Visual Screening and Eye Examinations

Visual Screening and Eye Examinations

Newborns arrive equipped with wonderful abilities to see and hear. Although their vision is not as sharp as that of an adult, newborns show responses to adult faces in the earliest days of life. Babies also have remarkable responses to sounds. They startle with loud noises and become quiet to the mother's voice. Sometimes, babies have problems with vision. These problems may be due to a birth defect, or may be caused by the effects of prematurity and/or other diseases.

Since many eye problems occur at an early age, it is important that your child receives proper eye care (eye examinations and visual screening tests). Vision problems can lead to developmental problems, learning disabilities and possibly permanent loss of vision. Monitoring your child's ability to see is an important part of the health of your growing child.

Facts about Vision Problems

  • About 5 percent to 10 percent of preschoolers have vision problems.
  • About 10 percent of school-aged children have vision problems.
  • Without proper screening, vision problems may not be detected and permanent loss of vision may occur.

Risk Factors for Problems with Vision

The following are some of the risk factors that may increase your child's risk of having some problems with his/her vision:

  • Maternal infections while pregnant
  • Heart disease in the infant
  • Problems with the actual structure of the eye present at birth
  • Family history of problems with vision
  • Hearing problems
  • Premature infant
  • Trauma to the eye
  • Maternal drug use

Visual Screenings

Per Ohio Department of Health Guidelines:
By Nov. 1, a student enrolled for the first time in either kindergarten or first grade must be given a vision screening in accordance with the requirements set forth by the OD (section 3313.673 of the Ohio revised code). He/she must then be screened in grades 3, 5, 7, 9 and 12.

If a child fails the vision screening he/she should see his/her pediatrician first who will then refer the child to a specialist if necessary.

Last Updated 07/2017

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The ophthalmology program at Cincinnati Children's is one of the largest centers in the nation for the care of children’s eyes, treating everything from common to very rare conditions.

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