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A Child’s Story with a Happy Ending

Posted by: Joan  Lowbridge-Sisley MPH

When Ms. Perez learned her five year old son had a vision problem she was shocked. He has been enrolled for three years in an early childhood center where she works as a preschool teacher. No one in the center suspected that the outgoing, charismatic Jos. couldn't see properly until the Lions District 33Y screened him with the innovative SPOT device this past spring.


The Lions District 33Y are partnering with the early vision screening pilot EyeSEE (early, Screening, Education, Exams) convened by Partners for a Healthier Community's Live Well Springfield~KIDS initiative to assure all children have the opportunity to develop and retain their best possible vision to support healthy development and academic growth. The National Lions Club has now mandated that twenty five million preschool children ages 3-5 years of age be screened for vision across the United States by 2016. What a blessing for EyeSEE to have the SPOTVISION team of Lions enthusiastically on board to perform the vision screenings for the five pilot sites participating in the EyeSEE pilot: Children's House, New North Citizen's Council Childcare Center, Springfield Partners for Community Action New Beginnings Child Care Center, Square One King St, and YMCA Learning Center.

Once Ms. Perez realized Jos. had a vision problem due to screening results (his left eye failed) she immediately scheduled another vision screening with his pediatrician. The pediatric office unsuccessfully attempted a vision screening at age 4 but this time the vision screening was completed and his left eye failed again. Her son was referred to the only pediatric ophthalmologist in all of Western Massachusetts for a comprehensive eye exam, and his exam revealed that he had 2 lazy eyes (amblyopia) and considerable focusing problems. No wonder he sat so close to the TV set!

His mom reports that Jos. loves his glasses purchased from Sixteen Acres Optical under MassHealth insurance. He tried on every pair in the optical shop and cried for an hour when he couldn't take his new glasses home the same day. A pair of sun glasses was purchased to humor Jos. But he made it clear he understood they were NOT his real glasses!

Jos. received his new glasses in 4 weeks and wears them all the time. The first thing he did at preschool was to show his new glasses to all the teachers and staff. He carries a hard case with him at all times to protect his glasses if needed, and has a soft case beside his bed to store his glasses while he sleeps.

His mom has noticed his behavior has changed and his teachers report his is more attentive in school. He now sits on the couch to watch TV.

This experience has made Ms. Perez very grateful for the EyeSEE program vision screening that informed her (and her pediatrician) that her son had a real vision problem and, most importantly, that she was able to connect to the resources to correct her son's vision.