MD 49A Vision Screening


Sleeping Lady Lions at Aurora Elementary School.

In 1996, the Alaska Lions joined Dr. Robert Arnold and M. Diane Armitage in their “Mountain of a Project” to eliminate amblyopia (lazy eye) from Alaska. Lions continue today doing vision screening in the schools, at health fairs, at crab festivals, at the State Fair and anywhere else we can find a spare room to set up our equipment to further their dream. We have been put under stairwells, in furnace rooms, in closets and even in tepees set up in the middle of a post office.


Kodiak Lions vision screening.

Our equipment has changed a lot over the years. We have used the MTI photoscreener, the Gateway digital camera, and now we are using a PlusOptix screener, a binocular, infrared autorefractor made in Germany. With improved equipment, we have been able to bring Dr. Arnold’s goal even closer to reality. In the beginning, we had to send our Polaroid-type photos from the MTI to a doctor to read before we would have the results to give to the parents. This could take weeks before the results were received. Our equipment today gives the results as soon as the infrared beam locks onto the pupil, 2 to 5 seconds. With this improvement, we are able to respond to the needs of the child now instead of later.

MendenhallFlying Lion at the the Rotary Safety Expo vision screening.

Mendenhall Flying Lion at the the Rotary Safety Expo vision screening.

Our teams across the state are in the middle of screening at our local elementary schools. We primarily screen the pre-schoolers through third grade students but have been doing entire schools as of late. Our school nurses are able to use our screening results as part of their mandated testings in the Anchorage School District. With our equipment, we are able to screen our children from the age of 6 months. If we can catch a vision problem early, there is a good possibility we can help the child in school. Each child deserves the chance to learn and change their lives for the better. A child that has undetected vision problems deserves our help to become a happy and responsible adult.

Spenard Lion John directing traffic a busy vision screening.

Spenard Lion John directing traffic at busy vision screening.

Thank you to the Multiple District 49 Lions clubs for giving their time and support of our vision project. Thank you to all of the individual club members of the following 49A clubs for making this year another banner year for vision screening:

Anchorage Lions
Benton Bay Lions
Capt. Cook Lions
Knights of the Blind Lions
Mabuhay Lions
Mt McKinley Lions
Big Lake Lions
Copper River Basin Lions
Kenai Lions
Muldoon Lions
Polynesian Lions
Ballyhoo Lions
Chugiak Lions
Eagle River Sleeping Lady Mtn Lions
Girdwood Lions
Juneau Lions
Juneau Mendenhall Flying Lions
Kachemak Bay Lions
Ketchikan and Prince of Wales Lions
Kodiak Lions
Mountain View Lions
Palmer Lions
Seward Resurrection Lions
Soldotna Lions
Spenard Lions
Wasilla Lions
Willow Lions
Wrangell Lions

If I have missed any club, please forgive me. Sometimes we get so busy, we forget to recognize the people that do the most.

Past District Governor Esther West, 49A Sight/Vision Chair
“Together We Will”

Vision screening team from Spenard, Muldoon, Benton Bay and Eagle River Sleeping Ladies Lions.

Vision screening team from Spenard, Muldoon, Benton Bay and Eagle River Sleeping Ladies Lions.

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