What Every Parent Should Know
About Vision Screening In Kids

Sometimes it is easy to know that your child is facing a challenge – as when your daughter had a cough, SpidermanPatchyou would probably bring her to a doctor for a check-up. Other times, it is much more difficult to know that there is a problem.

example, a child with a high glasses prescription, weak vision (amblyopia) or eye misalignment (strabismus), may struggle to see pictures and letters, but she may not understand that blurred vision is abnormal.

Children with weak vision (amblyopia) rarely tell their parents that pictures and letters appear blurred. Some children with vision problems may show difficulty paying attention while reading or they may appear easily distracted.

FACT: Many children with weak vision (amblyopia) do not show any signs of a problem.

The state of Massachusetts Policy Statement on Vision Screening (2004) recommends that all children have a vision test by their primary care physician prior to starting kindergarten (or within 30 days of starting). It also states that children who fail must be examined again by an eye care specialist such as an ophthalmologist or optometrist.

FACT: Preschool aged children (3-4 years old) are at the highest risk of having undiagnosed vision problems.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and the American Academy of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS) jointly recommend vision testing be performed by a child’s pediatrician at annual well check-ups as young as 3 years of age. Most pediatricians will attempt to test vision, but asking a 3 year old to read letters on a chart can be quite challenging. Because young children may not yet know all of the alphabet letters, vision testing in children younger than the age of 5 years may be limited.

FACT: Pediatric ophthalmologists and pediatric optometrists have many tests that can be used to accurately evaluate vision in younger children.

Recent large studies have shown that 95-97% of children can have their vision accurately examined by a pediatric ophthalmologist or pediatric optometrist. Therefore, any vision testing that is abnormal should be referred to a specialist to determine if weak vision (amblyopia) is present.

FACT: Children who are diagnosed and treated early have a much better chance of good vision than children who are diagnosed after age 7.

The most common pediatric vision problems are very treatable and good vision is possible with appropriate and regular eye care.



The Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus Service is located in the same office as the Electrophysiology Service, which measures vision in preverbal children using visual evoked potentials and preferential looking techniques.

Pediatric patients with cataracts, glaucoma, corneal and retinal disorders are provided a full range of diagnostic and therapeutic services in conjunction with other New England

New England Eyeware Optical Shop

Visual Electrophysiology, ERG & Psychophysics

Eye Plastics and Orbital Services

Schedule an appointment or contact us at 617-636-6769.


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New England Eye Center
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