The American Academy of Pediatrics has released a new Policy Statement: Visual System Assessment in Infants, Children, and Young Adults by Pediatricians. As noted by the American Academy of Optometry, “one highlight of this policy is a strong endorsement of instrument based vision screening by pediatricians.” The policy does endorse comprehensive eye examinations for children at high risk for ocular abnormalities (e.g. preterm infants, those with positive family histories of strabismus, or systemic disease with known ocular manifestations). The policy, however, does not recommend comprehensive eye examinations for “otherwise healthy children” at any point, unless they are referred after failing a vision screening, or cannot be tested using vision screening procedures.
I see young children every day that have failed a vision screening. Most of these children are “true positives.” They failed the vision screening because the screening was able to detect a real problem. A few are “false positives.” They failed the vision screening, but no problem was identified at the full examination. But what about the “false negatives?” These are the children that are passing the vision screening even though they have a vision problem that needs attention. And I cannot help them because they are invisible. We can do better. Every child needs a comprehensive vision examination.
Today’s guest blogger is Dr. Ida Chung. Dr. Chung is currently the president of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD). She is also the Director of Optometric Education at Western University College of Optometry.
COVD has always been on the right track when it comes to what is best for children’s vision: every child needs a comprehensive vision examination. Only a thorough vision examination will evaluate all the skills needed for academic success— not only acuity and eye health, but also focusing, eye teaming, eye tracking, and visual processing skills.
A group of multidisciplinary pediatric vision and eye health experts recently published three articles on best practices for vision screenings. Vision screenings in young children (36-72 months old) focus on the detection of amblyopia and strabismus, which are the most common visual disorders in preschool children. The articles focus on best practices for vision screenings, because if…
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