Operation KidSight is a statewide vision-screening program that identifies treatable or preventable causes of blindness in preschool children (ages 18 months – 6 years).
Early Screening is Critical
The first few years of a child’s life are critical in the development of normal vision. A child with vision problems often does not realize that the way they see the world is not the way everyone else sees it. Vision abnormalities in a child’s eyes may occur even when the eye appears to look normal. It is estimated that 3–4% of children may have vision loss from undetected amblyopia—what is commonly referred to as “lazy eye.” Amblyopia results when one or both eyes send a blurry image to the brain and the brain does not learn to see clearly. If this and other problems are not detected early, a child’s vision may deteriorate to the point of irreversible blindness. Research indicates that 70–80% of what a child learns is visually acquired and there is evidence to suggest that children with undetected vision disorders are more likely to fail in school.
Free vision screenings are offered at daycare centers in nearby communities. If parents or a childcare center are interested in scheduling a photoscreening, please contact your local Lions Club or Lion Sheila Christoff, State Program Coordinator for Operation KidSight.
What is PhotoScreening?
Operation KidSight uses the PlusOptix screening system. The volunteer takes a digital “camera” measurement of the child’s eyes from a comfortable distance of 3–4 feet. Pass/fail criteria for the screening system follow guidelines established by the American Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, as modified by Dr. Daniel Neely MD, a pediatric ophthalmologist at the Indiana University School of Medicine, Riley Hospital for Children, and the Midwest Eye Institute. Invisible, infrared light is projected through the pupils onto the retina. Depending on the refractive error or “prescription” of the eye, the reflected light forms a specific brightness pattern within the pupil, which the software analyzes to detect astigmatism, myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and anisometropia (imbalance between the two eyes). It also performs a gaze analysis to help detect strabismus (eye misalignment). Perhaps the most amazing thing is that all this information can be acquired and accessed in as little as five seconds.
What are the age limits or other qualifications for this screening?
The child must be old enough to fixate (look at a flashing light on the camera). This is typically possible after one year of age. The screening is aimed at children who are pre-verbal and who may not be able to describe to parents, teachers, or doctors clues to the fact that they do not have perfect vision. There are other tests, such as reading an eye chart, that are generally better for children over 5 years of age. Remember that the eyes are fully developed by age 6 and any screening and testing problems found after age 6 may be discovered too late to be corrected as a medical condition. The photoscreener does not detect neurological disorders. Therefore, we do not screen developmentally delayed or challenged children. Nor do we screen children who are under 5 and are wearing glasses, or are already under the care of an eye doctor and thus do not need vision screening.
What does the screening cost to the parents or to the day care center operator?
The screening is provided as a service project at no charge to the parents, child, or the day care operator. The funds are provided through services and projects of the Lions Clubs of Indiana, as well as generous contributions from both individual and corporate donors.
What happens if a child “fails” the screening?
All parents will receive notification of the results of their child’s screening. Those that “fail,” or are “referred,” are advised that the screening indicates that their child may have a vision disorder and the parent is strongly advised to make an appointment with an optometrist or ophthalmologist.
If you would like to participate in an Operation KidSight event we have materials available to help you market and organize. Check for the documents you need and simply print them out to help make your Operation KidSight event a success!
Supporting Operation KidSight
Individuals and corporations may contribute to this program directly. These contributions enable Operation KidSight to maintain equipment and cameras, purchase new equipment, meet transportation needs, and further Operation KidSight’s public education outreach.
Operation KidSight is a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization and donations may be tax deductible according to the United States Internal Revenue Service Regulations.
You may send financial contributions by mail or by contacting the Executive Director of Operation KidSight directly. If sending your contribution by mail, please send your gift to: