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New Evidence-Based Research Shows that Universal Comprehensive Eye Exams Would Help More Children Succeed in School
Date:8/12/2009

to better school achievement and overall health outcomes which can lead to prevention of eye disease and developmental delays. Vision screenings vary in scope and are not designed to detect many visual problems. A comprehensive exam by an eye doctor does, and an eye doctor can also provide follow-up treatment.

"This report finds that vision screenings are not the most effective way to determine vision problems," said Deborah Klein Walker, EdD., principal author of the report and past-president of the American Public Health Association. "Screenings missed finding vision conditions in one-third of children with a vision problem and most of the children who are screened and fail the screening don't receive the follow-up care they need. This, despite the fact that many of the vision problems affecting children can be managed or even eliminated if they receive proper care right away."

Millions of children are without adequate care and preventable eye diseases and correctable vision problems are neglected. Many eye and vision disorders lack obvious signs and symptoms and can be prevented or treated through early detection, follow-up care and ongoing treatment. Undiagnosed and untreated vision problems in children can potentially limit the range of experiences and kinds of information to which the child is exposed. Visual learning plays an important role in how a child learns to understand and function in the world.

Studies indicate that one in four children have an undetected vision problem. Additionally, a quarter of school-age children suffer from vision problems that could have been addressed or eliminated if appropriate eye assessment programs and follow-up care had been in place when they started school.

"Starting school with good vision should be a part of every child's back-to-school plan," said Commission chair Edwin C. Marshall, O.D., M.P.H., Vice President for Diversity, Equi
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SOURCE National Commission on Vision and Health
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