By MORIAH LOVATO
For the Daily Press
HF Sinclair has partnered with the Artesia Downtown Lions Club to purchase two Plus Optix cameras to be used to screen young children for vision problems.
Each year, the Lions Club members themselves use the Plus Optix cameras as part of their “sight conservation” initiative at Head Start, Grand Heights Early Childhood Center and often Lake Arthur, Hagerman and Dexter schools to determine which children need to be referred to an eye care professional.
The Lions Club also uses this as an opportunity to identify children who need assistance purchasing corrective lenses, which the Club then provides for the child. HF Sinclair’s donation of $11,000, alongside the Lion’s Club donation of $1,245, is sufficient to purchase two cameras to replace the outdated models purchased by the Lions Club and HF Sinclair 10 years ago, according to Lions Club member Terry Maupin.
More than 700 children will be served in the Artesia Public Schools alone, nearly 1,000 in total between all the schools. The cameras are simple to operate and require only two AA batteries for power. Wireless enabled, all users must do is snap a photo of the students’ eyes to retrieve the necessary information which can then be printed or sent to an excel spreadsheet with the student’s personal information for later use by medical professionals.
Due to back order, the cameras will arrive this year in late October or early November.
Although this specific program is the initiative of Artesia’s local chapter, Lions Clubs around the world include sight programs to combat preventable blindness. These programs are the result of a speech given by Helen Keller at a Lions Clubs international Convention in 1925, during which she “challenged Lions to become ‘knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness,’” according to the Lions Club website lionsclubs.org.
The portion of funds given by the Club was taken from the account that is built by fundraisers throughout the year. The next fundraiser will occur Oct. 20, when the Lions will host their annual tailgate party, which is being put on in partnership with HF Sinclair this year.
For more information pertaining to the Artesia Downtown Lions Club, community members can find a contact form at lionsclubs.org.