December 7, 2015
DEC 7 LIONS Photo A Lion Judy Howerton trains lions for KidsightOver the coming weeks and months, the Cedar Key Lions Club will be providing free early childhood vision screening at day care centers, kindergartens and preschools in Levy County to identify children up to 6 years old with undetected vision loss due to Amblyopia (Lazy Eye) and refractive errors.

Ambylopia is easy to treat, but early detection before the age of 6 is vital, as correction must take place before the age of 6 while a child's visual system is still developing.

KidSight screening is so important, because it goes beyond the regular vision screening provided in schools. With specialized KidSight equipment that the Cedar Key Lions Club purchased, screeners can detect children's vision problems early, giving the child an opportunity for having a good start of going through school and life with their vision corrected.

The Lions KidSight program was initiated in Levy County during the 2012-2013 school Year. The Cedar Key Lions Club offers free screenings at area preschools, elementary schools, and daycare centers, working in collaboration with the Florida KidSight Foundation led by Dr. Nausheen Kuddhus, a pediatric Ophthalmologist in Gainesville.DEC 7 LIONS Photo B LDEions Preschool Vision Screening

In the last round of screening, the Cedar Key Lions Club KidSight-trained lions arranged for screening sessions at 18 locations around the county, screening 507 children, using a special handheld camera that takes a digital photographs of the eye that is used to identify potential vision problems.

In those screenings, 37 children were identified with early childhood vision problems such as Ambylopia. Their parents were sent referrals recommending that an eye specialist examine their child.

Cedar Key Lions KidSight Chairwoman Judy Howerton says, "The free vision screening is conducted at all childcare centers in Levy County.We do it wherever the kids are, be it at daycare centers, kindergartens, preschools and public schools.Our goal is to screen every child aged 1-6 in Levy County. This is our first week out in the field, and we have already set up screenings around the county for over 400 children.”

“The screening itself is quick and easy. It’s as simple as taking a picture of the eyes. It takes five minutes and the life-long effect that it can have on a child's vision and quality  of life is well worth our volunteer time.” remarked Howerton.

Cedar Key Lions have already contacted preschools, daycare centers, public schools and kindergartens to setup screenings beginning in December. To request a screening for your facility or for more information, please contact Judy Howerton at 352 278-0279.

To view a YouTube video on how Lions KidSight screening helped save the life of a child, please go to

Photo A: Lion Judy Howerton trains other Cedar Key Lions in the use of the KidSight early childhood vision screening camera and software.

Photo B: Lion Ken Young and Lion President Eileen Bowers conduct screening.