Thank you, Lions

To the Editor:

We would sincerely like to thank the Plymouth Lions Club for undertaking the vision screening in the Plymouth community schools. Almost 800 children were screened in grades 5K, 1, 3, 5 and 6 in the Plymouth Joint School District. Of those screened, at least 45 children were identified as being in need of further evaluation by an eye-care professional.

Vision screening in schools has a long history, the purpose of which continues to be the detection and referral for treatment of commonly occurring visual problems. Early detection of these problems can have enormous educational and behavioral benefits and certainly has qualityof life benefits. Children with vision impairment are not usually aware of their deficit and therefore do not complain. Seeing things as blurred or distorted may just be interpreted as “normal” for them. Without intervention there may be permanent vision loss, learning disabilities, emotional and behavioral problems and school failure.

This service was long provided by the Public Health Department but needed to be discontinued due to budget constraints. Taking on this task by the Plymouth Lions Club was a huge undertaking. Many club volunteers provided the direct screening with training provided by “Prevent Blindness America.” Many parent volunteers were also needed for “traffic flow.”

Thank you to all who assisted including Lions Club members, parent volunteers and school personnel for cooperating and working together to accomplish the screening in an efficient and timely fashion. A special thanks goes to Mike McKenzie, Lions Club president, for agreeing to take the first step in initiating and spearheading the project.

As the two part-time school nurses in the district, we were there to assist with setup and initial coordination of the project, as well as the final rescreen and referral segment, but would have been unable to devote our time to the many hours that the screening required. This has been a very worthwhile and needed community service project that has made a difference in the lives of many of our young children. Now we need parents to follow up on the referrals made and take their children in for a professional exam. If financial assistance is needed, we have resources available.

Again, thank you to all who assisted in this very important community service project!

Mary Peschke RN, BSN and Tina Roelse RN, BSN, Plymouth School District nurses

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