Eye Exams vs. Vision Screenings for Kids

Eye Exams vs. Vision Screenings for Kids

Eye Exams vs. Vision Screenings for Kids

Eye Exams vs. Vision Screenings for Kids

Every parent should know the difference between pediatric eye exams and vision screenings. Many parents assume that in-school vision screenings are enough. Unfortunately, that is not the case. 


There are no criteria or standards for passing a vision screening. Furthermore, it can give some parents a false sense of security. Eye care professionals estimate that 15 to 20 percent of school-aged kids have a vision issue. A regular vision screening may miss many of these problems. 


What Is a Pediatric Vision Screening?


Vision screenings involve basic tests to identify vision problems in kids. They are very limited and are not a substitute for a comprehensive eye exam performed by an eye doctor. So, parents should not rely on such screenings entirely. 


A vision screening can only uncover problems like severe lazy eye and myopia. It does not detect many of the most common and extreme childhood eye conditions. Did your child pass a vision screening? If so, that does not mean they have perfect vision and healthy eyes. 


An incorrect assumption can prevent the discovery, diagnosis, and treatment of vision-threatening conditions. Other limitations of in-school vision screenings include the following:


  • Untrained Personnel


Often, volunteers or administrative personnel with limited training conduct in-school vision screenings. While well-intentioned, such individuals lack the knowledge and experience to evaluate and understand the screening results competently. 


  • Limited Testing


Most vision screenings test only for visual acuity. Of course, clear distance vision is beneficial to kids. However, it is also crucial for their eyes to work together and focus up close. They should also have healthy eyes. Unfortunately, a simple vision screening will fail to detect many vision and eye problems. 


  • Inadequate Testing Equipment


The type of eye testing equipment available may limit the scope of vision screening even when dome in a pediatrician’s office. Factors affecting test results include equipment maintenance, testing distances, room lighting, and more. 


Pediatric Eye Exam


Just as kids should visit the dentist and pediatrician for regular exams, they should also see a professional and licensed eye care professional for pediatric eye exams. Your child should get regular pediatric eye examinations even if they passed a vision screening.


Regular pediatric eye exams are the best way to ensure ocular and visual health. Parents should understand that undetected childhood vision and eye problems can significantly affect their children throughout their lives. After all, most ocular issues do not disappear. 


Children with undiagnosed and untreated eye and vision problems often experience many difficulties that tend to worsen as they grow. A typical pediatric eye exam may test the following:


  • Visual acuity

  • Eye tracking

  • Focusing skills

  • Binocular vision

  • Depth perception

  • Color vision

  • Eye teaming skills

  • Age-appropriate vision skills




Kids can suffer from subtle vision and eye issues that cause them trouble seeing clearly and performing well in school. Unfortunately, vision screenings cannot detect many of these subtle issues. Vision is one of the most important senses. Schedule annual comprehensive eye examinations for your kids to ensure they can learn, play, and feel their best.


For more on pediatric eye care, visit Eyes of Starwood at our Frisco, Texas, office. Call (972) 544-4300 to schedule an appointment today.

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