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Low vision is a visual impairment that cannot be fully corrected with regular eyeglasses, contact lenses, medication or surgery and interferes with the ability to read. A video magnifier is a partial solution that projects an image onto a computer monitor. One such magnifier the “OPTELEC ClearView 300,” repurposed by the Ashland Lions Club at the Ashland Senior Center. (Courtesy photo)

Ashland Lions take pride in keeping 'the promise'

In 1925, Helen Keller touched the Lions International Convention audience with these words: “Will you not help me hasten the day when there shall be no preventable blindness, no little deaf, blind child untaught, no blind man or woman unaided? I appeal to you Lions, you who have sight, your hearing, you who are strong and brave and kind. Will you not constitute yourselves Knights of the Blind in this crusade against darkness?”

As Lions, we made a promise, and we’ve kept it for almost 100 years.

Permanent vision loss, amblyopia, may occur in children who are not diagnosed and treated for the condition before age 6. Being screened, getting proper treatment and eyewear will prevent this vision loss.

Ashland Lions Club, in partnership with Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation (OLSHF), conducts annual vision screening of thousands of Rogue Valley elementary school children.

The vision of the Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation is to help more children and adults see and hear.

A strong and energetic partnership between OLSHF and the Lions Clubs of Oregon and Northern California allows those in need in your community to access OLSHF’s many programs.

Since 1959, OLSHF has taken an active role in protecting the health of Oregonians. Through nine direct service programs related to sight, hearing and health assistance, the foundation has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of youths and adults in our state. OLSHF offers consistent access and critical health solutions to the most vulnerable members of our community who are uninsured or under-insured.

OLSHF and the Ashland Lions Club believe it is crucial to reach out to under-served populations, particularly where geography, language or cultural barriers may present challenges to accessing preventative care and appropriate follow-up.

In 2017 OLSHF and the Ashland Lions screened 1,062 students in five schools. Of that total, 48 were referred for further testing as a result of the screening. For the period of 2014-17, the Ashland Lions participated in 3,785 total screenings with 150 referrals for additional testing and care.

The Ashland Lions-supported 2018 screening occurs from September to November in Central Point, Ashland, Talent and Phoenix.

Also supported by the Ashland Lions Club is Southern Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Center in Medford, which provides financial assistance for eye exams and eyeglasses and recycles donated eyeglasses for use at community vision clinics held two times per year, and is a vendor for low vision aids.

Glasses collected in the Lions containers are given to Southern Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Center for their clients. Glasses that cannot be used or need repairing are then sent to Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation.

Low vision is a visual impairment that cannot be fully corrected with regular eyeglasses, contact lenses, medication or surgery. Despite all conventional treatment, vision remains blurred or distorted, and it interferes with the ability to read. A video magnifier is a partial solution that projects an image onto a computer monitor.

One such magnifier, the “OPTELEC ClearView 300” (pictured), was originally donated to the Ashland Public Library and recently repurposed by the Ashland Lions Club at the Ashland Senior Center. The magnifier is in the computer room at the Ashland Senior Center, available for those needing such assistance.

About the Ashland Lions

The Ashland Lions Club was founded in 1938 and has been serving Ashland and the Rogue Valley ever since. We raise money to fund our support of the Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation in Portland and the Southern Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Center in Medford. Lions also support the Ashland Community Hospital Foundation, scholarships for Ashland High School graduates, and many other worthy causes.

In addition, the Ashland Lions do many service projects in the community, such as restoring tables and benches in the Lithia Park Madrone Group Picnic area, benches in Lithia Park concert arena, building handicapped ramps, assisting the Boy Scouts with their annual Christmas tree recycling, Ashland parks cleanup and barbecue services for charitable group events.

Join the Lions and make a difference

Call the Ashland Lions Club at 541-324-1515. The Ashland Lions website (www.ashlandoregonlions.org) provides information on the club and an online membership application. Please join us at our regular meeting on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month, starting at 6 p.m. at La Casa Del Pueblo, 1209 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland, except in July and August when there are no meetings.

An update from the Ashland Lions Club appears quarterly in the Tidings.

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