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Lions Club testing eyes of parish’s youngest students

Sight preservation is one of the Lions Club’s top projects.

Bogalusa Lions Club members were at Byrd Elementary School on Thursday to give students free eye exams.

“We’re screening eyes for muscle balance and pressures,” Lions Club Project Chairperson Debbie Lusto said just before she examined another student with the $5,000 mobile special camera purchased by the local club.

“Once we screen the children, the results are sent to the main office in Lafayette, where they are analyzed. The main office sends the results back to the school, and children are referred to a doctor by the parents.”

The Lions Club is screening all Bogalusa City and Washington Parish schools with kindergartens and pre-schools, along with private daycare centers.

Byrd Elementary houses kindergarten through second grade.

A routine exam had Lusto working the camera as George Adams stood behind the student holding their head still. The exam took approximately 20 seconds to complete.

“We’re trying to catch the children young before they start school,” Bogalusa Lions Club President Jim Adams said. “The beautiful part of all this is that if a family that can’t afford treatment, the Lions Club will cover the costs, whatever it takes.”

Adams said the club tests 1,400 children in the parish each year.

Assisting Lusto and Adams during Thursday’s screenings were Lions Club members Mark Blow, Melvin Remington and Janice Adams.

Lusto said she enjoys working with the children.

“I love it,” Lusto said. “I’m retired from working in the school system for a long time. This keeps me in contact with the children and lets me provide a service.”