At WLF, our mission of “Reaching, Touching and Improving Lives” is met through our work in five statewide projects, which include our Vision Screening Project. Our Vision Screening Project aims to screen all children ages six months through 18 years for vision problems, with an emphasis on children enrolled in daycare centers and preschools.

Vision screening for young children is critical, because early detection and treatment ensures every child the best possible chance to succeed in learning. By ensuring all Wisconsin children have an equal opportunity for scholastic achievement, WLF seeks to improve individual lives and Wisconsin communities. Read on to learn more about the importance of vision screenings and how WLF makes them a priority.

Why is vision screening for young children so important?

Nearly 85% of a child’s learning is sight-related, and a child may not know they have a problem because the brain compensates for poor vision. This compensation also means parents and teachers may not notice a child’s vison-related struggles. Furthermore, children with vision disorders rarely realize the way they experience their surroundings differs from the way children with good vision experience theirs. As a result, a child’s poor vision can cause them to miss out on formative learning experiences and even alienate them from their peers. This is a situation which can be easily detected and remedied with vision screening.

A variety of medical conditions can also be diagnosed and treated following a vision screening. Research indicates: up to one in 20 preschool-aged children may have a vision problem, which can lead to permanent vision loss if not detected and treated early—preferably before age five. For example, a condition like Amblyopia (lazy eye), if left untreated, can lead to permanent vision loss. Vision screenings allow such conditions to be detected before they can cause long-term damage.

How WLF Helps

Each of the ten Lions Districts in Wisconsin have a Vision Chair. The Vision Chair is the main contact for the schools in their District. Sometimes schools reach out to the Chair and sometimes, it’s the other way around.

Lions throughout Wisconsin do most of the vision screenings and become certified vision screeners by taking web-based courses through KidSight USA, Prevent Blindness Wisconsin or an onsite training class. Once Lions complete the training and receive their certification, they are able to screen children in their communities. Devices used to screen are the Plus-Optix, SPOT and the acuity eye chart. After vision problems or other eye conditions are identified during a screening, affected children will then be referred to an optometrist for further assessment and treatment.

Between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021, WLF screened 44,501 children and referred 4,873 children for a follow-up with an optometrist. Additionally, from January to March 2022, we screened 9,772 children and referred 1,051 children. We are proud of the success of our Vision Screening Project, and look forward to continuing to serve and improve the lives of Wisconsin’s children.

For more information about our Vision Screening Project, visit

How You Can Get Involved

If you know of a child or school in need of regular vision screening, reach out to one of our Vision Chairs. We would love to assist in getting more children and schools added to our screening list.

To inquire about getting in contact with a Vision Chair, reach out to us at