The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

August 18, 2013

Donation of vision

By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Elementary school children at Enid and the surrounding region should be seeing more clearly, thanks to a fundraising effort undertaken over the summer by Masonic lodges.

It’s hard to learn in school when a child can’t make out what he sees. Younger children and those who don’t speak English might not be able to say they can’t clearly see what they’re looking at.

In a classroom, about 80 percent of what children learn is presented to them visually, said Anita Schlaht, director of grants and special projects for Prevent Blindness Oklahoma. That’s the reason PBO’s EZ as 1 2 3 program targets preschool, Head Start and day care programs. State-of-the-art computerized photoscreening cameras called SPOT, made by Pediavision, are used to perform vision exams where no verbal response is necessary.

“Our screening is vital to making sure that all children have the best chance for success in school,” Schlaht said.

But the Pediavision cameras cost $10,000 each.

Two Enid Masonic Lodges, Nos. 80 and 501, recently took on the task of raising enough money to provide a second SPOT camera for the Enid area. The Masons held a golf tournament at Meadowlake Golf Course on June 2. Lodges in Hennessey and Pond Creek donated toward the cause, as well.

“We raised $5,200,” said Gerald Craparotta, worshipful master of Enid No. 80.

A matching grant made up the difference for the expensive camera, and Schlaht brought it to Enid in late June.

The camera they bought will go into use Tuesday when PBO screener Karen Rosenwald tests children at Chisholm Elementary School, Schlaht said.

“Many children will struggle needlessly when a simple vision screening could be the very solution,” Schlaht said.

“Having access to the SPOT camera for vision screening is very exciting for Enid Schools,” said Joan McIntyre, director of health services for Enid Public Schools. “We will now be able to screen those kids who were previously unscreenable. And this is all due to the hard work of our Enid Masons who raised $10,000 this summer. One of the Masons’ missions is to support vision screening.

 “Our first vision screening will be at Taft Sept. 4 and 5.”

Last school year, PBO’s EZ as 1 2 3 screening program in the Oklahoma City area caught cataracts, detached retinas, optic nerve atrophy, over 300 cases of amblyopia, along with hundreds of children needing glasses to help them have their best vision, Schlaht said.

Day care centers wanting more information on the EZ as 1 2 3 program, or wanting to arrange a screening visit, can reach Schlaht at (405) 848-7123, ext. 106.