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NCSS Prevention of Blindness program helps detect vision problems in youngsters

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Danika K., 3, of Williamsport, is a happy-go-lucky preschooler. Typical to most young children, she never indicated to her parents that she was having trouble with her vision. But when Danika had a vision screening, provided by North Central Sight Services, Inc., at her preschool in May, the results showed differently. Danika had anisometropia. Her eyes each have a different focusing power.

“When the vision results paper came home from school, I was really surprised because Danika never said she was having an issue,” said Angela, Danika’s mother. “Though now I realize it is common for children because they have no baseline with which to compare how they can see.”

Danika also has hearing loss in both ears and wears hearing aids. So, Angela assumed Danika was using her vision fully, especially to compensate for her hearing loss. When she realized this wasn’t the case after seeing the screening results, she immediately made an appointment with a local optometrist for a full vision exam, where they confirmed the condition.

“Within the month, Danika had glasses,” Angela said.

The young girl’s gross motor skills also have improved significantly, especially her running and jumping.

“She definitely moves with more confidence and assurance,” Angela said.

The adjustment to wearing glasses was minimal, although through the initial challenges Angela did wonder how was this going to work. Thankfully, Danika put her glasses on the next day and hasn’t fussed since. Now, she specifically asks for her glasses and comments that she can see her sister now.

“The prevention program provided by NCSS is fabulous because I now realize Danika would have developed much differently had her vision issue gone undiagnosed,” Angela said.

NCSS screens and educates more than 1,400 children and adults in Lycoming County as part of its Prevention of Blindness Program, a United Way funded program.

“Normal. What is normal?” reasoned Scott N. Lowery, LCUW executive director. “For most all of us, we judge normal to be something for which we personally routinely experience in everyday life. For Danika, ‘her normal wasn’t normal.’ Without the vision screening provided by North Central Sight Services it may have been several more years before Danika’s condition was detected. Detecting the problem at an early age is helping Danika experience a brand new ‘normal,’ thus enhancing one of life’s grandest gifts – the gift of sight.”

Lycoming County United Way is proud to provide $33,185 to North Central Sight Service’s Social Services and Prevention of Blindness programs. But we cannot do it without you. Help us continue support by making a contribution today. Call Lycoming County United Way at 323-9448 or visit www.development.lcuw.org.

 

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