to all daycares and preschools in Fruitland and Muscatine. Annually, they test upwards of 500 children and have tested more than 6,000 kids since the program began. At their screenings, the volunteers take specialized photos of each child’s eyes. They then send the photos to the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences for evaluation. These ophthalmologists will provide the results to families, suggesting follow up if needed. In cases of financial need, the Fruitland Lions can help offset the cost of eye appointments and glasses purchases.
So far this school year, the Fruitland Lions have already screened 314 children. However, because of COVID-19 restrictions, they will not have the opportunity to visit all the facilities they usually do. In order to offer screenings to as many children as possible, the Fruitland Lions will hold a walk in screening at the Environmental Learning Center in Muscatine Oct. 24 from 1 to 4 p. m. “We thought it would be beneficial if we as a local partner would have an open screening,” emphasized Fruitland Lions Member Julie Herold.