Goodwill’s Amblyopia Program Looking for Volunteer Vision Screeners

The Amblyopia Vision Screening Program of Youngstown Area Goodwill Industries needs help in reaching as many preschoolers as possible during the upcoming school year. The program is looking for new volunteers, with an increased need in Trumbull County, to visit area preschools and conduct vision screenings on children.

Training, materials and even partners are provided for the volunteer vision screenings. Screening sessions are scheduled according to the screeners availability — mornings or afternoons, Monday through Friday in Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties — and last anywhere from one hour to two hours. All scheduling and follow up is handled by the program coordinator.

Lazy eye, the common name for amblyopia, is reduced vision in an eye resulting when the pathways of vision in the brain do not grow strong enough. Anything that interferes with clear vision in either eye during the critical birth to age six visual development period can cause amblyopia; neither the child nor parent may know there is a problem until screening is provided. If not detected early enough, an amblyopic eye may never develop good vision and may become functionally blind. Early detection and treatment can correct an eye, which may be too damaged for correction at a later time.

Volunteer training, provided by the Ohio Department of Health, will be held Tuesday, August 8 from 9 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., at Zion Lutheran Church, 3300 Canfield Road in Cornersburg. This training is mandatory for all vision screeners and those attending must register in advance. Of the 2,747 children screened during the last school year, 273 were referred for follow up treatment, 32 were prescribed glasses and nine were treated for amblyopia. Volunteer assistance is essential to help reach all of the children in need.

For additional information, or to attend the volunteer training session, contact Barb Costello, amblyopia program coordinator, Tuesday or Thursday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at (330) 759-7921, ext. 1220.