Club using cell phones to correct vision

Lions Club to turn phones into cash to help correct youth eyesight problems

September 27, 2007 at 8:02 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Because of the constant changes in cell phone technology, many users are forced to continually upgrade their phones, leaving several unused units scattered throughout St. Charles Parish.

Now, there is a useful way to get rid of those neglected cell phones while serving a great cause in the process.

The Hahnville Lions Club is collecting old cell phones to help the organization in their quest to provide eye photo screening for children five years and younger. Just last week, club members took pictures of 119 children in the parish and sent the photos to the Lions Club program in Lafayette, which will screen the pictures to determine if the children have underlying eye problems. Only an eye doctor can diagnose and treat a vision problem, but screenings help find children who need a full eye exam. In the past, doctors have prescribed problems as serious as life-threatening cancer.

The program targets young children because those with vision problems often do not know that the way they see the world is not the way everyone sees it. In fact, vision problems affect one in 20 preschoolers and can also affect one in four school children, according to the Lions Club International. Without early detection and treatment, children's vision problems can lead to permanent vision loss and learning difficulties.

"We have been engaged in the program for several years," Hahnville Lions Club President Charles Wilson said. "If we get enough cell phones, we can really do some good."

Old cell phones can net the club anywhere from .50 cents to $50. The club plans to match the net amount that they receive from all the phones and will use the money to purchase digital cameras that will help with the identification process. Right now, the club uses Polaroid pictures.

Drop-off boxes for old cell phones are currently at Majorias Supermarket and Wal-Mart, both on Highway 90, and the Holy Rosary Community Center in Hahnville. The Lions Club does not need accessories, they just need the phone.

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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