Children's Vision Screening

Why is there a need for children's vision screening? ► Why is there a need for children's vision screening? ▼

Last year, we screened over 22,000 children for possible vision problems. But you may be asking why is there a need for Children’s Vision Screening? Here are some quick facts you may or may not be aware of...

  • One in four school-age children has a vision problem.
  • One in twenty pre-school age children has a vision problem.
  • Some of these vision problems can lead to permanent vision loss if not detected and treated early.
  • Vision disorders are the fourth most common disability in the United States.
  • Nearly 80% of all learning during a child’s first twelve years is through vision.
  • 86% of children (approximately 166,155 in Iowa) will not receive a comprehensive eye exam prior to entering school
  • 74% of juvenile delinquents had failed at least one vision test.

Even though Prevent Blindness Iowa has reached thousands of Iowans through our screening and education programs, much remains to be done. Iowans are still suffering from vision problems that could be prevented. Vision problems, such as amblyopia, in young children often go undetected until the damage is irreversible and partial sight is lost. But, if detected and treated early, nearly 50% of all vision problems can be prevented.

Prevent Blindness Iowa vision screenings ► Prevent Blindness Iowa vision screenings ▼

Prevent Blindness Iowa vision screenings are conducted according to protocols established by leading experts in children’s eye care. All children participate in a distance visual acuity screening, the best single test to detect vision problems. The children are also screened for strabismus, or muscle imbalance, using the Random Dot “E” stereopsis test. This test determines whether or not the eyes are working together. A child who fails the stereopsis test is at greater risk for strabismus. It is recommended for children under 10 who have passed a visual acuity test.

Who do we screen? ► Who do we screen? ▼

This program is targeted towards preschool children in licensed preschools and day care centers throughout Central Iowa. The children will benefit by a free vision screening to catch potential vision problems before it is too late. Prevent Blindness will offer MTI photoscreening and visual acuity screenings on-site to preschoolers at licensed day care centers and preschools. The target population of this project is children ages 3 to 6.

Due to costs, the MTI Photoscreener is only used with children who would not otherwise be able to be screened, for example: infants, preverbal children and developmentally disabled children. The photoscreener uses a flash to produce a reflection from within the eyes of the child capturing the retinal reflex. The size, shape and location of this reflex can be examined in the photos to detect problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and misaligned eyes.

After the screening ► After the screening ▼

Good follow-up procedures enable us to know if children referred for a possible eye problem visit with their eye care professional for a complete eye exam. For each child referred for further examination, Prevent Blindness volunteers and staff follow-up with the daycare or preschool director and/or the parent.

VSP Sight for Students ► VSP Sight for Students ▼

Working in partnership with Vision Service Plan's (VSP's) Sight for Students program, Prevent Blindness America and its affiliates distributed more than 4,000 vouchers for free eye exams and glasses in the program year.

This past year, VSP vouchers distributed by Prevent Blindness America and its affiliates provided $558,703 in eye exams and eyeglasses for the children of financially challenged families.

Over the years, the VSP Sight for Students program has remained a cornerstone of Prevent Blindness America's efforts to provide children and their families with the support they need for healthy vision. Our organization and the families served by this program remain grateful for this lasting and beneficial partnership. Download the VSP Sight for Students application.

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