Vision screenings at school are important to determine how the child's eyes are developing and if they have any problems. However not all vision screenings are the same, at Amplify EyeCare we offer schools developmental vision screenings which identify a wider range of vision problems including reduced visual acuity at near and far and poor eye teaming and tracking skills, which can hinder their academic success. Learn about our free developmental school vision screenings.

Why are vision screenings important for your child?

They are very crucial because they are often the first line of defense for vision problems, and help diagnose any issues a child may have. Children don't always realize what they're experiencing isn't normal, and this can hinder their academic success, because 80% of learning is visual. Therefore, it is important that these children have a healthy and functioning visual system.

The developmental school vision screenings conducted by our team are truly unique because, unlike standard vision screenings, which usually only look at visual acuity using a standard eye chart, or the ability to see something that is 20 feet away. Our team examines the child’s ability to see close up, far away, various vision functions, their eye teaming skills, and whether they have any binocularity issues.

What happens during a school vision screening?

We start off by having someone from our office contact the schools to schedule a time and date for the school vision screening. Our office will then send out consent forms to the school, which the parent will have to sign so that their child can participate in the school vision screening, as well as authorize us to share healthcare information.

Upon signing of the consent forms, the school vision screening is set up, and one or more of our eye doctors along with a vision therapist or another staff member will go to the school to perform the vision screening.

We conduct a variety of tests.

  • The first step is to test the child's visual acuities. We want to see how well they can see both far away and up close.
  • Children just entering kindergarten may not know their letters or ABCs. We have specific eye charts also for children, so that we can assess their vision. We also have images, called Patti pics, or different symbols on the list that the child can match and describe.
  • We also measure the child’s actual ocular muscles to determine if there are any restrictions and to see if they are strong enough.
  • We examine pursuit eye movements and saccadic eye movements. A saccadic eye movement test measures how well the child can move their eyes while looking at a fixating target. This is important because when the child is reading, they need to use their saccadic eye movements.
  • We examine the child’s pupil to determine how they react to light.
  • We examine their color vision to determine if they are colorblind.
  • We examine the child’s depth perception.
  • In order to determine if the patient's eye alignment is correct, we perform a cover test.
  • We assess the patient's near point convergence, basically assessing how well is the patient able to turn their eyes inward, while the target is moving up close to them and looking at their near point fusional abilities.
  • In order to determine the child’s binocularity, we check how well they can turn their eyes inward and outward, both at distance and near.
  • Our team also performs forea testing, where we check the patient's natural eye position.
  • We perform the worth four dot tests to see if both eyes are working together at the same time, or if either eye suppresses the other.
  • We perform retinoscopy, which determines if the child needs glasses and what their prescription is.
  • We also examine the front part of their eye and try to get a look at their back part of the eye when we assess their ocular health. In school vision screenings, since we do not dilate our patients, we cannot assess the back of the eye completely. Thus, it's still very important to have a thorough eye exam.

The aim of the developmental school screening is to identify students who may have an undetected vision problem who then should schedule either a pediatric eye exam or developmental eye exam.

What follows the school vision screening?

As soon as the test is completed and the screening is completed, all the information is entered into the computer into a folder for each patient.

In the folder, we have a summary page where we discuss all the different findings we obtained for that patient. When we have the specific findings and results from each of the tests that we conducted, we inform the parents whether the findings were age-appropriate within normal limits, or if further testing is necessary. In some cases we will identify signs of a developmental or functional vision problem that requires a more advanced eye exam, in that case we would recommend that to the parents. If the child has a minus prescription or myopia, we would recommend that they visit a pediatric optometrist who can do a comprehensive eye exam and discuss the importance of  myopia management with the parents.

Upon completion, we send the results to the school, and the school forwards them to the parents.

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