We know that the journey to learning begins with clear vision. Studies reveal that approximately 80% of a child’s learning is intertwined with their ability to see. It’s a fascinating fact, yet one that underscores the pivotal role vision plays in shaping a child’s education. The challenge lies in the fact that children often don’t recognize their visual struggles, and neither do parents or teachers. This is why each year, the Wisconsin Lions assists students entering a new school year by conducting free vision screenings.

The Vision Screening project aims to detect early vision problems by screening all children ages six months to 18 years, with a focus on those in daycare centers and preschools, to ensure every child has an equal shot at success. Detecting and addressing vision issues early is our key to fostering a level playing field for scholastic achievement and life fulfillment.

Each of the ten Lions Districts in Wisconsin has a Vision Chair. The Vision Chair is the main contact for the schools in their district and facilitates screenings, and Lion volunteers perform the screenings.

Empowering Communities: Our Impact in Numbers

The past year has been a testament to the dedication of our Lions and Vision Chairs. In 2022, our diligent efforts led to the screening of 89,391 children. Of these, 12,161 children received vital referrals for optometric assessments. This is a 50% increase in screenings and a nearly 60% increase in referrals from the year prior. These numbers are evidence of the commitment we have to our Wisconsin communities and the power of our volunteers.

So, how can you get involved?

Vision Screening Checklist

The vision screening process has changed slightly from previous years, so we created a checklist of all the steps you need to support a local vision screening. First and foremost, connect with your District Vision Chair to receive direction for getting involved.

Before the Screening

  1. Attend a Lions KidSight USA training session or attend a vision screening training session put on by your District.
  2. Contact a Child Care Center or School District in need of screening services and establish a date and time for the screening.
  3.  Send the child care center the pre-screening paperwork.
  4. Ensure you have the correct vision screening tools — Plus-Optix, Spot, or the acuity eye chart — and that all equipment is fully charged and operational the day before the screening.
    • Even if you intend on using an Instrument-Based tool, we recommend bringing charts as a backup method in cases of technical difficulty or poor environmental conditions (low lighting, dark pupils, etc.).
  5. Ensure you have the following materials packed and ready to bring:
    • Extra batteries and/or charging cords
    • Alcohol Wipes, Occluder Glasses, Paddles
    • Tape Measure, Masking Tape, Laser Pointer, and Coloring Sheet (optional)
    • Pens, Paperwork
    • WLF brochures, stickers, bookmarks (Ask Wisconsin Lions Foundation if you need some)

During the Screening

  1. Obtain a registration form from the administration.
  2. Select the appropriate age setting on your screening device.
  3. Refer to the tool-specific Instructional Guide for the steps in importing and exporting procedures.
  4. Record the results on the Registration Form. It is helpful to have someone other than the screener fill this out throughout the screening.
  5. Verify glasses are worn if this information has been checked “Yes” on the Registration Form.

*Reminder: a screening is a screening, not a diagnosis! Refrain from sharing any information containing language or values associated with a medical office.

After the Screening

  1. If Instrument-Based tools were used:
    • Delete any and all entered personal information.
    • Remove the batteries and replace all items in their proper storage bag.
  2. As soon as possible, complete the Vision Screening Report Form with the information gathered on the Registration Form.
  3. Provide the Vision Screening Results to a nurse or administration so results can be sent home to parents.
  4. Submit the Vision Screening Report Form to the District Vision Screening chair, or other appointed person.

District Vision Chairs are responsible for submitting all Vision Screening Report Forms to Keith Mueller, Project Director, at kmueller@wlf.info or at the Wisconsin Lions Foundation office.

Your Role in Back-To-School Preparedness

Your involvement is key to amplifying our impact with children of all school ages. If you’re aware of a child or school in need of regular vision screening, and you’re ready to take on the above tasks, we encourage you to connect with our Vision Chairs. Together, we can ensure that no child is left behind due to undetected vision issues. Let’s continue building a stronger, more vibrant Wisconsin, one child at a time.
To stay updated and learn more about our Vision Screening Project, visit our project page at https://wlf.info/our-work/vision-screening.