The Goldsboro Downtown Lions Club will sponsor free vision screenings in May using the Welch Allyn Spot Screener for children 6 months to 6 years of age.

Club members are encouraging families to bring their children to a yet-to-be-determined site location for a free vision screening.

The screening service takes less than a minute but the benefits can last a lifetime, club members said.

The screening device used has the ability to detect refractive errors, such as myopia, known as nearsighted; hyperopia, known as farsighted; and astigmatism, an imperfection in the curvature of the eye.

Testing also identifies risk factors, such as amblyopia, known as a lazy eye; strabismus, which is when eyes misalign or become crossed; and unequal vision between the eyes.

If child has a vision defect, the family will receive notification to consult with a professional optometrist.

Many vision problems run the risk of becoming permanent if not corrected by age 7 when the eye reaches full maturity.

Vision also plays an important role in education. According to educational experts, 80 percent of learning is visual. So, if a child can’t see well, he or she can’t learn well.

The screening event is part of a nationwide initiative called Lions KidSight USA. More than 424 Lions Club members in the United States are now Certified Vision Screeners.

KidSight USA was developed by Lions in the U.S. to protect the eye health of America’s children in their early years. Lions in the U.S. currently screen more than 500,000 children per year. Learn more about Lions KidSight USA at www.KidSightUSA.org.

Lions Clubs International is the largest service club organization in the world. Its 1.35 million members in more than 46,000 clubs are serving communities in more than 200 countries and geographical areas around the globe.

Since 1917, Lions clubs have aided the blind and visually impaired, championed youth initiatives and strengthened local communities through hands-on service and humanitarian projects. Learn more about Lions Clubs International at www.lionsclubs.org.

For more information about the screening event or to learn more about the Goldsboro Downtown Lions Club and its service projects, contact Sharon Batkoski at 919-735-7175 or email at goldsborodowntownlionsclub@gmail.com.