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Project Eyecare gets free comprehensive eye exam, glasses to children in need

August is National Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month.
Published: Aug. 28, 2020 at 4:33 PM CDT
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BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - August is National Children’s Eye Health and Safety month. It serves as a reminder to parents about how important eye health is for their children especially as they head back to school.

Parents work through a checklist to make sure their children are ready for a new school year. Local health experts hope it includes a trip to the eye doctor.

“Nearly 80% of a child’s learning comes through their eyes. So, it’s very important,” said Kirk Lauterback, Shopko Optical Chief Operations Officer. “Not only is it potentially getting better grades in school. It’s enjoying activities and hobbies more, being safer when they’re playing sports.”

The Lions Club also prioritizes vision screening and eye care by staying dedicated to making sure everyone can see the world clearly.

“Where there’s a need, there’s a Lion,” said Barb LeMense, Ashwaubenon Lion’s Club member. “That’s pretty much you come to us and say, ‘We’re really needing help,’ and we’ll do whatever we can to help make their life better.”

The two organizations join forces in a program known as Project Eyecare.

“It gives us a chance to give a pair of glasses and an exam to those in need,” said Lauterback. “We work with local Lions Club chapters to determine who receives those vouchers.”

“The pupil services, guidance counselors, social workers, nurses know that if they have families that come to them, they can reach out to the Lions Club,” said LeMense.

Project Eyecare targets children between the ages of 5 and 17 with eye conditions that might otherwise go undetected or untreated.

Lauterback says the program could benefit up to 900 people this year in an age of virtual learning when he says eye health in children is more important than ever.

“We have had some day cares, people come to us and say, ‘This child, we had no clue that they had a vision problem, and you just saved them.’ And when they took them to they eye doctor and found they had more severe issues, by being caught early, they were able to correct it,” said LeMense. “That’s just like a gift that goes on for the rest of their life.”

People should reach out to their school counselors or social workers for more information about Project Eyecare and to be connected to a local Lions Club chapter.

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