Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
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Monroe Carell Jr.
Children's Hospital
at Vanderbilt
2200 Children's Way
Nashville, TN 37232

(615) 936-1000

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The Tennessee Lions Eye Center and Tennessee Lions Clubs operate an Outreach Program that provides free vision screening to identify young children with vision problems during the first four years of life. Undetected and untreated problems during this critical period can prevent proper development of the brain’s binocular function, resulting in amblyopia, or "lazy eye." In fact, amblyopia is the leading cause of monocular blindness in US children.

This non-invasive screening method is about 80 percent effective in detecting problems that can cause decreases in vision. Some of the major eye disorders include near and far sightedness, astigmatism, anisometropia (unequal refraction), media opacities (i.e. cataracts), and strabismus (misaligned eyes) can be detected by a hand-held device called an MTI PhotoScreener.

In addition to the MTI Photoscreener, we began using the Welch Allyn SureSight in 2006 and have screened approximately 35,000 children with this instrument to date. A study conducted by several leading universities recommended the Sure Sight vision screener.

These screenings are possible because of the tremendous volunteerism of Lions Club members across Tennessee who have been trained through the Outreach Program.

The following information details the steps and methods used to create and carry out the resulting Outreach Program.

Partnership for Sight

Approximately 5 percent of the 1.5 million children in Tennessee have serious eye problems. The goal of the Tennessee Lions Eye Center and the Tennessee Lions is to prevent childhood blindness through early detection and treatment of the most common vision disorders that can lead to blindness.

The Tennessee Lions established a partnership with Vanderbilt University Medical Center to create a free-standing pediatric eye care center. The Tennessee Lions Eye Center at Children's Hospital opened August 1997 as a result of funding from the Tennessee Lions' $4.1 million pledge. The Tennessee Lions Eye Center has since moved to a larger facility on Pierce Avenue next to Children's Hospital.

Another component of the pledge was a commitment of volunteerism by the Tennessee Lions in a statewide pediatric vision screening outreach program administered by a Vanderbilt pediatric ophthalmologist and the Outreach Program Manager. In September 1998, the state of Tennessee joined the Lion Clubs of Tennessee and Children's Hospital to announce a funding effort to help the Outreach Program screen more children each year and purchase additional equipment.

Pediatric Ophthalmology, Vanderbilt Eye Institute

  • Direct and coordinate program
  • Evaluate children who are referred
  • Communicate with participating ophthalmologist and optometrist in local communities

Tennessee Lions Clubs

  • Supply volunteers to conduct screenings
  • Fund program
  • State of Tennessee
  • Supplement program funding
  • Assist in follow-up

Last Edited: July 24, 2017
Valued Participant of Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network