Vision screening, is a brief exam that looks for potential eye problems or disorders. It is often done by pediatricians (as part of a child's regular well-child checkup), or sometimes by the school doctor, nurse, or optometrist. There are two kinds of vision screening in children: (1) the instrument-based (automated) screening for preverbal or preschool children, and the (2) optotype-based screening for the literate older children. Vision screening is not a means to diagnose a particular eye condition. It is simply a way of finding any risk factors that suggest the presence of eye disorders that need treatment, such as amblyopia and refractive errors.
Early detection and treatment of amblyopia produces better visual outcome but then treatment effects decline as the child turns 5 years old. Older children may have entrenched amblyopia and have less time available for treatment.
Vision screening should be a continuous process that begins in infancy and should be repeated several times throughout a child’s formative years. Children who failed vision screening should then be referred to a pediatric ophthalmologist for a comprehensive eye evaluation, diagnosis and treatment.
MD, DPBO, FPAO, FPCS
Dr. Barbara Roque is a specialist in pediatric ophthalmology, adult strabismus, and ophthalmic genetics. Her private practice began in 2006, after her post-graduate fellowship training at The Children’s Hospital in Westmead, University of Sydney System, Australia. Her patients are mostly children with ocular disease, refractive errors, cataracts, and eye misalignment.