Are School Vision Screenings Sufficient For Testing Your Child’s Eyes?

Are School Vision Screenings Sufficient For Testing Your Child’s Eyes?

Vision Screenings performed in schools and pediatricians offices typically use a Snellen chart to determine if a child is able to see 20/20. If they can see 20/20 in each eye, they pass. Depending on the criteria of the screener, if the vision is 20/30 or worse, it’s a fail and the child is then referred to an eye doctor.

Did you know that 80% of a child’s learning occurs through their vision? A properly functioning visual system is imperative for your child to reach his or her potential in school. According to the American Public Health Association, one in four children has undiagnosed eye problems which can interfere with learning and lead to academic and/or behavioral problems. However, it is important to know that these children frequently do not report symptoms because they think everyone sees the same way they do. Perhaps more alarming is that many of these children will pass a vision screening test, giving parents and educators a false sense of security that the visual system is normal and any difficulties experienced in school are not vision-related. The American Optometric Association estimates that vision screenings alone miss 25-30% of children with visual abnormalities.

The problem with a pass/fail system based on 20/20 on a chart is that vision is so much more than just visual acuity! 20/20 eyesight determines how well we can see to drive or to see a whiteboard. It tells us if we can focus (at least temporarily) to see a book or a computer screen. But there are many things 20/20 eyesight will never tell us.

It will never tell us if your child:

  • Is able to consistently and comfortably see clearly all day long
  • Can focus back and forth to the whiteboard and book
  • Sees single rather than double
  • Can read without getting eyestrain or a headache
  • Can follow words on a page without losing his place
  • Can read without wanting to fall asleep
  • Has healthy eyes


Vision screenings typically measure vision without screening for hyperopia or farsightedness. Kids who are farsighted are able to use the focusing muscles of the eye to see 20/20 even though they may need glasses. This type of focusing (called accommodation) can temporarily provide vision clear enough to pass a screening, but it strains the visual system and is difficult to maintain in many learning-related activities. Farsightedness accounts for more learning-related vision issues than nearsightedness, making it a priority for optometrists to treat early.

The doctors at Kirkwood Eye Center are trained to diagnose and treat your child’s eyes, helping you maximize your child’s vision for a great year of learning. Please call us today at 817-416-2010 or visit us online at to schedule and ask us about our WOW! guarantee on children’s eyewear.

Click here for additional information on when to schedule your pediatric eye exam.




No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.