Vision screening of pre-school children is conducted by health department technicians at least once between the ages of three and five years. School-age children are screened in grades 1, 3, 5, 7, 9.
Michigan law requires that children entering school be tested for vision problems prior to enrollment. Many children enter school with vision problems. Children usually do not know that they see differently. Early identification of an eye problem is important. Conditions like amblyopia, or lazy eye, can be prevented if detected and treated during pre-school years.
Screening is available to all children in Michigan without cost and screenings are conducted in public, private, and charter schools as well as at the health department.
Vision screening of pre-school and school-age children includes tests for clearness of vision, eye muscle balance, farsightedness, and symptoms of eyesight problems. All vision screening and testing procedures are approved by the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH). The tests used to screen pre-school and school-age children are not diagnostic, but identify children who may have vision problems that require additional evaluation and follow-up. A referral is made to an eye care professional after a child has failed one or more of the battery of vision screening tests. Five to ten percent of the children screened are referred to an eye care professional. In Michigan, more than 70,000 referrals are made to eye doctors annually.
- The battery of vision screening tests is administered by local health department technicians who have been trained by the Vision Consultant in the Division of Family and Community at MDCH. Our health department technicians complete a two-week training course which includes practicums with all ages of children.
- Quality assurance is provided for approximately 200 local health department school screening technicians through field visits and skills update workshops provided yearly. Consultation is also provided to Vision Program Coordinators in all local health departments.
- The Vision Screening Program includes initial screening, retesting, and referral of children. Follow-up for all screening is required in an effort to assure that care is received.
- The Vision Screening Program screens more than 850,000 pre-school and school-age children in Michigan each year.
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