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).
Dr. Dale Peterson is a graduate of the University of Minnesota College of Medicine. He completed his residency in FamilyMedicine at the University of Oklahoma. He is a past president of the Oklahoma Academy of Family Physicians. He had a full-time family practice in Edmond, Oklahoma, for over 20 years and was a Chief of Staff of the Edmond Hospital. He was active in teachingfor many years as a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine through the Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center.
Dr. Peterson left his full-time family practice in 1999 to consult with individuals who are seeking ways to restore and maintain their health through improved nutrition and other lifestyle changes. He founded the Wellness Clubs of America to give people access to credible information on supporting and maintaining their health. His monthly wellness letter, Health by Design, and his Health by Design E-Newsletter provide helpful information to individuals interested in preventing and conquering health challenges. His book Building Health by Design: Adding Life to Your Years and Years to Your Life was released in December 2010.
Dr. Peterson speaks regularly on subjects related to health and nutrition. He hosted a weekly radio program,Your Health Matters, on KTOK in Oklahoma City for five years. For the past nine years he has addressed questions from across the nation on his Your Health Matters weekly teleconference.He offers a free video LifeXtension course at www.drdalepeterson.com.