“EYE CARE” For You: Vision Screening vs Eye Exam


Dr. J. A. Parker
Dr. J. A. Parker

A commonly asked question is: My child just had a vision screening at school and passed. Do they still need an eye exam?

The answer is absolutely Yes. School vision screenings are designed to detect gross vision problems. But kids can pass a screening at school and still have vision problems that can affect their learning and school performance. A comprehensive eye exam by an Optometrist can detect vision problems a school screening may miss. Also, a comprehensive eye exam includes an evaluation of your child’s eye health, which is not part of a school vision screening.

Nearly 50% of vision screenings will not detect children who are far-sighted. Because of this, a comprehensive dilated eye examination will allow the prescription to be measured when the eyes are relaxed so that the “true” prescription will be measured.

In addition, learning related vision problems are assessed in more detail during a comprehensive eye examination. The vision screening may identify such problems as strabismus (crossed-eyes), amblyopia (lazy eyes), and eye movement disorders. But to determine if vision therapy is required to correct these problems, a full eye exam is still required.

Vision screenings are in no way designed to be a substitute to a comprehensive eye examination. If your child has had a screening, you have made the first step to finding out if there is a problem, but the comprehensive eye examination will reveal all the information needed to know if your child’s eyes are functioning properly and are healthy.

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), infants should have their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months of age. After that, kids should have routine eye exams at age 3 and again at age 5 or 6 (just before they enter kindergarten or the first grade). After that time, it is recommended to have your eyes examined every year.

If you are in need of an eye care provider, I invite you to visit EnVision Eye Care. We specialize in children’s eye care.


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