The Cobb County School system requires an annual hearing and vision screening for each 1st, 4th, 7th, and 10th grade student. The standard hearing tests are time consuming, requiring a quiet room, earphones and the student to respond to a series of tones in each ear. The standard vision test is simpler: the student stands on a line 10 feet from a wall chart, covers one eye and reads a single line of letters. This measurement determines if the child has Myopia (near-sightedness). In other words , can they see the board at the front of the room? No other conditions are checked.
Into that void, stepped the East Cobb, Smyrna-Jonquil, Marietta, Atlanta Latino, Paulding County-West Cobb and South Cobb Lions Clubs. Using our SPOT vision screening machines, Lion Ed Ressler reports that in 32 elementary, middle, and high schools we visited, we screened 10385 students, 2079 of which did NOT pass our comprehensive screening. We found students with Hyperopia (far-sightedness) who could not read a book up close. We also found students with Anisometropia, Astigmatism, Anisocora, and Gaze Asymmetry. The South Cobb club used its machine for an additional 8 schools and an unknown number of students. Between the six clubs we reached just shy of 40% of the schools in Cobb County and in the range 13 to 14,000 students.
The schools were responsible for contacting parents and following up to be sure the students received the attention they needed. Some remedies were simple: remind the student to wear their glasses, get broken frames repaired, get an updated eye exam and new glasses as needed. Each school was told that if a student wasn’t able to get help through the school system or other sources developed by the school, that the Lions would step in and help. The East Cobb Club provided over 175 exams and glasses. Smyrna-Jonquil and Paulding-West Cobb helped as well. The South Cobb club works in the Mableton-Austell area as does the Marietta club in the city of Marietta.
International President, Lion Joe Wrobleski (1985-86) had as his theme, “BETTER TOGETHER”. He was alluding to the partnership between Lions and Lioness clubs, but his thought holds promise for what we Lions can accomplish TODAY, TOGETHER. Lions Clubs working in partnership with each other can reach more people and do what Lions do best, SERVE.