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Vision Screening

The goal of the MDHHS vision screening program is to conserve the vision of Michigan children. Many children enter school with vision problems and early detection can aid in treating any problems before they result in vision loss. Amblyopia, or lazy eye, is a condition that can result in a permanent loss of vision in the developmental years. Identifying children with visual impairments and getting them to care is the only way to prevent eye conditions from impacting their ability to learn.

All county or district health departments have a Vision Screening Program and conduct screenings according to the Public Health Code frequency of screening. This includes vision screenings at least once between the ages of 3 and 5 years, prior to kindergarten entry, and in grades 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 (or in conjunction with driver’s education classes). Over half a million preschool and school-age children are screened in Michigan each year with nearly 59,000 (10-14%) referrals made to eye doctors annually.

Screenings include initial testing, retesting, and referral when indicated. Tests include:

  • Clearness of vision (visual acuity for nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism)
  • Eye muscle imbalance (one or both eyes turned)
  • Symptoms observed during the screening
  • A referral is made to a licensed ophthalmologist or optometrist after a child fails one or more of the screening tests or has an observable symptom
  • Only a licensed ophthalmologist or optometrist can diagnose visual conditions including Amblyopia
  • Follow-up is conducted by the local health department for all referrals to assure that care is received
Mason's Testimonial Smiling Kid with Glasses