The Lions Zone 59-Belize National Children Eye Screening Program provided free eye screening tests at the Holy Cross Anglican School. The program took place from Tuesday, November 24th through Friday, November 27th, and conducted eye testing for children ages 3-14. The school had a total of 417 students registered to have their eyes tested and vision needs addressed. The San Pedro Lions Club is one of the four clubs in Belize and has been assigned the area of Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker and the entire Corozal District to conduct the eye screening program. In total, there are over 15,000 registered children in those areas that need the screening. The program will continue with other schools on the island, including high schools, up to December 11th, and will resume in January when schools reopen.

According to Chairman of the San Pedro Lions Eye Screening Program, Jan Brown, the program is happening nationwide. Currently there are only two eye screening machines that were acquired by the Belize Lions Zone 59 which will be shared by all the Lions clubs in the country to carry on their programs. Brown explained the efficiency of the machine. “The machine is set up to do eye screen tests for children ages 3-14, anyone beyond that age, it is recommended they go to an eye clinic to get a full examination. Our machine operates with infrared lights, there is no touching of the child, no eye drops and the camera/machine is set approximately 3 feet and 3 inches away. The child looks into the camera and the machine takes around 10 to 20 seconds to make an eye measurement of the pupils and after the testing is done it will quickly give the result which can either be a pass, meaning the eyes do not have any abnormality, or reading not available (if the child is moving and machine cannot focus) or refer. The refer indication means that there is a possibility that there is a problem with the child’s sight. The machine also measures stigmatism and detects lazy eyes,” explained Brown. Holy Cross San Pedro Lions Eye Screening-4When the results are in, which take a little over 20 seconds; the data is recorded and taped behind a letter appointment for referral. The doctor’s appointment is made by the Lions Club and if the family cannot afford the glasses the Lions Club of Belize has funds with which the glasses can be paid for.

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