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RESEARCH STUDY

RESEARCH

A Comprehensive Review of State Vision Screening Mandates for Schoolchildren in the United States

AUTHOR:

Madison D Wahl, Donna Fishman , Sandra S Block, Kira N Baldonado, David S Friedman, Michael X Repka, Megan E Collins

SPONSOR/INSTITUTION:

YEAR PUBLISHED:

2021

PUBLICATION:

Optometry and Vision Science, Journal of American Academy of Optometry.

KEY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The purpose of this study was to conduct an updated comprehensive analysis of vision screening requirements for school-aged children in the United States.

  • State laws pertaining to school-aged vision screening were obtained for each state. 

  • Additional information was obtained from each state's Department of Health and Education, through their websites or departmental representatives. A descriptive analysis was performed for states with data available.

  • Forty-one states require vision screening for school-aged children to be conducted directly in schools or in the community. 

  • Screening is more commonly required in elementary school (n = 41) than in middle (n = 30) or high school (n = 19). 

  • Distance acuity is the most commonly required test (n = 41), followed by color vision (n = 11) and near vision (n = 10). Six states require a vision screening annually or every 2 years.

  • Although most states require vision screening for some school-aged children, there is marked variation in screening methods and criteria, where the screening occurs, and grade levels that are screened. 

  • This lack of standardization and wide variation in state regulations point to a need for the development of evidence-based criteria for vision screening programs for school-aged children.