As summer winds down, back-to-school preparations are well underway for parents and children. To prepare children for a successful school year, parents should be encouraged to make their children's eye health a priority through vision screening tests.
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, vision assessment should begin as young as 12 months. Good vision dramatically improves a child’s ability to learn and their overall well-being. However, children are often unaware of vision issues, especially if they are unable to communicate.
Screening for vision problems is an appropriate part of school health services, primarily carried out by a professional school nurse. According to Prevent Blindness, 40 states offer some form of mandated vision screening in schools while only 16 states require exams for pre-school aged children. Because policies differ from state to state, it’s essential to visit the Prevent Blindness website to learn more.
It is critical that children undergo frequent vision testing, either by a comprehensive eye exam or instrument-based method, to detect or prevent amblyopia before its development becomes irreversible. Amblyopia, also called lazy eye, is a disorder of sight due to the eye and brain not working well together. It results in decreased vision in an eye that typically appears healthy.
What is the Difference Between Visual Acuity Measurement and Instrument-Based Screening?
The goal of vision screening is to detect abnormal vision or risk factors that threaten visual development. Visual acuity subjectively measures how well a child can see using a wall chart. The child needs to cooperate to look at the correct line and verbally relay what numbers, letters or objects they’re seeing. Visual acuity testing can detect refractive errors but does not detect eye misalignment and may miss differences between eyes. Visual acuity screening can also identify non-refractive vision problems that may be caused by problems with the retina, eye structure, or neurological connection between the eye and the brain.
Instrument-based screening is the preferred method of detection, especially in children younger than three, when visual acuity screening is less reliable. Instrument-based screening is a form of pediatric vision screening that uses a specialized camera to determine whether a child has problems seeing clearly. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS) recommend the use of photoscreening instruments in children as young as 12 to 36 months before they can complete a chart-based visual acuity test.
In a recent case study performed at Virginia Commonwealth University, researchers examined the effectiveness of using a photoscreening device in school-aged children. In the study, 1,593 third-grade children received both instrument-based screening and traditional visual acuity testing. If the children were referred for further examination, they were provided with a comprehensive eye exam to assess the accuracy of the referral.
The researchers found 516 of the students, or 32.4%, were referred from the result(s) of either or both screening methods for further evaluation. Subsequent comprehensive eye exam results showed that referral from both screening methods was a strong predictor of children needing a vision intervention, with 94% of those referred requiring glasses or a more in-depth follow-up examination. Additionally, 78% of students referred by instrument-based vision screening alone needed an intervention, compared to only 50% indicated by visual acuity testing alone. This research shows how instrument-based screening improves screening accuracy and can help to identify more children in need of visual intervention.
Welch Allyn Upgrades Spot™ Vision Screener to Screen Smaller Pupils
In late April 2018, Welch Allyn announced an enhancement to Spot Vision Screener, an instrument-based screening device capable of effectively screening pupils as small as 3mm, to increase access to vision-saving exams for the adult population. To accommodate the growing population of people with vision-reducing eye disease, a new calibration curve in the Spot Vision Screener was required to measure smaller pupils effectively.
Even though the device was initially designed to improve early detection of amblyopic risk factors that lead to vision loss and blindness in children, Welch Allyn added capabilities to identify vision disabilities in adults. It’s important to note Spot Vision Screener can be used as a pediatric vision screener to refer children with vision problems for a comprehensive eye exam. It can also be used as an autorefractor as part of a comprehensive eye exam, but the device by itself does not perform a complete eye exam.
CME Corp proudly offers the Welch Allyn VS100-B Spot Vision Screener along with accessories and service plans on our website. CME is not only your gateway to the newest advancements to medical products and equipment, but we’re here to help you in choosing and ordering the right equipment for your facility. We can offer budget-conscious alternatives as well as arrange demos and trials.
Along with helping you get the right equipment, CME has a complete array of logistics services to help you get your new equipment assembled and delivered to the room. For more information on any of our related services please call 1-800-338-2372.