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Vision Screenings vs. Vision Exams

Beyond School Vision Screenings

Many children undergo basic vision screenings at school or as part of pediatric wellness checks.  These screenings may signal the need for further evaluation, but they typically are only checking for basic myopia, and they often miss treatable eye disorders.  There are no set standards for these screenings and often the screening equipment is very limited.

The Danger of Over-Reliance on Vision Screenings

There are many reasons that parents need to go beyond basic screenings for their children.  A 20/20 diagnosis on a vision screening often gives parents a false sense of security. According to a study by the National Eye Institute, school screenings failed to identify one-third of the vision issues that surfaced during subsequent comprehensive exams. Some common issues with vision screenings include:

What is Included in a Comprehensive Eye Exam

At all Hero Practice Services affiliated practices, we have detailed standards for all children’s eye exams based on the American Optometric Association guidelines.  These exams require specialized training and equipment.  Early detection and treatment of childhood eye issues is critical so parents are recommended to schedule their child’s first exam between 6 and 12 months then every two years thereafter unless advised otherwise.  Visual acuity is measured at all distances to ensure the child has no difficulty reading, working on a computer or seeing the board in the classroom. We also evaluate visual alignment to ensure both eyes are aiming at the same object with proper depth perception.  Eye tracking and teaming are critical for reading and prolonged concentration, and we evaluate ocular health to for potential serious conditions such as glaucoma or intraocular cancer.

Vision and Learning

From birth, infants begin learning by seeing the world around them.  In fact, close to 90% of all learning happens through our visual systems. Undetected vision problems can have a major impact on childhood development and school performance.  According to the American Optometric Association, 86 percent of children under six years of age have not had a comprehensive eye exam and 10 million school-aged children suffer from untreated visual conditions that impact their potential to learn. By helping parents understand the importance of comprehensive exams and making vision care affordable and accessible, Hero Practice Services hopes to give more children a chance to thrive.