There is a Need for Regular, School-Based Vision Screenings
Modern technology aids in the quick, reliable identification of children with vision problems
While vision problems are considered the most common disability in the U.S., and a prevalent childhood condition affecting learning and behavior, most states require minimal childhood vision exams. Even then, the Snellen eye chart, which is considered the standard of vision screening for the past 150 years, oftentimes misses students, some of whom will cheat the chart to avoid receiving eye glasses.
The abstract, “The Need to Modernize Vision-Screening Practices in Schools,” which was presented Saturday, Oct. 26, at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in Orlando, highlighted the benefits and minimal disruptions associated with school-based vision screening. The goal of vision screening is to detect potential abnormalities that could threaten visual development.
The study involves a charitable event that took place in 2012 held by Transitions Optical and its partner VSP®Vision Care at a Florida elementary school where 537 students with parental permissions received a vision screening. The state of Florida currently requires vision screening in the first, third and sixth grades. Using the award-winning “Spot” technology,a handheld device that weighs approximately 2.5 pounds’the students in all grades were screened within five hours with minimal disruption to classroom schedules.
Ninety-three children were identified as having a potential vision issue, and were referred to a mobile eye clinic or an eye care provider for a complete eye examination and follow-up eye care.
“To ensure a student’s time in school is spent learning, the implementation of health-related screenings must be efficient and cost effective,” said study author Jeff Mortensen, vice president of business development at PediaVision, which manufactures the Spot device.
“By screening every grade instead of just the exclusive state-mandated grades, Spot was able to identify those students who had been missed in prior years or had not obtained follow-up care from previous screenings,” said Mortensen. “Identifying vision issues as they occur and providing follow-up care is an obtainable shift to properly equipping children to help them reach their potential,” he said.
The care provided to the students was the collaboration of four organizations: Prevent Blindness Florida, Transitions Optical, VSP®Vision Care and PediaVision.
 Zaba, Joel N., M.A., O.D., “Children’s Vision Care in The 21st Century & Its Impact On Education, Literacy, Social Issues, & The Workplace: A Call To Action.” Journal of Behavioral Optometry (Volume 22/2011/Number 2/Page 40).
Ms. Jensen is a leading advocate for families and children and was the founder and president of ACES, The Association for Children for Enforcement of Support.
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