Clintonville club conducts screenings in schools
By Erik Buchinger
Clintonville Lions Club member Lowell Easley presented information regarding the Spot Vision Screener and its results in the district to the Clintonville School Board on Jan. 22.
The Clintonville Lions Club were introduced to the Spot camera in March 2013 and purchased one shortly after.
“When I saw this camera – and as a retired educator – I said this is something that we as Lions need to use and get involved with,” Easley said. “We need to get them in schools, get into day care and so on.”
Since June 2014, the Lions Club has been conducting vision screenings with the Spot camera at schools and community events.
Easley said there are typically four Lions helping with the vision screening, and they can go through 60 children in one hour.
“[Vision problems are] often undetected until it gets severe enough or when the child is old enough to notice something’s not right,” Easley said.
Easley said the Lions do not charge the school districts for their vision screenings.
The Lions used the Spot camera at the Clintonville Public School District on Wednesday, Jan. 17, and out of the 146 children screened, 127 children were listed as in range and 19 listed as out of range.
The camera also detects different categories the children’s vision falls under if they are listed as out of range to help locate the problem.
“If we screen a child and they are out of range in one or more criteria then they use the Snellen chart to re-screen for acuteness because this camera will not screen for acuity, which is how your brain interprets the message being sent to it,” Easley said.
According to Easley the camera has to be set exactly parallel to the eye before taking the photo.
The camera is about 88 percent accurate according to different studies and reports, Easley said.
Easley told the story about a community daycare center where a child’s mother signed the permission slip to have her child tested by the Lions at the last minute.
“Later, that child was on the operating table in Green Bay getting a tumor removed,” Easley said. “Now, did the camera detect the tumor? No, but it detected indications that there was something wrong with the child’s vision.”
After the screening, the child went to the local optometrist, who immediately called a specialist in Green Bay requesting to see the child immediately.
“Within the next day or two after the screening, the parents took the child to Green Bay, and he was having surgery,” Easley said.
School Board Vice President Lori Poppe said having this technology in the past could have helped her daughter.
“My youngest daughter has a lazy eye, and it would’ve been amazing to have this when she was younger because by the time we had known about it, it had already been too late,” Poppe said. “With lazy eye, children will actually learn to use their other eye just by turning their head a little bit.”
Poppe said her daughter passed all of her eye exams at school by turning her head to use her dominant eye.
“And because of it, she’ll have a permanent issue for the rest of her life,” Poppe said. “That would’ve been amazing to have at a younger age just to pick up something because it is pretty significant.”
Superintendent David Dyb received an email from a parent in the district, and he read it during the discussion, leaving out names.
“Two years ago, my child participated in the Lions vision screening program during 4K here in Clintonville,” the letter stated. “The results of the vision screening indicated there was an extreme stigmatism in her right eye. We made an appointment with an optometrist immediately. The optometrist also found my child suffered amblyopia (lazy eye), which is a problem that happens when one eye is weaker than the other. The left eye was doing all the work. The child began using corrective glasses immediately and has been wearing these for the last two years. The child was screened again on Jan. 17, 2018 and passed the Lions vision screening. I am so thankful my child was screened in 2016 and we took them to the appointment at an early age so the condition could begin to be reversed. The point of my email is to share with you the benefits of this program for children of all ages especially the early ages. Some children do not even realize they have a vision problem. This gives them a voice.”
“If this went untreated, it would’ve caused permanent vision problems that could not be corrected later in life,” Easley said. “That’s why I am excited about this camera and what it can do for the district.”
School Board President Ben Huber said he is happy with the work the Lions have done using the spot vision camera for the school district and community.
“I think this is good stuff,” Huber said. “It’s a win-win for our kids and for our community.”
Easley said the Lions are in the process of conducting a two-year study to test the effectiveness of the camera compared to the traditional Snellen vision exams with students from preschool through senior in high school.