Why In-school Vision Screenings Don't Show the Full Picture

Why In-school Vision Screenings Don't Show the Full Picture

Many schools throughout the U.S. conduct vision screenings as a service. The screenings aim to identify vision issues that may affect academic performance. They seek to identify kids who may have undiagnosed vision disorders and refer them to eye care professionals for further evaluation.


Do School-based Vision Screenings Provide the Full Picture?


The simple answer to this question is no. You cannot rely on vision screenings to provide the same results as a comprehensive eye exam performed by an optometrist. In-school vision screenings are very limited. Thus, parents should never consider them a substitute for comprehensive eye exams performed by an eye doctor.


Reliance on school vision screenings can lead to many complications for your child. After all, vision screenings can only identify a limited number of vision problems. They cannot detect many of the more severe visual and eye problems experienced by kids. Did your children pass a school vision screening with flying colors? If so, that does not mean they have perfect vision.


Limitations of School Vision Screenings


The modern learning environment favors children with good visual skills. School vision screenings cannot detect most of the vision issues that hinder success in school. Unfortunately, many parents rely on such screenings and thus neglect to schedule comprehensive pediatric eye exams for their kids. Trained eye doctors use specialized assessments and clinical tools to assess the visual ability and health of the eye.


Children are visual learners, so eye care professionals recommend that kids undergo comprehensive eye exams. After that, they should have regular comprehensive eye exams to help detect and address any vision problems. The main limitations of school-based vision screenings include:


  • Limited testing

  • Inadequate testing equipment and environment

  • Untrained personnel


Why A 'Pass' Is Not Enough


A simple vision test does not give valuable information about other visual abilities that could affect how the brain gets information. School vision screenings may appear helpful. However, they tend to provide a false sense of security.


It is crucial to have your child's entire visual system evaluated by an eye doctor. A pediatric eye doctor will assess eye tracking, eye teaming, focusing, eye-hand coordination, and other skills to ensure your child has the requisite visual abilities for successful learning.


What Happens If Your Child Fails an In-school Vision Screening?


If this happens, it may indicate that your child has a serious eye condition like eye turn, lazy eye, crossed eyes, or severe myopia. In this case, you should schedule a comprehensive eye exam for a more thorough assessment as soon as possible. Your pediatric eye doctor will identify the underlying cause of the problem and determine the appropriate solution.



Vision and eye problems do not heal on their own. Left unaddressed, they leave kids growing into adults with severe vision or eye irregularities. Eye care experts recommend that kids undergo regular comprehensive eye exams. Basic school-based vision screenings do not reveal much. As a parent, you must remain alert to any behavior that could signal a severe vision or eye issue affecting your child.


For more information about school-based vision screenings or to schedule a comprehensive eye exam, contact Lifetime Vision and Eye Care at our Miami Gardens, Florida office by calling  (305) 902-3320.

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