Kindergarten students at Ecole Our Lady of the Rosary School Georgia Mooney and Liam Fitzsimons point out where the letter E was during an eye exam administered by Sylvan Lake Lions Ray Kowalski and Julio Villegas. The Sylvan Lake Lions Club administers the test to all Kindergarten students in Sylvan Lake during the month of October. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News

Kindergarten students at Ecole Our Lady of the Rosary School Georgia Mooney and Liam Fitzsimons point out where the letter E was during an eye exam administered by Sylvan Lake Lions Ray Kowalski and Julio Villegas. The Sylvan Lake Lions Club administers the test to all Kindergarten students in Sylvan Lake during the month of October. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News

Sylvan Lake Lions Club invested in protecting children’s vision

Throughout October the Lions Club will be giving vision tests to Kindergarten students

In the month of October for the Lions Clubs International is all about eye and vision health. Here is Sylvan Lake, members of the Lions Club are visiting elementary schools to administer eye exams.

These eye exams are specifically looking for symptoms of amblyopia, or lazy eye.

According to Ray Kowalski, one of the Lions administering the test at Ecole Our Lady of the Rosary School Tuesday morning, said the earlier symptoms of lazy eye is found the better.

“Really you want it found by the age of five, because it is still treatable. That is why we do testing in Kindergarten,” Kowalski said.

Lazy eye is a condition where the eye and the brain don’t work together properly, according the kidshealth.org. Children who have this condition will have poor vision in one eye and generally good vision in the other.

There are various ways to correct the condition including; glasses, eye patches, eye drops or surgery.

“The older you get the more difficult it is to treat. In adults it is nearly impossible to treat lazy eye,” said Kowalski.

Julio Villegas, another Lion present to give the exams, explained the process is simple. Each child is show two cards, one is blank the other has a capital E on it. While wearing a special pair of sunglasses the children have to point out which hand the E is in.

If a child has difficulty determining which hand the letter is in it is a sign of amblyopia and the child will be referred to an eye doctor for further testing.

“It can be difficult because sometimes you’ll get the class clown who will just point without looking. Then we have to go a bit further,” Villegas said.

This condition affects roughly three in every 100 children. On Oct. 9, Kowalski and Villegas screened roughly 30 children, and one will be referred to an eye doctor for further testing.

Throughout the rest of the month members of the Lions Club will visit all schools in Sylvan Lake with a Kindergarten class for free screenings.

Results of the testing are later sent to the parents.

“It is so important to do this testing now. It can affect their future and even their careers,” Kowalski said, adding a career as a pilot would be out of the question.

Vision and eye health are one of the Lions Club International’s primary focuses. Along with diabetes, hearing and speech pathology.

The Sylvan Lake Lions Club has been administering this screening to Kindergarten students for at least the last 10 years. Along with the vision testing, the club also collects eyeglasses that are no longer being used to donate to people in need, through Recycle for Sight.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said the Canadian government should consider sanctions on the U.S. if they refuse to reconsider the decision to cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Keystone XL officially cancelled, Kenney vows to fight on

U.S. President Joe Biden cancelled the presidential permit for the pipeline on first day of office

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said province’s test positivity rate for COVID-19 is steadily declining. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
669 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta, 21 additional deaths

COVID-19 test positivity rate down to 4.5 per cent

Kyla Gibson with her boyfriend Gavin Hardy. (Photo used with permission)
Sylvan Lake couple lose ‘fur babies’ to house fire

‘They were our world and nothing will ever replace them,’ Kyla Gibson said of her three pets

File Photo
Sylvan Lake challenging locals to Lap the Lake

Locals are challenged to walk 37 km in 30 days to “lap the lake” for charity

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported an additional 456 COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Five new COVID-19 deaths in Central zone, two in Red Deer

Province reports 456 new cases of COVID-19

(Thesendboys/Instagram)
Video of man doing backflip off Vancouver bridge draws police condemnation

Group says in Instagram story that they ‘don’t do it for the clout’

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Canadian malls, conference centres, hotels offer up space for COVID vaccination centres

Commercial real estate association REALPAC said that a similar initiative was seeing success in the U.K.

Kamala Harris and Joe Biden are sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)
Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States

About 25,000 National Guard members have been dispatched to Washington

A memorial for the fatal bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team at the intersection of Highways 35 and 335 near Tisdale, Tuesday, October 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
‘End of the road:’ Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos crash awaits deportation decision

Sidhu was sentenced almost two years ago to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving

In this March 28, 2017, file photo, a dump truck hauls coal at Contura Energy’s Eagle Butte Mine near Gillette, Wyo. Public opposition to the Alberta government’s plans to expand coal mining in the Rocky Mountains appears to be growing. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Mead Gruver, File
Alberta cancels coal leases, pauses future sales, as opposition increases

New Democrat environment critic Marlin Schmidt welcomed the suspension

File photo
Wetaskiwin Crime Reduction Unit recovers valuable stolen property

Property valued at over $50,000 recovered by Wetaskiwin Crime Reduction Unit.

In this March 28, 2017, file photo, a dump truck hauls coal at Contura Energy’s Eagle Butte Mine near Gillette, Wyo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Mead Gruver, File)
First Nations seek to intervene in court challenge of coal policy removal

Bearspaw, Ermineskin and Whitefish First Nations are among those looking to intervene

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau vows to keep up the fight to sway U.S. on merits of Keystone XL pipeline

Canada’s pitch to the Biden team has framed Keystone XL as a more environmentally friendly project than original

Most Read