Prepare Kids for a Successful School Year with Vision Screening

MaryAnn Ragone DeLambily

Good vision is important to a child in order to succeed in the classroom. Eighty percent of learning comes through the visual pathways and for that to happen, good sight is needed. Therefore, it is essential to find any potential problem before it’s too late and interferes with school learning. 

Performance in School

Focus and Concentration

Multiple things can go wrong that cause a vision-related learning problem. It is very difficult to focus on school work when there is a vision problem.  Many children become fidgety and start to act out only to find out that the reason behind it is because they are not able to focus. They are struggling to read the fine print in their textbooks or cannot see the writing on the whiteboard or screen from far away. They are unable to concentrate on something that is taken for granted. Ultimately, this lack of focus or lack of concentration will cause a child to forego his work or tasks asked of him. Over time, this will negatively affect a child’s ability to learn and his performance in school will deteriorate. 

Performance in Sports and Recreation

What child doesn’t like to play outdoors? Not only is it play time but it helps children burn off energy so they come back to the classroom refreshed and ready to learn. But if they have vision related problems, this could mean that they are unable to participate in sports or activities that involve good hand-eye coordination or good distance vision like soccer, football, or baseball. When children do not get the physical exercise that is needed for good development, they will not only suffer from poor academic performance but in other social areas as well. 

Comprehension

Children learn by reading but if they are unable to read the words, make sense of the letters, or move their eyes in the direction of the sentences, they will have a very difficult time comprehending what they just read.  This will directly affect their ability to understand their class work and complete assignments. 

Confidence Builder

When we are confident, we feel good about ourselves and those around us, what we are doing, our work, and our future. Children feel confident when they are getting good grades, when they know the subject well, work hard, complete assignments, preparing for the day’s lesson and ultimately do well in school. For those children who cannot see the whiteboard, read their books, follow sentences, play sports or have recreation time, their confidence level is low. They will feel inadequate and worthless and will have trouble fitting in, making friends, and have any motivation or ability to do well in school. These children will fall behind in their studies, will not view school as enjoyable, and will eventually lose interest and/or act out. 

 Vision Screening Can Help

Back to School with Instrument-Based Vision Screening

Many children are struggling to see and due to the pandemic with home confinement and more screen time, there has been an increase in myopia (nearsightedness) among children.

According to Dr. Edward V. Cordes, Past International Director, Lions KidSight USA Foundation, “Fifty-five million students had to contend with full or partial school closures in 2020, which means they spent more time online than before the pandemic. Just how many more children now strain to see clearly and are struggling to learn? We just don’t know, and that’s the problem. These children urgently need to be identified and helped to ensure early and successful treatment.”

Almost 40 percent of children in the United States have never undergone a vision screening. The delivery of vision screening services for children going back to school is an important and effective way to determine if a child has a vision problem. The Plusoptix vision screener provides an accurate, non-contact, safe, and reliable screening for children. The detection of vision problems at an early age can be treated early on to prevent a child from having further complications that would impede learning in the classroom. 

Act Now

Before school is in session, or early on in the school year, be sure your child gets the proper vision care and eye health before it is too late.  Prepare now for a successful school year ahead. 

The Importance of Children’s Vision Screening by MaryAnn Ragone DeLambily

Why Early Vision Screening is Important

Eye Screening is intended to detect vision disorders that may lead to Amblyopia, also called lazy eye. Many vision disorders, if not detected and treated during the first years of life, can lead to permanent vision impairment, which neither glasses nor any other visual aid can address. 

Learning is Visual

Approximately 80% of all learning comes through the visual pathways. Any interruption or interference in the visual pathways can detain a child from performing to his maximum potential. If a child is not learning according to his potential or level, then this will cause a delay in the learning process and/or development causing difficulties and struggles as they progress in school.

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), 25 percent of all children, or 1 in 4 students, have a vision problem significant enough to impact their learning.

