Many that are familiar with Lions are aware that vision services are a big part of what Lions Clubs do, and most that are aware of the Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation know that our flagship program involves screening Oregon kids for vision health issues.
But most people are surprised to learn that OLSHF is now regarded as the premier school vision screening program in the country. We’re proud of the volume of students that we screen each year – we’re on track to hit 180,000 children screened in Oregon this school year – but more important, we take great pleasure in the high accuracy of our vision screenings, and the support for our methodology from the Oregon Optometrists Professional Association and Pacific University’s College of Optometry to list a few.
Our goal – we call it our 2020 Vision – is to ensure that all Oregon school children in Kindergarten through 8th grade have their vision screened each year. We’re talking about 400,000 students or so.
To help achieve this, we’ve been able to advocate for funding from Oregon state to support their mandate of all children having an eye exam or a vision screening by age 7. The funding now available will screen about 135,000 students – 35% – of these kids. So we’re getting there, but there is still work to do.
Earlier this week a Salem-Keizer school nurse told me “This is the third year that we’ve worked with the Lions and each year we’re seeing more kids wearing eyeglasses. We love it!”
The reality is that as more kids get screened, more kids are going to the optometrist and getting eyeglasses. They’re seeing better, so they’re reading better. When they read at grade level, they’re more likely to be successful in school – and more likely to feel better about themselves.
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch this great video that we produced last year for our legislative effort. It does a great job of telling our story and explaining our 2020 Vision.