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Ball proceeds will go to purchase screening device

By Staff | Nov 5, 2014

“Eye Ball” proceeds will purchase the WelchAllyn Spot Vision Screener. PHOTO PROVIDED

It’s likely that a youngster someday will be grateful islanders like to party.

Proceeds from the first-ever “Eye Ball” dinner/dance will be used to purchase a device to quickly detect a child’s vision troubles. The Eye Ball is hosted by the Sanibel-Captiva Lions Club, to be held Nov. 7 at the Sanibel Community House. Nearly 200 islanders are expected to attend the function.

The event has already sold out, and the proceeds from tickets, auctions and donations will be used to purchase a Spot Vision Screener, a touchscreen device that detects vision issues in children as young as six months, said Kurt Peters, the San-Cap Lions Club member leading the effort. The Lions Club has in past years borrowed a visionscreener from the Naples Lions, Peters said, to check Sanibel children in preschool. It was costly to rent and cumbersome chasing after the Collier County device, Peters said.

The Spot Vision screener, which is about the size of a modern digital camera, is also less invasive, Peters said: The user holds the device a couple of feet from the child’s eyes and pushes a button, instantly offering a readout of potential eye disorders. There’s no poofing of air or discomfort, issues sometimes throwing off results and frightening kids, Peters said. The device runs about $7,000. The screener isn’t necessarily a medical professional, either, Peters said; the device does the work, with the results forwarded to doctors.

“Once we have it,” said Peters, who is a retired physician, “we can test as much as we want.”

The San-Cap Lions have long screened kids and adults for possible medical issues, including blood, body mass, hearing and vision tests. Thousands of kids have been screened, he said, with the most common issue detected being far-sightedness, an affliction remedied by a pair of glasses. The group also screens adults twice annually at the Sanibel library and the city’s recreation center. Peters said the island Lions may use the eyescreener at clinics in Fort Myers.

The new device is so easy, Peters said, “that the kids think they’re getting their picture taken. It’s a great screening tool.”

Details about the Eye Ball and the San-Cap Lions are at sanibelcaptivalions.org.