A vision for your children

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 - 10:40
  • Eagle River Lions Club member Finis Shelden, school nurse Beth Thomas and Chugiak Lions Club member Bill Stoltze show one of the Thanksgiving meals delivered to Birchwood ABC Elementary. Shelden and Stoltze had spent the morning delivering meals to area schools to be distributed for the coming holiday. (Photo by Michael Dinneen for the Star)

Imagine you bring your child to a routine eye appointment and the doctor turns to you and says there is a problem with your child’s eyesight. Not just any problem; she is blind in one eye, known as “lazy eye.”

This is a personal experience for myself and daughter. I was devastated. Being uninformed, I was worried how my child would be able to function, how would she be able to learn and function in school.

Hence, the development of my passion for being of Lion and screening as many children as possible throughout the year.

Many of us can only imagine this scenario, but many more parents live it. We may not know these families, but they’re in our community. They are our neighbors, coworkers, teachers, and friends. Across Alaska, and the world, children, adults and seniors are battling preventable vision impairments and diseases.

In 1925, Helen Keller reached out to the Lions to become “Knights of the Blind” in the crusade against darkness.

In addition to many other community support missions, Lions have answered the challenge with proactive measures to identify people with preventable vision impairments and correctable diseases.

Lions throughout our community bring their mobile vision screening to schools, daycare facilities and community gatherings in the hopes of early detection and correction of treatable vision impairments, many of which can be corrected if caught by age 6.

My good news was it was detected at an early age and able to be corrected. A few short years of corrective lenses and she is seeing better than I do with no need for glasses or contacts.

Though our mission is to eliminate preventable blindness, our vision goes far beyond sight. Our vision is to have our community become proactive. Bring your children and grandkids to get screened early, and encourage your neighbors to do the same.

With our PlusOtix screeners, we could help prevent a lifetime of blindness. You will find our vision team in the elementary schools throughout Chugiak and Eagle River the next few months along with local health fairs.

We also recycle your used eye glasses. Please drop them off at Eagle River Library, Family Pharmacy, Fred Meyer, or Carrs. Our Bear Mountain Leos will come around and pick them up each month.

You can certainly send them in with your children when we come visit your school.

For more information on becoming a lion or our projects, visit www.lionsclubs.org, www.sleepingladylions.org, www.eagleriverlions.com, www.chugiaklions.com or call Lion Karen 242-1129.

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