Tennessee Lions Eye Center Outreach
The Lions of Tennessee, Multiple District 12 have teamed up with the Department of Ophthalmology at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, committed to a goal of providing quality eye care for children statewide.
Lions Clubs across the state committed to raising over $4 million for an effort named “Operation KidSight”. This project created the Tennessee Lions Eye Center (TLEC) at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, a pediatric ophthalmology center. The staff consists of pediatric ophthalmologists and others specially trained to provide quality eye care to infants and children.
From the beginning, an important part of this unique partnership has been the Tennessee Lions Eye Center Outreach Program, the “clinic without walls”, a program of free screening of young children in their own neighborhoods, with evaluation and follow-up by professionals at TLEC.
Leading the program are the medical director at TLEC who is responsible for the scientific integrity, and the outreach director who manages implementation of the program. Trained Lions Club volunteers screen children from 12 months up to 72 months of age in their own neighborhoods at nursery schools, day care centers, kindergartens, Head Start and similar programs. The purpose of the screening is to detect eye disorders that can lead to serious eye problems and/or blindness, at an early age when treatment is most effective. The process is very non-invasive which makes it ideal for use with young children.
Lions use an instrument that detect a range of vision disorders, including amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (misaligned eyes), anisometropia (unequal refractive power), media opacities (cataracts, etc.), myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism (curved lens, light not sharp on the retina). The instrument’s readings are attached to parent consent forms and sent to Vanderbilt for evaluation by physicians, after which results are transmitted to the parents. Those screened who have potential eye problems are referred to ophthalmologists or optometrists in their area for a more detailed examination, and TLEC staff follows-up with parents to help ensure those children get care.
The free TLEC Outreach Program has received international recognition, and has been well-received by Tennessee communities from its beginning in June 1997. This service project resulted in over 642,984 children being screened by Tennessee Lions through 2020, with 5.6% of those children being referred for further evaluation.
By helping ensure that all children in Tennessee have good vision to help them meet their dreams, the Tennessee Lions are fulfilling our mission!
Statewide screening results for Calendar Year 2020 for Tennessee clubs were 8,771 children screened (versus 30,375 in 2019). Clubs in District 12-N screened 3,229 in 2020 or 37% of the total screenings state-wide. Numbers were down significantly due to COVID-19 and our inability to perform as many state-wide vision screenings as we would like.
|Screenings by Month 2020|
KidSight Outreach Vision Screening Statistics