Lions Serving New Mexico & Arizona
Multiple District 40
New Mexico Lions Eye Foundation
The New Mexico Lions Eye Foundation (NMLEF) was
formed in 1995. In 1996, a matching grant of $40,000 from LCIF permitted
the Foundation to purchase a 34' motor home specifically designed and
compartmented for use as an eye screening vehicle. Delivery was taken of
the vehicle on November 2, 1996 and thereafter equipment was installed
to permit eye screenings. The first screening was conducted in
Albuquerque on January 25, 1997. Under the NMLEF constitution, each
screening must be sponsored by a Lions Club in Multiple District 40. In
fiscal year 2000-2001, a contract was entered into between the
Foundation and the NM Department of Health to provide certain services
for diabetics and in return receive reimbursement of expenses.
SCHEDULING A SCREENING with the EYE VAN
When a Club decides to sponsor an eye screening which
will require the use of the Van, several things must occur.
A Lion member contacts the MD40 Screening Coordinators (Lions Lenny and Dot Bean: 505.553.0825, 505.822.8909, or firstname.lastname@example.org) to determine if the date is open. The club member can also check the online schedule.
2) The requesting Club must complete the NMLEF
form which will require the location, date, time, identity of the professional(s) who will be conducting the eye screening, and other
information (to be sent by the MD40 Screening Coordinator).
3) The Club must secure the services of
an Ophthalmologist or Optometrist to perform the
actual eye examinations. Qualified personnel to take blood pressure,
pulse, and glucose levels should be arranged for if diabetes screening
is to be done. The van is
completely equipped to perform visual acuity, inter-ocular pressure, and
dilated or undilated eye examinations. No Lions or individuals should
set up medical equipment unless they have been properly trained
4) The requestion club must arrange for Lion volunteers to help with set-up, tear-down
and cleanup (setting up tables, chairs, completing forms, etc).
Lions Eye Foundation Links
New Mexico Lions Eye Bank
The New Mexico Lions Eye Bank (NMLEB) was founded in 1962 and just celebrated our 50th anniversary last year. NMLEB has been providing safe, high-quality corneal tissue to surgeons and their patients for over 50 years. Serving a population of nearly two million throughout the state, NMLEB helps make people’s final gift – The Gift of Sight – a reality.
Our mission to help restore sight through eye donation is possible because of our many partnerships. The heart of the New Mexico Lions Eye Bank is connecting people and organizations that fight corneal blindness. NMLEB has been supported since its inception by dedicated Lions Clubs across New Mexico who contributes their time and expertise to NMLEB’s sight-restoring mission. Lions are recognized worldwide for their service to the blind and visually impaired. NMLEB reaches out to the community with innovative programs designed to increase awareness about the importance and need for donated eye and cornea tissues for transplantation and research. Other community projects include Sight Saving Surgery assistance and Eye Glasses for those who may not otherwise be able to access these services.
The New Mexico Lions Eye Bank is a 501c3 non-profit, non-governmental agency and is an affiliate of Tissue Banks International (TBI). TBI is also a non-profit, non-governmental network of eye and tissue banks and is the largest provider of ocular tissue in the world. TBI started as a single Eye Bank and has grown to a network that covers the United States and reaches around the globe. Each year, more than 130,000 TBI tissues are used in transplant surgery, with thousands more utilized in research and medical education. TBI is a recognized innovator in the field of eye and tissue banking and has led advancements in recovery, processing, and distribution of allograft tissue. TBI has over 26 domestic locations and their International Federation of Eye and Tissue Banks extend to more than 20 countries. TBI is instrumental in ensuring that all our suitable tissue is transplanted with preference to our local surgeons then placing them with other national or international surgeons.
Support for the New Mexico Lions Eye Bank
There are many ways you can help New Mexico Lions Eye Bank (NMLEB) to continue to serve the people of New Mexico. In this state, an indication on your driver’s license that you wish to be a donor is legal consent. However, it can be a comfort to you family to know of your decision beforehand by having that discussion. That talk will make it easy for your family to honor your wishes and take the stress out of making that decision on their own. You can sign up to become a donor in person at the Motor Vehicle Department when updating your license or ID or online at www.nmdonor.org . Your personal information will be kept secure and confidential. That information will only be accessible to authorized organ and tissue recovery personnel and you can make changes or remove your name from the registry at any time.
We also encourage you to make a contribution to the Eye Bank to help us advance out sight-restoring programs. Your donation to the New Mexico Lions Eye Bank is tax deductable. Please remember NMLEB in your will and bequests. The legacy of Sight is one of the most precious legacies you can leave.
