Birth through 2 years (Asymptomatic/low risk): At 6 to 12 months of age
Birth through 2 years (At Risk): At 6 to 12 months of age or as recommended
3 through 5 years (Asymptomatic/low risk): At least once between 3 and 5 years of age
3 through 5 years (At Risk): At least once between 3 and 5 years of age or as recommended.
6 through 17 years (Asymptomatic/low risk): Before first grade and annually thereafter
6 through 17 years (At Risk): Before first grade and annually, or as recommended thereafter.
When certain visual skills have not developed, or are poorly developed, learning is difficult and stressful. A child may not tell you that he or she has a vision problem because they may think the way they see is the way everyone sees. Children will typically attempt to do the work, but with a lowered level of comprehension or efficiency. Signs that may indicate a child has a vision problem include:
Undetected and untreated, vision problems can elicit some of the very same signs and symptoms commonly attributed to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), like hyperactivity and distractibility. Due to these similarities, children eliciting these symptoms should have a comprehensive vision exam with their doctor of optometry to avoid misdiagnosis.
The extent to which a child is at risk for the development of eye and vision problems determines the appropriate re-evaluation schedule. Children with ocular signs and symptoms require a prompt, comprehensive examination. Furthermore, the presence of certain risk factors may necessitate more frequent examinations based on professional judgment. Factors placing an infant, toddler or child at significant risk for eye and vision problems include:
Vision screening programs are intended to identify children or adults who may have undetected vision problems. If the screening indicates a vision problem, they are referred for further evaluation. However, a vision screening can't be relied on to provide the same results as a comprehensive eye and vision examination.
To understand why vision screenings may not find a vision problem, let's look at the factors that can limit their effectiveness.
People often misunderstand what passing a vision screening means. The information obtained from a vision screening is comparable to the information obtained from a blood pressure measurement. A patient's blood pressure may be in normal range, but that doesn't mean that you do not have other health problems. It's merely a single measure of one aspect of your overall health. Just like you need a complete physical to evaluate your total health, only a comprehensive eye and vision examination can evaluate your overall eye health and vision status.
Vision is more than just the ability to see clearly or having 20/20 eyesight. It is also the ability to understand and respond to what is seen. There are many basic visual skills beyond seeing clearly that are important to supporting academic success.
Other visual perceptual skills include:
If any of these visual skills are lacking or not functioning properly, a child will have to work harder to learn as effectively. Students who struggle with a learning-related vision problem may experience headaches, eyestrain and fatigue. Parents and teachers need to be alert for symptoms that may indicate a child has a vision problem.