Why Do We Need Early Vision Screening

We need early vision screening for children for prevention. We all know about the importance of preventative medicine. This is no different. From the ages of 0 thru 3 years of age, amblyopia prevention is critical. It is at this time of prevention that Amblyopia or other complications can be treated. After the age of 3 years old, prevention is still necessary, but as children get older, it gets more difficult to treat. 

Early vision screening identifies risk factors in children from early as 6 months of age through 6 year of age. The earlier risk factors are identified through screening, the earlier it can be treated. 

Possible Vision Problems

Vision problems can lead to a loss of sight, learning difficulties or delayed development.  Some visual disorders lead to a disability called Amblyopia which can cause monocular blindness. According to Prevent Blindness, it is estimated that two to three percent of the general population suffers from Amblyopia. An amblyopic child who was never treated becomes an amblyopia adult with lingering difficulty in learning, sports, and maybe even a job or career.

What is Amblyopia?

Amblyopia is also called lazy eye. It is a disorder of sight due to the eye and brain not working well together.  It results in decreased vision in an eye that otherwise typically appears normal.  It is the most common cause of decreased vision in a single eye among children and younger adults. 

Strabismus and significant refractive errors are considered risk factors for Amblyopia which include myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, and anisometropia.  Refractive errors occur when parallel light rays are not brought to a sharp focus precisely on the retina, producing a blurred retinal image. 

Definition of Refractive Errors

* Nearsightedness (Myopia) – the cornea and lens bend (refract) incoming light rays so they focus precisely on the retina at the back of the eye resulting in blurred far vision.

* Farsightedness (Hyperopia) – In the farsighted eye, the light rays are refracted too far.  They meet behind the retina, resulting in blurred near vision.

* Astigmatism – In astigmatism, the curvature of the cornea is irregular, causing light rays to focus to more than one place so that a single clear image cannot be formed on the retina, resulting in blurred vision.

* Anisometropia – This means that the two eyes have a different refractive power (glasses prescription) so there is an unequal focus between the two eyes.

* Anisocoria – this means the pupil size is significantly different in size between each pupil. 

* Strabismus – There are different types of strabismus including esotropia where one or both eyes turn inward; Hypertropia when the visual axis of one eye is higher than the fellow fixating eye and Exotropia when one or both eyes turn outward. 

How Does Early Vision Screening help?

A vision screening may identify the need for a more comprehensive eye exam to be completed by an eye care professional. A screening can be done by lay people such as the Lions Clubs, medical and non-medical professionals, school nurses, pediatricians, and others. The intention of a screening is to identify, not diagnose, vision problems in the early treatable stages. It renders a result, if not passing, a referral to an eye care professional for further evaluation. 

Vision screening is important because it gives the opportunity to prevent, detect, and treat children that otherwise may be at risk of permanent and lifelong visual disability. A child may not even know their eyesight isn’t normal because it might be normal for them.  It is important to get these screenings done to find the problems that could be easily missed. 

The Best Time for Early Vision Screening is Now When it comes to young eyes, there is an important window of opportunity when certain vision conditions can be more easily corrected while children are still growing and developing. 

I Can See Clearly Now with 20/20 Vision – But what is 20/20 vision about?

Image of eye glasses in front of eye chart for 20/20 vision
MaryAnn Ragone DeLambily, MAS, MPH is a specialist in childs vision.
An Article by by MaryAnn Ragone DeLambily, MAS, MPH

Eye health and vision care is important at any age. Having 20/20 vision is the vision that most of us want because it means we have very good vision. Testing for good vision or 20/20 vision when children are young is especially important. It is during this time that we can prevent future problems if detection early on is successful. Let’s first start with asking, what is 20/20 vision about? 

WHAT DOES 20/20 MEAN TO PEOPLE?

The term 20/20 vision may mean different things to different people. For one, a phrase most of us are very familiar with is “hindsight is 20/20”, meaning: If you only had a better understanding of a situation, it might have turned out better or different. For others, a 2020 outlook could have meant a bright and perfect future.

