Vision & Hearing Screening Program
Why Are Screenings Important?
Early detection of vision issues combined with access to affordable eye care leads to improved vision health and lower health costs. It is particularly important that people at a higher risk of vision impairment and those who have difficulty accessing health care services because of geographic or financial restraints have access to preventative services. Examples of evidence-based recommendations and guidelines related to vision health from the CDC include:
- Regular eye exams for adults aged 60 or older
- An annual comprehensive eye exam for people with diabetes
- Regular comprehensive eye evaluations for adults at risk of developing glaucoma
- Vision screening at least once for all children aged 3 to 5 years to detect amblyopia (AKA lazy eye) or its risk factors
LVS Vision and Hearing Screenings
For all of these reasons, LVS offers free vision and hearing health screenings to South Carolina residents. These services began with the LVS Health Screening unit in 1974, a collaboration with the South Carolina Commission of the Blind. A self-contained mobile screening unit was used from 1984 until 2016. Since 2016 portable equipment has allowed for greater flexibility in screening across the state.
All LVS screenings use a PlusOptix auto-refracting camera, a standard Titmus vision tester, tonometer, and an audiometer. Beginning in 2019 LVS has empowered local Lions Clubs to conduct most screenings in their communities with support from LVS when needed.
LVS continues to offer free screenings to any communities not served by a local Lions Club and retains the capacity to conduct several thousand screenings each year with a priority on school aged children, seniors, and vulnerable demographics. All screenings require a quiet, dark room inside a building. The ability to manipulate the lighting is preferable.
These preventative screenings help to identify vision issues early on in school aged children to improve academic performance and personal development. Expanding access to this preventative care remains an important statewide priority for vision health in South Carolina.