Saving Kidsight

October 10, 2022

By Robin Gregg

The Paris Lions Club participates in Saving Kidsight program which helps those children who are in need of glasses but can't afford what they need.

Charlie Rosenkrans, Lions Club, said, "The Paris Lions Club participates in a program where there are locations at Paris Prengers and on Main Street near the Pharmacy for individuals to donate old prescription eyeglasses or glasses that are no longer being used. These are retired federal mailboxes and are painted yellow. Once they are full which takes several months to fill up. Tim Schoonover takes them somewhere in Columbia.

These glasses are then put into a machine which diagnoses the corrective action that is needed for a particular child's needs. Once the lens is made for what the child's needs are, they can reuse the frames or use the lens in a different frame. They can tell rather the lens have a stigmatism prescription in them or any other eye issues, such as glaucoma.

Kidsight Executive Director, Katherine Patterson-Paronto, shared information with me to bring alertness to the program. "KidSight provides vision screenings at partner sites (like day cares and schools) with a focus on children ages 6 months to 6 years. We partner with Lions Clubs to provide this service; many clubs donate to us and/or volunteer as vision screeners with us. Last year (July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022) KidSight vision screening teams screened over 45,000 children statewide. In Monroe and Ralls counties, we screened 224 children at 7 sites. We also provide comprehensive follow-up services for children we refer for potential vision problems. We maintain a statewide list of local eye doctors who see young children ( ), and assist families with finding a local eye doctor, navigating their insurance, and understanding our referral. We also work with families who have no insurance or cannot afford vision care to get free/reduced cost exams and free eyeglasses.'

`There are four Lions Clubs that I am aware of in Monroe and Ralls counties. All four have given to KidSight historically. But only the Paris Lions have given most recently, in 2020."

KidSight has provided vision screenings for Missouri children for over 25 years. Their mobile vision screening program goes out to daycares, schools and public events to screen children as young as six months old and as old as 18 years. Last year alone, KidSight staff and volunteers screened over 43,500 children in 102 counties in Missouri, almost 7,500 of which were in the United Way of Central Missouri service area.