Did you know vision screening standards, training, and frequency vary widely across the nation?
Vision screenings intend to separate those with and without possible vision problems. Some vision screenings are done in health offices while others are done in schools, health departments, and health fairs.
Most children pass vision screenings; some children fail. The children who fail the first vision screening are usually re-screened at a later date to eliminate over-referrals. Failed vision screenings are then referred to an optometrist or ophthalmologist for a recommended or required eye exam.
Experts claim vision screenings are needed to find the children who will benefit most from an eye exam by an eye doctor.
On the other hand, parents are not advised to have health screenings for their children to find those who will benefit most from a physical by a medical doctor. Parents are also not advised to have dental screenings for their children to find those who will benefit most from a dental exam by a dentist.
Why are America's children given vision screenings?
Since vision screenings do not diagnose eye and vision problems, every vision screening needs a disclaimer.
Vision screenings do not evaluate eye health and important vision skills needed for success in school. Parents should be given the choice of an eye exam by an eye doctor in place of a vision screening.
"As chief of pediatrics at the Illinois Eye Institute, I work daily wtih children underserved by our current vision screening protocols.
Parents assume vision screenings satisfy all the visual and eye health needs of their children. Unfortunately, many children have eye problems that go undetected by vision screenings alone. I often see children for their first eye examination when they are 9 to 10-years-old. Problems are diagnosed that could have been prevented by a comprehensive eye and vision examination many years prior.
The rigors of learning demand good eyesight. Eighty percent of learning comes from our visual system. All children deserve comprehensive eye care so they can learn free of vision and eye problems.”
Geoffrey W. Goodfellow, OD, FAAO
Vision First Board Member