When an Eye Screening May Hide Another …

The Vision Impact Institute has always called for action for eye screening. Not only because they can detect a lot of vision impairments for children and adults, but also because it’s cheap, quick, and accessible world-wide. These screening are efficient even if they do not replace a proper Eye Exam. I would say: “it’s better than nothing”;. Our society can not afford to not even have one child – let alone thousands- slip through cracks and never reach their full potential because of preventable vision problems.

Within young populations, eye examinations seem like common sense. Think again. Even in developed countries like the United States, the following statistic exists: 86 percent of children age 12 and under have never had an eye exam(1). Everyone should know that untreated and undiagnosed vision problems can interfere with the ability to perform or learn to one’s full potential(2).  Children are particularly at risk, because they do not know how badly they see. They have no reference of the surrounding world, and therefore don’t realize their own impaired vision. And it is important to remember that vision disorders are the fourth regarded most common disability in the US. They are one of the most prevalent handicapping conditions in childhood. Eye and vision problems must be diagnosed and treated at an early age to help prevent vision problems and, in some cases, blindness. Vision problems can affect comprehension performance in reading, writing and concentration.

It’s not just children that can be affected by a lack of eye exams. A recent study has shown that more than 70 percent of juvenile offenders in the USA had undiagnosed vision problems. Eye exams can address underlying factors that contribute to juvenile delinquency, and can lead to proper vision adjustment in children who might struggle with learning and behavioral issues. A simple eye exam can also detect if a person has high blood pressure and thus is at risk for stroke . As with all preventive health measures, it’s important to have early and regular eye exams so that any problems may be diagnosed and treated from the onset of the conditions.

Last but not least, there are big differences from one country to another. In many countries, the small number of eye care professionals make eye screenings tough to perform.

Jean-Felix Biosse Duplan

President of the Vision Impact Institute

(1) Journal of Behavior Optometry, Visual Screening of Adjudicated Adolescents, Vol. 10, 1999

(1) Journal of Behavior Optometry, Visual Screening of Adjudicated Adolescents, Vol. 10, 1999
(2) Zaba, JN, Vision’s relationship to delinquency, illiteracy and learning problems, 2001