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:: Vision Screening Programs


VISION SCREENING INFORMATION from:
American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO)
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
American Optometric Association (AOA)

JOINT POLICY STATEMENT by:
AAO and American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus


ARTICLES & SELECTED LINKS

 



Why Screening Is So Important

Very few children complain about vision problems because they have no way of knowing that their vision is not normal. To them, it is "normal" because it is the only vision they have ever known. Most parents are comfortable with the thought that their child's primary care physician will discover any eye problems but unfortunately, these studies have shown that these providers identify as few as 25% of children with serious problems such as amblyopia. School and Preschool screening programs can help detect these serious problems.

Some of the Economic Benefits of Early Detection of Eye Problems

In addition to the impact on a child's welfare and development, the early detection of eye problems results in direct short-term economic benefits to the educational system and to society.

A child who cannot see well will start their education at a disadvantage. Children who start behind often stay behind.

On the negative side, if eye problems are not found early…

  • Children who are behind consume a disproportionate share of teachers' time.
  • Those who remain behind later become at risk of failing or dropping out. It requires substantial funding to help these students.
  • Almost every teacher knows of students who have been labeled LD or placed in Special Ed when the problem ultimately was found to be that the child simply could not see well. These students require significantly more financial resources than "normal" students.
  • A disproportionate percentage of "Special Ed" students have undetected eye problems. VRC routinely finds 2 to 5 or more times as many eye problems in this group.
  • A disproportionate percentage of juvenile delinquents (an expensive problem for society) have undetected vision problems.

Even a short period of uncorrected poor eyesight can have a significantly adverse affect on the child's ongoing educational performance, which in turn affects their performance, position, employability and economic contribution (or cost) throughout life.

On the positive side, in addition to the savings in the above areas when eye problems are detected early…

8 to 10% of all children have an eye problem significant enough to warrant professional attention. Assume only half of these, say 5%, have their vision (and thus their "educability") improved as a result of the eye screening program. Conservatively estimate that because they can see better, they are 20% more "educable". Improving the educability of 5% of the students by 20% is equivalent to an increase of 1% in educability for all students.