The purpose of vision screening is to detect vision disorders in an early, treatable stage. In preschoolers, the screener looks for children who have or who are at risk of developing amblyopia, a condition which needs to be identified and treated early to minimize permanent vision loss. In school-aged children, screenings identify children with as yet undiagnosed amblyopia or other early childhood vision disorders that may still respond to treatment. The screener also looks for other vision changes that may begin in third, fourth or fifth grade during growth spurts. It is important to identify these children and make sure parents are aware that their child needs to visit an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam. Many times a problem comes as a complete surprise to both child and parent. Careful follow-up of children who failed a screening can ensure that needed medical care is obtained and referrals (for assistance) are provided if necessary.
Click below to view the vision screening guidelines for each age group:
Click below to view other resources on vision screening children:
- When to skip screening and see an eye doctor
- School-based screening programs
- Bright Futures
- DPH Form 3300
- Head Start and the Year of Children’s Vision
New Recommendations for Vision Screening
In January 2015, three papers written by the National Expert Panel of the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health (NCCVEH) were published in Optometry and Vision Science. One of the papers focused specifically on vision screening of children ages three through five (36 months up to less than 72 months.) While the new recommendations apply to younger children, much of the information contained in the paper applies to screening school-aged children. These new guidelines include changes to screening instruments and occluders (view the new guidelines for each age group by clicking the links above).
Those who have established screening programs may not be able to purchase new tools immediately; however, you should move toward implementing the new recommendations as your budget allows or as you need to replace existing tools. You can take the following steps immediately, with little or no expense:
- Review all procedures and documentation with regards to:
- Training of screening staff
- Rescreening (who/within what time frame)
- Screening untestable children
- Children who should bypass screening
- Follow up
- Educational materials and resource lists for parents
- Screening program evaluation
- Discontinue use of Random Dot E stereopsis test
- Switch to recommended occluders if you are not already using them
For the most current and comprehensive updates on vision recommendations in Georgia and resources for school nurses, please visit Prevent Blindness Georgia at www.pbga.org, call (404) 266-2020, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For detailed information about the new recommendations, visit the dedicated page on the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health website here.