The Reynoldsburg Lions Club provided free eye tests for 26 preschool children last week, the first in what club members hope will become a regular offering.

The Reynoldsburg Lions Club provided free eye tests for 26 preschool children last week, the first in what club members hope will become a regular offering.

The group provided the exams during story times for young children at the Reynoldsburg branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library. As a result, two were referred to eye doctors, according to club president Kathy Baker.

Baker said the instrument used was a borrowed "Sure Sight" unit, but the club hopes to purchase its own machine. The club hopes to schedule more screenings in April, again using borrowed equipment, according to member Norm Brusk.

"We're borrowing an eye screening unit for now," Baker said. "We are the first club in our district to use the machine out in the public to do the screenings."

One of the missions of Lions Club organizations across the nation is to prevent or eliminate blindness.

The "Sure Sight" instrument costs an estimated $5,800 and is a sophisticated, portable machine about the size of a laptop computer, with a scope that patients look through, Baker said. It can detect visual problems in children so they can get treatment before they become adults.

"It's very important because a lot of people don't take their children, especially preschoolers, to have their eyes looked at early," Baker said.

"They have the misconception that they can't read the eye charts, or won't do well in a physician's office, so a lot of people wait until they're in first or second grade. The problem with that is, with a lot of eye diseases, it may be too late to correct it."

Baker said the club plans to raffle off a 150cc Eagle scooter, donated by Brusk, to raise money for the purchase of a "Sure Sight" unit.

Tickets are $10 each with the drawing scheduled for April 15.

Baker said depending on how much money is raised through the raffle, the club also will look for grants that might be available to help with the cost.

Information about the raffle or purchasing tickets is available from Brusk at (614) 863-0018.

The club held four eye screenings last week, Baker said. The tests take less than a minute and data are available immediately so parents can know right away if a child needs to be referred to a physician.

If a test does show the child needs to be referred, Baker said a second test is done.

"Once we make sure the testing was reliable, we refer the parents off to an optometrist or ophthalmologist," she said.

Those interested in donating to the Lions Club or who have questions about future eye screenings may call Baker at (614) 861-1580.