REED CITY — Vision is one of the most important senses, and taking care of the eyes can mean the difference between sight and blindness.

Screenings can help detect vision disorders and increase the possibility of correcting them before deterioration sets in and treatment costs skyrocket.

To assist local parents who want their children's eyesight checked, the Crossroads Lions Club is hosting a free vision screening event from 3 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 14, at Kiddies Clubhouse Daycare Center, located at 309 S. Higbee St. in Reed City. Children between the ages of 1 and 5 years are welcome.

“Our eyes are one of our most important assets," said Dan Lee, Crossroads Lions Club president. "Our club realizes not every parent has the time or money to go see an eye doctor when their children are young. It's strongly recommended by professionals to have your children’s eyes screened as early as possible, so we wanted to have a screening where anyone from our community can bring their child in for a free vision screening. Early detection is the key to keeping our children's eyes healthy.”

The Michigan Project KidSight Program is designed to identify treatable and preventable causes of vision loss in preschool children. The Lions Club uses a hi-tech mobile vision screener programmed to quickly identify vision disorders such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), anisometropia (unequal refraction power), astigmatism (optical defect), anisocoria (unequal pupil size) and strabismus (gaze deviations) through non-invasive testing.

A portable vision screener performs a binocular test of both eyes within one second and instantly identifies potential vision problems with 98 percent accuracy. When problems are detected, the vision screener reports a “fail” or “refer” status, and a detailed report identifying potential problems is provided to the child’s parent or guardian for further follow-up with an optometrist or ophthalmologist, Lee added.