Friday January 30 was the turn of the Lions Clubs of Castries and Gros Islet, the Leo Club of Castries, to assist the Kids Insight team of eye specialists with their eye clinic for young children.
The programme which began in 2003 is a joint collaboration by the Lions clubs of Saint Lucia and West Virginia and is headed by Rebecca Coakley, Director of the Children’s Rehabilitation Project in West Virginia University Eye Institute and US Coordinator of the Kids Insight Programme. She is also the Coordinator of the Saint Lucia/West Virginia programme.
Kids In sight is dedicated to helping children who would otherwise not be able to afford such services. It is partly funded by a grant from Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) and funds raised by the local clubs from various activities such as, Lions Club of Castries Candle Light Dinner, Piton Lions Tea Party and the Gros Islet Lions Charity Golf Tournament.
Through Kids Insight, the Blind Welfare Association provides access to free eye care to children inclusive of follow up services, medication, and glasses. Since 2003 thousands of children with serious eye problems in Saint. Lucia have benefitted from the Kids Insight Project.
The programme benefits from the generosity of vacationing members of the Kids Insight team, who gave freely of their services while on holiday here in Saint Lucia. During this decade the ophthalmologists who make up the team have seen the number of youthful eye patients grow from a handful to about 100 patients. The doctors, who are from West Virginia, sacrifice their annual vacation time to come to Saint Lucia to deal with the long waiting list of patients on the programme.
The Kids Insight team carries out corrective eye surgeries while children with low vision are also treated and given the tools they need to aid their sight. In addition they not only undertake medical intervention, but also vision rehabilitation. The kids who cannot be connected through medication or surgery if they are blind or visually impaired, are started with rehabilitation by examining braille, optical devices, magnifiers and technology so that they can function in the classroom and see like their sighted peers.
This year there over one hundred and seventy (170) children were seen by the Team. The Lions clubs of Saint Lucia who play host to the team assist in record keeping, ushering, and keeping the kids occupied while they await their appointments.