Loving parents always want the best life possible for their children. We want our children growing into healthy adults. So, we get all the necessary checkups, medical examinations. Right? Hmmmnnn…
Well, here’s a dose of reality: 1 in 5 Canadian children have a vision disorder. Therefore, either all those kids are wearing contact lenses, or as studies from the Canadian Council of the Blind indicate, since many eye conditions have no obvious symptoms, parents cannot tell whether their child has difficulty seeing or not. Parents simply do not know! So, what’s love got to do with it? Nothing. Your child doesn’t tell you that she’s having difficulty seeing. To her, that’s perfectly normal vision. Moreover, while parents are busy loving and tending to all their children’s needs, vision impairments go unnoticed, worsening over time.
Now for a dose of positive news: the Canadian Council of the Blind, which, partnering up with the Cornwall Seaway Lions Club and local optometrists, go through the local public school system bringing eye-examinations to students at no cost to parents! So, me being a visual person wanting to see up close how the process works, I spent some time for 2 days at a couple different elementary schools, observing, working with as a fellow Lion, and interviewing an amazing team of professionals who work tirelessly to discover vision problems within the student body: From Left to Right– Monica Reategui (Mobile Eye Care Mgr.), Dr. Christine Aubin Liu (Optometrist), and Megan Graham (Assist. Program Mgr.)
Listening to each of them educate me on eye vision, and on what they do, I was immensely impressed with them and how it all comes together with the support from the Lions Club.
The next day, I went into the next school with an open mind, as myself and the other Lions began setting up and processing students. I was open to the distinct possibility proven by statistics that there would be children present with real, serious vision problems. I did not expect, however, to discover that 2 out of the 3 of my own children would be among the list of those with vision problems! My very own daughter–only 6 years old, bless her heart!–could have seen, no pun intended, all hope of a full recovery lost had she gone another year with her vision impairment unnoticed. As doctor Christine Aubin-Liu explained to me, when they’re young, their eyes are growing and developing. We want those eyes developing correctly. This is the time to make the necessary changes that can alter the course of the eyes that are not developing as they should be. Normally. Clearly. Now I can see the positive change this wonderful team is affecting on society. It hit home really hard. But I’m not the only one!
As the good doctor said, the best time to discover these problems is at an early age. The earlier in life the better. “Many parents are unaware that OHIP covers eye examinations” she said, which partly is why this outstanding organization takes the initiative to bring such opportunity directly to the children, into their schools, because as statistics indicate, in every school they go through, there will always be many children who need eye care.
Thank goodness for their exemplary service and dedication. What a great nation we live in. These individuals could work anywhere with their skillset, patience, and demeanor, but they choose to function in an area that helps the lives of children in a real way: To be important, doing something that affects positive change. For this I am very thankful, as I’m certain to not be alone in this gratitude. Full reports are sent home to parents. Where follow-up is needed, the team collaborates with local optometrists to ensure continuity of care.
The Canadian Council of the Blind relies on the donations from Lions Clubs. Donations such as for the van recently purchased for their transportation needs. Ideally, this amazing mobile eye care team needs two more vans, which the Lions are helping towards achieving. That’s what the Lions Club does: Helps those in need, and helps those helping the community. The Cornwall Seaway Lions Club Lions pictured here volunteered their time helping with the eyesight testing.