The Roundup -

The Sidney Lions Club's PlusOptix will be Used for Vision Screenings in Richland Co. Schools


Sidney Lions member Raymond Carlson, right, explains the new PlusOptix machine to fellow Lion Russ Markwald.

During their meeting on Monday, Sept. 22nd the Sidney Lions Club unveiled their PlusOptix mobile vision screener, which is the latest and greatest technology in Lions International development.

PlusOptix is made to detect a number of vision problems, and takes a lot of subjectivity out of traditional vision screening done in schools. The test simply requires a specialized camera to be focused on the pupils, and gives a pass or refer reading.

The initial interest in the machine came when Sidney Lions member and Zone Chair Raymond Carlson visited his home town of Havre, MT and attended a Havre Lions Club meeting. The club had been using a PlusOptix machine and Carlson thought it would be a valuable way to help the community. The Sidney Lions borrowed an older model from Bozeman, MT, and in cooperation with the Richland County Health Department, provided vision screenings at Fairview and Lambert schools.

"We estimated that, in just the time it took us to perform the screenings, we were able to screen about 100 kids in an hour," said Carlson of the Fairview vision screening.

The Sidney Lions Club received a $5,000 grant from the Foundation for Community Care, and the club funded the rest of the money needed for the $6,500 machine.

Together with the Richland County Health Department, they will be bringing PlusOptix to all Richland County Schools this fall. The pass or refer reading will be given to the Health Department, who will be in contact with parents and guardians about making eye appointments for their children.

"Our goal is to help children; often times vision problems go undetected until kids are struggling in school," Carlson said of the organization which was challenged in 1925 by Helen Keller to be 'Knights of the Blind.'

However, PlusOptix will be serving more than just the children of the community. In 2015, the Sidney Lions Club attended the Eastern Montana Veterans' Stand Down, and performed screenings for Veterans and their families and the organization plans on taking advantage of other opportunities to utilize PlusOptix for the benefit of area residents.

The Sidney Lions Club meets the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month at the Elks Club, 123 3rd St. SW, at noon. Anyone interested in becoming a member can stop in to one of their meetings, or contact Carlson at 406-489-0944.


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