Failed Vision Screening
Vision screening successfully identifies children with visual impairment or risk factors for poor visual development and allows for prompt diagnosis and treatment. Vision screening should be performed throughout childhood, with age appropriate methods. It may be performed by pediatricians, nurses, technicians or lay volunteer groups. Some screeners utilize photoscreeners for efficiency and accuracy.
Many parents question the results of vision screening, attributing poor performance to inattention or their child being “cranky”. It is our overwhelming experience that children are smarter than we think. They behave in certain ways for a reason, and we warn against ignoring failed vision screening results.
The American Academy of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus outlines a specific screening protocol for each age group (AAPOS Vision Screening Recommendations). Depending on your child’s age, a screening exam may incorporate inspection of the anterior segment, pupil and red reflex, cover testing, acuity testing and/or corneal light reflex examination. If your child fails the vision screening, it is imperative that you proceed with a more complete exam. Early diagnosis and treatment saves vision. If therapy is initiated in a timely fashion, prognosis improves greatly.
Not all children require a comprehensive ophthalmic examination, and screening provides a cost effective and efficient way to identify those who would benefit most from further specialty care. However, if your child has a known risk factor for eye disease, symptoms of visual impairment or a family history of ophthalmic problems, a comprehensive evaluation is appropriate.