by Lion Karen Burns

Do you know what the strongest muscle is in your body? I would guess the heart or the leg muscles, right? Well the answer is very convoluted as there are several muscle groups in our body. The extraocular muscles of the eye may be small, but their ability to carry out repeated motions is worth noting. I’ve heard it said these muscles are “100 times stronger than they need to be.” They are also referred to as the “busiest” muscles. For example, while reading a book, these eye muscles make over 10,000 coordinated movements. Eye muscles also constantly adjust the position of the eye and can fix the eye vision to a steady point. When we are asleep, the eye muscles exercise themselves by carrying out rapid eye movement to be ready for a stressful and straining day ahead.

I’m sure you are tired of this answer. For Lions it is our passion to ensure your eyes are kept healthy. Our mission is “Sight First.” We have come together at the Alaska State Fair to vision screen all fairgoers. This is done to separate those with and without possible vision problems. Vision screening results may indicate a potential need for further assessment. A vision screening is not a substitute for a complete eye and vision evaluation by an eye doctor. It is just a tool for us to help you determine if further treatment is necessary.

Local Lions were at the fair since it opened on August 22 and stayed until September 2, providing this free service. We screened anywhere from 180 children and adults on a busy day to 60 on a slow day. Lions and Leos have logged over 600 hours at the fair this year providing this much needed service to those who are not fortunate to have annual screening to diagnose a problem.

Lions in our area have raised money to purchase several of the state-of-the-art PlusOptix technology to provide this service to our community. The equipment tests for six diseases:

  • Anisometropia — compares refraction of both eyes
  • Astigmatism — checks corneal irregularities
  • Hyperopia — checks for farsightedness
  • Myopia — checks for nearsightedness
  • Corneal — reflex checks for symmetric eye alignment
  • Anisocoria — compares pupil sizes of both eyes

There are 1.4 million blind children in the world, but the sight of many of these children could have been saved through early detection and timely treatment.Amblyopia, known as “lazy eye,” is a leading cause of blindness in children. Lions conduct screenings for children in order to prevent childhood blindness — screening for the most common vision disorders that can lead to amblyopia. Lions around the world have screened more than one million children for this vision problem.

We travel to fairs, local schools and health fairs to provide this free service. If you would like to set up a vision screening, please let us know as we are here to serve you. Please contact either myself at 242-1129 or visit or One these three avenues should be able to help you.