If you are interested in a more in-depth look at the Eye Bank please contact the Executive Director to schedule a program for your club. The more we know about each other the more ways we can impact our communities. You can also visit our website at www.nmleb.org
Dates to remember
January- Glaucoma Awareness Month
March- National Eye Donor Month
April- Donate Life Month
May- Healthy Vision Month
Sight Saving Surgery
Besides assistance with glasses, in many cases the NMLEB is able to assist with sight saving surgeries. If you, or a club, are interested in applying for financial assistance, please contact the Eye Bank directly to obtain information and the appropriate forms.
NM Lions Operation Kidsight Foundation
New Mexico Lions Operation KidSight, Inc. (NMLOKS, Inc.), is a community service project, funded by grants from the St. Joseph’s Community Health Foundation and the NM Lions Eye Bank and donations from New Mexico Lions Clubs, with the goal to screen children (3-6 years old) in NM for amblyogenic risk factors and to fund eye exams and treatment for referred children whose families cannot afford it. NMLOKS, Inc., is a statewide project currently active in Otero, Lea, Bernalillo, Taos, Sierra, Los Alamos, Santa Fe, Sandoval, Hidalgo, Roosevelt, Luna, Grant, San Miguel, Dona Ana, Eddy, Valencia, Lincoln, Mora, Socorro, Torrance, and Rio Arriba Counties.
During, 2012-13, NM Lions screened over 19,000 children in public and Indian schools, Head Starts, child day care centers, health fairs, and private schools. It is envisioned that for 2013-14, the Program will expand into new areas in the state with over 25,000 children being screened. More information at http://www.nmlionskidsight.com/.
NM Lions Crane Reading Foundation
One of the State’s newest and very exciting Lions
projects is the Lions Crane Reading Program, which seeks to improve NM
students’ reading proficiency. In the past, NM has ranked 48th out of 50
with respect to children’s reading achievement. Many students report
symptoms of headaches, seeing double, getting dizzy, eyes burning,
and/or blurry vision during and after reading which in the past has
thought to be normal. Research has now shown that these symptoms are
really a sign of some underlying problem, which if not remedied, will
adversely impact the student’s reading and hence learning, ability. The
Crane Reading Program has shown that if the problem is identified, most
symptoms can be remedied at the school by the teacher assisted by a
vision specialist. Many times, glasses will correct the problem. If they
do not, then vision skill development may be needed.
The screening process is primarily a thirty minute
group of tests. The Lion Functional Vision Checklist identifies the
visual problems as well as their severity. The Lion Copy Forms (four
perception drawings) reveal those students who need visual
perceptiontraining, which applies primarily for students in the early
grades. The Lion Spelling Words help identify students with not only
possible visual problems but auditory and processing problems. The
standard eye screening chart identifies only about 17% of the children
who require help. However, if a retinoscopy test is also performed by an
optometrist, it has been shown that 41% of the students are identified
The American Optometric Association performed a test
with 10,000 children that showed that seldom is a child’s chair and desk
at the correct height (should be as high as the child’s waist). The test
revealed that 5% of five year olds suffered from near-sightedness
(myopia). By the time the students reached second grade, 17% had
developed myopia, much of which is caused by the incorrect desk height.
Children spend many hours in front of a television, which is normally
six to ten feet away. During this time, their eyes do not move or change
focus. However, when they start school, they are expected to look at
small details at arm’s length for prolonged periods of time and this is
when the sight and resulting reading problems may occur. The Crane
Reading Program has been introduced into schools in Las Cruces, NM, and
the results are phenomenal. As the Program matures, it is expected 70%
of the students with reading disorders will be helped by alleviating, if
not eliminating, those problems at a minimal cost. Lions Allen and
Virginia Crane (505-373-0561) of the Las Cruces Lions Club are the
developers of this great Program and can be contacted if a Club is
interested in more information.
Overview of Program. Students in the United
States rank 16th out of the 19 industrialized nations in the world in
reading proficiency (i.e., to be able to understand, apply, and analyze
challenging subject matter in a timely manner). Similarly, New Mexico
ranks near the bottom of all states in reading proficiency according to
a report published by the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
The Lions Crane Reading Program (LCRP) addresses this alarming trend in
the State by assessing whether a child is having a reading problem and
if there is one, by determining what can be done to reduce it, if not
eliminate it. If a child is having reading problems, the Program first
provides an examination of a child’s eyes, which will reveal if eye
glasses are needed. Once it has been determined the child’s eyes are
functioning optimally (either uncorrected or corrected), the child’s
reading proficiency is enhanced through the use of templates and
computer assisted phonics and reading speed enhancement programs.
