Hoping to raise $10,000 to buy a computerized portable camera that detects eye problems, Freedom District Lions Club is raffling a "Dream Playhouse," a children's playhouse complete with a front porch and tilt-in windows.
The Lions Club wants to buy an MTI PhotoScreener to screen preschool-age children for common eye problems, including nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and media opacities such as cataracts.
"The earlier an eye problem is discovered, the more of a chance the children have of getting the particular problem corrected," said Bob Miller, club treasurer and project chairman.
The MTI PhotoScreener, marketed as the only portable instant-screening device in the world, is used to test infants and preverbal or difficult-to-screen children. It also has been effective detecting optical problems in developmentally challenged children and adults.
The machine takes two pictures of the eyes, and the photographs can identify problems and refractive errors. Children with potential problems are referred to an ophthalmologist.
The Lions Club will target children ages 6 months through 4 years who have not been examined by an ophthalmologist. The club hopes to screen at area preschools and at Carrolltown Center in Eldersburg, which is co-sponsoring the raffle.
Preschoolers are not good candidates for the eye chart tests given in elementary schools, said Denise R. Khouri, Carrolltown Center general manager, because the charts require knowledge of the alphabet, which is unfamiliar to many youngsters.
Miller said raffle proceeds will cover the cost of the camera ($3,000), services provided by Vanderbilt University in Tennessee to analyze the film, postage and developing costs, and eye exams for about 2,000 children.
The prize, an 8-by-10-foot playhouse, was built and donated by Robert Frye and Sons of Sykesville. The house features custom-built vinyl siding and is displayed at Carrolltown Center.
The builders have volunteered to deliver it to the winner at no cost within 20 miles of the mall. Tickets are available through O'Conor, Piper & Flynn ERA of Eldersburg and Freedom District Lions Club.
Information: Carrolltown Center, 410-781-7070 or www. carrolltowncenter.com.