The New Mexico Lions Crane Reading Program and New Mexico Lions Operation KidSight are working to address reading and vision problems by providing eye screenings and referrals for exams and glasses at no cost to children in need. The program is supported through Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico’s Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® grant initiative.
BRENDA DUNN: The partnership between the Carine Reading Foundation Program and New Mexico Lions Club Operation Kid’s Sight is an important relationship. The children that are found to have vision issues may also have reading issues or vice versa. They might find that a child has reading disorders that need assistance with glasses to help them to read better. The New Mexico Lions Kidsight program will take care of an eye exam and glasses for the students if they don’t have Medicaid or private insurance.
BRYSON MCCOOL: The primary mission of New Mexico Lions Kidsight is to provide vision screenings for 3 to 7 year old students across New Mexico. You may ask why we are looking at 3 to 7 year olds. During that time your eyes are developing and by the age 8 your eyes are totally developed. If a child has a problem has in one eye, the brain literally shuts that eye down, quits using it and just uses the other eye. That’s called amblyopia or lazy eye. That can cause total blindness in that eye. Teachers provide us a list of the children’s names and their birthdates and then they bring a class in a time. We go and call a name and the child comes up and we screen. It’s very fast, very quick. If there a referral we then print out a measurement report and that is what we provide to the school nurse and that she will know this child is referred and needs an eye exam and glasses.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico has helped us with helping to pay for children that we refer that are not covered by Medicaid or insurance which has really helped, because that was a short fall that we have. Now there is no reason for a parent, because between Save Our Children’s Sight fund and the grant that we get from you, there is no reason why any child in New Mexico should not receive an eye exam.
It is a fact that many of our children have vision problems. Problems that can be easily corrected with the proper pair of glasses. That is what we strive to do is to try to identify the students that are having problems. We do an eye screening and provide those that need an eye exam and make arrangements for them to have an eye exam if their parents cannot afford it. We think it is extremely important that we identify as many youngsters in grades 1 through 4.
BRENDA DUNN: Children are falling through the cracks with somehow no Medicaid or private insurance and the parents have no idea what to do next and with the relationships that we built throughout the state, the school nurses, social workers, counselors and anyone that is in the business of taking care of children have the ability to know that we are there to help and it has been a tremendous impact and we are honored to be a grantee.
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