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What is the difference between a school vision screening and an eye exam?

It is important to know that a vision screening by a child’s pediatrician or at his or her school is not the same as a comprehensive eye and vision examination by an optometrist. Vision screenings are a limited process and can’t be used to diagnose an eye or vision problem, but rather may indicate a potential need for further evaluation. They may miss as many as 60% of children with vision problems. Even if a vision screening does not identify a possible vision problem, a child may still have one.

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Passing a vision screening can give parents a false sense of security. Many school vision screenings only assess one or two areas of vision. They may not evaluate how well the child can focus his or her eyes or how well the eyes work together. Generally color vision, which is important to the use of color coded learning materials, is not tested.

Between the ages of 3 and 5, your child should have a thorough, in-person optometric eye examination to make sure his or her vision is developing properly and there is no evidence of eye disease. If needed, your doctor of optometry can prescribe treatment, including eyeglasses and/or vision therapy, to correct a vision development problem.

With today’s diagnostic equipment and tests, a child does not have to know the alphabet or how to read to have his or her eyes examined.

By comparing test results of the two examinations, our optometrist near Redmond Ridge, WA can tell how well your child’s vision is developing for the next major step into the school years.

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