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Best practice: How to perform vision screenings amid COVID-19

Plusoptix device measures refraction through sneeze guard

It seems like many people avoid going to the doctor for well check visits amid the Covid-19 pandemic. But don’t forget that instrument-based vision screening is very important! 1 of 5 children has visual disorders which may lead to amblyopia, often referred to as “lazy eye,” if not treated early enough. Thus, we would like to answer the following question: How to perform vision screenings amid COVID-19?

Well, how to perform vision screenings amid COVID-19? A contact-free and safe way of vision screening amid COVID-19 is more important than ever before. Plusoptix devices can detect the most prevalent visual disorders within less than 1 second from 3.3ft (1m) distance – even through sneeze guards. The earlier visual disorders are being detected, the easier the development of amblyopia (lazy eye) can be avoided.

How the Covid-19 pandemic affects vision screening

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La Plata Lions PVS Team screened 1228 children during the 2018-2019 club year

Today’s blog post is a newspaper article about the La Plata Lions PVS team.  The article was part of the last district 22-C newsletter. 

The La Plata Lions PVS team had another successful year again during the 2018-2019 club year. A grand total of 1, 228 preschool children were screened with a total number of 229 referrals to pediatric eye-care for evaluation and necessary treatment so these children can have clear vision during their education.

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Plusoptix Emphasizes Customer Service for its Child-Friendly Photoscreener

Plusoptix Screener with Hassle-free warranty

Vision screening programs need photoscreening devices that are reliable.

By Ryan Ham

As a member of the Athens, Ohio, area Lions Club, I have been involved in vision screening efforts for the past 4 years. Recently, we began looking for an updated device to use. We were looking to grow our outreach efforts to involve more kids. Knowing that other Ohio groups were fans of the Plusoptix vision screening devices, we decided to purchase four machines. Our district raised the needed money, and we received a matching grant from Lions International.

 

Plusoptix Vision Screeners are awarded for their child-friendly and ergonomic product design
Plusoptix Vision Screeners are awarded for their child-friendly and ergonomic product design

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Value of photoscreening programs – by Matthew Doerr, MD

Photoscreening can help identify children who need vision correction.

IPlusoptix Blog_Dr Doerr_Vision Screening

By Matthew Doerr, MD

Children are often referred to my pediatric ophthalmology practice due to a failed photoscreening. Frequently, the device-based evaluation was performed at school or a pediatrician’s office. These programs use a photoscreener like the Plusoptix Vision Screener. I am an advocate for the use of these systems. Photoscreening can identify children who need glasses but are too young to read an eye chart. The devices are also useful for children who may be otherwise uncooperative.

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Nursing services look to fill in vision screening gaps – by Jennifer Miller, Rn

Plusoptix Blog_School nurse_Vision Screening

Hearing is mandated in Arizona for school kids, but not vision.

BY JENNIFER L. MILLER, RN

I am the nursing supervisor for the Yavapai County Education Service Agency (YCESA) in Prescott, Arizona. As a needs-based organization, YCESA provides a variety of services to any interested local schools. Often, these are schools that cannot afford to hire full time staff. The services including nursing, counseling, physical and occupational therapy. The YCESA supports 28 schools in our rural, far-flung county.

Arizona mandates proof of a hearing test for school entry . No such requirement exists for vision. To emphasize the importance of vision screening, our team decided to write a grant. Grant’s goal was to create a screening program in the Prescott Unified School District. The program would ultilize our Plusoptix autorefractor. The school had been using traditional vision screenings methods, which are difficult for preschoolers to comply with. Even some kindergarteners can struggle with eye charts as well as children with special needs.

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Updated Vision Screening Statement Spurs Change in Practice – by Denise Brown, MD

Vision Screening with Plusoptix - Plusoptix Blog - By Denise Brown, MD
In January 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics updated its vision screening policy for pediatricians. The policy statement recommends that instrument-based screening in the office setting be first attempted between 12 months and 3 years of age and at annual well-child visits thereafter until acuity can be tested directly.
 
Read how the updated vision screening statement spurs change in a pediatrician’s practice in our today’s blogpost by Denise Brown, MD.

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