It’s that time of year and as kids are either back in school, or headed there soon, it’s important to make sure they’ve got everything they need to have the best year yet. Ensuring their vision is healthy is a big part of that. Over the next few weeks, CEF will help answer some of the most pressing questions a parent might have about how to know their child is ready!
The Children’s Eye Foundation thanks Dr. Christie Morse, EVP for the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, & Dr. Jack Baker, Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology Wayne State University School of Medicine for contributing to this blog post.
Is getting a vision screen easy?
The answer is Yes! Vision screening is easy!
A vision screening is an easy and cost effective way to identify children with visual impairment or eye conditions that may lead to permanent vision loss. If a child knows basic shapes or letters, usually from age 3 or 4 and older, the vision can be checked by asking what he or she sees on a vision chart. A physical exam can also make sure that the eyes are straight and working together. A vision screening may also detect the need for glasses that may be crucial for a child to function and learn to the best of his or her ability in school.
And for children that do not know their letters yet, instrument based vision screening is the best way to check. This is also known as photoscreening. An instrument takes a “picture” of the eyes and is able to tell if the child has a condition that could lead to permanent vision loss if not treated. It also helps to determine if the child needs glasses.
This test is as simple as taking a picture about 3 feet in front of the child. It’s incredibly easy and takes just a few seconds.
Vision screening can easily identify eye problems a child may have. The child can then be referred to an eye doctor for a complete eye examination to identify the problem and begin treatment. Since most children have normal eyes and only a small percentage of children – less than 10% of preschool children and about 20% of school age children – need a complete eye examination, a vision screening is very cost effective. A vision screening only costs a few dollars per child (whether done by the state or county health department, the school, a lay person experienced in performing vision screenings or the primary care doctor) and it eliminates a great number of unnecessary complete eye examinations as well as saving the parent’s time in not having to schedule and attend another doctor visit.
Should I trust the results?
While no test or medical screening is perfect, vision screening is very reliable. If a child does have a problem and happens to pass the screening one year, it’s likely to get detected on a future screening. Instrument based vision screening is especially reliable for preschool children who could never previously be effectively screened for vision threatening problems. Instrument based vision screening has been an important game changer for detecting vision problems in children that could cause permanent vision loss if not diagnosed and treated before the age of 5.
The American Academy of Pediatrics states that vision screening, especially with the use of instrument based vision screening, should start when the child is 1 year old and be repeated every couple of years.
To learn more about vision screening, visit Seemore.Today and download our Parent’s Guide!
We want all kids to have healthy sight for life! Help support the work of the Children’s Eye Foundation, the official foundation of the world’s largest physician organization dedicated to children’s eye care and adults with strabismus.