School eye exams just got a lot easier and faster, thanks to the Bangor Lions Club. The Lions Club purchased and loaned a Spot™ Vision Screener to the Bangor School Department to assist school nurses with vision screenings.
The State of Maine requires vision screenings in public schools for Kindergarten, Grade 1, Grade 3, Grade 5, Grade 7, and Grade 9 students. In the Bangor School Department, that’s a total of 1,519 students. Next year, a new state requirement will also include Pre-K students for required screenings.
“A traditional vision screening can take up to 20 minutes for one child,” says Erika Wing, elementary school nurse at Abraham Lincoln School. “With the Spot™Vision Screener, the exam takes less than ten seconds, and the device is light and portable so it’s easy to transport between Bangor’s schools.”
The Welch Allyn Spot™Vision Screener is a handheld, portable device that screens both eyes at once from a distance of three feet. It has a touch-screen display and allows for one-touch activation. The device accurately detects common vision problems, including myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism (blurred vision), anisometropia (unequal refractive power), strabismus (eye misalignment), and anisocoria (unequal pupil size). The screening provides easy-to-understand results that can be saved electronically and printed out so that parents can have a record.
“There are so many advantages to having this technology,” says Amy Sicard, the school nurse at Bangor High School. “It’s a great time-saver and will help us complete vision screenings must faster. It can also be used on students with glasses or contact lenses to ensure their prescription is still effective. And it greatly improves vision screening for very young students and non-verbal students who might not understand the directions in a traditional eye exam or are unable to respond to the questions asked in a traditional eye exam.”
Bangor Lions Club members had heard about the Spot™ Vision Screener being used in other public school districts around the state and generously offered to purchase and loan the machine to the Bangor School Department. “The Lion’s mission is to ensure all children receive eye screenings and follow-up care to detect abnormal vision,” says John Vickery, President of the Bangor chapter. “It’s a pleasure to make a difference for children and positively impact their health and education.”
“We’re grateful to the Lions Club for their generosity and for caring about our students,” says Dr. Betsy Webb, Superintendent of the Bangor School Department. “It’s our hope that this device can be shared with other local districts when Bangor’s screenings are completed, so that the Lions Club can impact even more children locally.”
Lions Club International is a service organization focused on humanitarian needs. The Bangor chapter meets every Wednesday from noon to 1:00 pm at Seasons Restaurant, and welcomes any men or women interested in helping to attend a weekly meeting.