The Program also addresses other more subtle
contributors to the degradation of reading proficiency such as the
height of the child’s school desk. The success of the LCRP, which was
incorporated 9 January 2004, has been noted by dramatic improvement in
reading skills (to a student’s current grade proficiency level and
higher) and behavior in students considered problem children. NM
Governor Bill Richardson recently issued an executive proclamation that
specifies 5-11 September is Lions Vision Awareness Week in the State of
New Mexico. The Proclamation specifies the Lions Crane Reading Program
as an essential tool to be used to enhance the reading proficiency of
children in New Mexico.
LCRP Administration. The Lions Crane Reading
Program, which was developed by Lions Alan and Virginia Crane, was
adopted a while back by the Las Cruces Lions. Because of the Club’s
determination and hard work, the Program has been integrated into
several schools in Las Cruces and other areas in southern NM resulting
in marked improvement in reading proficiency as noted previously.
Currently, the Las Cruces Lions are soliciting other Clubs in New Mexico
to adopt the Program as a signature community service project in their
Services Provided To Children by the LCRP.
Children with reading problems in kindergarten through high school can
be helped by LCRP. To date over 2400 elementary, middle, and high school
children in four school districts across southern NM have benefited from
LCRP. The LCRP is also being used by a local Boys and Girls Club and an
after-school program. Eye Exams. Lions furnish local schoolswith
portable vision testing equipment that can be easily set up at the
schools. If the eye exam reveals a child may have sight problems, the
child is referred to an eye doctor for further examination to
determineif glasses are required. If glasses areneeded and the child’s
parent’s cannot afford them, the attending Lions Club follows up to find
a source such as Medicaid or a charity, and if none can be found, the
Club purchases the glasses for the child. Note that the vision testing
equipment used at the schools is capable of distinguishingwhether a
child has an astigmatism or is farsighted, eye disorders not commonly
that are identified during a less involved eye screening that does not
include a retinoscopy and eye teaming skills assessment.
Reading Skills Development. Reading proficiency can
be degraded by many factors besides vision problems. Templates, correct
desk height, reading silently, vision developmental activities, and
computer reading programs can all help a child read faster and more
comprehensively in a short time.
LCRP Costs and Funding. The approximate cost of
the LCRP is approximately $200 per child. A school can use Title I and
Special Education funds to help implement the Program. Medicaid can pay
for some of the vision testing costs. Grants (to include one from LCIF)
can be applied for to supplement funding. Initially, LCRP was funded
through contributions of Lions and supporting individuals in the
Currently, the LCRP is operating based on donations
of approximately $5500. As the Program progresses, it is envisioned the
annual budget for the Program would increase to $80,000-$100,000
LCRP Integration Plan. There has been a five
phase Integration Plan developed to provide direction for Clubs who wish
to implement LCRP in their local schools. Following is a summary of that
Phase I – Lions initially interface with the
school principal and give an overview of the Program and benefits. The
overview should include providing a copy of the book, Reading Problems
Resolved, and a copy of the LCRP Introductory Video.
Phase II – Ask the school principal for
permission to present the LCRP Introductory Video and other videos
concerning the Program to the school staff. Answer any questions clearly
and sufficiently and follow up to determine the level of interest in the
Program by the school staff. If the school agrees to implement the LCRP,
meet with them and establish a plan of action.
Phase III – The sponsoring Club furnishes the
required vision testing equipment and assists the staff in arranging for
an optometrist to come to the school to perform the vision testing and
an optician to fit and provide glasses.
Phase IV - Establish training sessions for Lions
to become proficient with the LCRP templates, gross motor program, and
computer programs. These trained Lions, who will be the liaisons between
the school using the Program and the Club, will contact the school on a
weekly basis to determine the status of the Program implementation. If
there are any problems, the trained Lions will solve them. Inquiries
will also be made as to the progress of the students and a checklist
will be used to ensure each step of the Program is proceeding as
Phase V – The Club will assist the staff in
establishing after-school programs for children that need additional
help. Lions can help by doing such things as helping to run a computer
lab and monitoring the progress of the children. A club can have a fund
raiser that explicitly pays for any costs of the after school programs
or to buy glasses for needy children.
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© 2009 [NM Lions]. All rights reserved.
November 11, 2013