By Jacqui Mayhew 

Improve eyesight  for children could be more readily achieved if the quality of in-school vision screening was upgraded to take account of current inadequacies according to a recent US study just published. Maria Cristina Cruz-Wiley, a former optometrist and now a researcher at Sam Houston State University's Center for Research in Educational Leadership conducted an investigation on the relationship among vision screening assessments and elementary students' reading test scores. The study found that the standard US School Vision Screening exam conducted in every school yearly, only examines the quality of the child's distance vision.

Cruz-Wiley noted that the supposedly standard 'School Vision Screening' procedures vary from school to school in regards to personnel conducting the screening and in terms of key factors such as lighting and distance from the Snellen. Cruz-Wiley said. "Because these vision screeners are volunteers from the school, not trained ophthalmological professionals, they do not always comply with standards established by eye-care professionals, such as requiring students to read the chart at a distance of 20 feet and at eye level." This inevitably leads to incorrect and inconsistent results which almost certainly means vision defects go undetected at a time when it is likely to be much easier to improve eyesight  through corrective treatments such as overnight ortho-k contact lenses for children.

Cruz-Wiley's study evaluated 152 students enrolled in third through fifth grades from elementary schools in Texas. Using more effective testing procedures known as the "Adaptive Vision Screening" and the "Teacher Observation Checklist" respectively, she identified 14 percent more students in those grades as having vision problems than indicated by the "School Vision Screening" alone. "That is a significant number in terms of identifying vision defects and furthermore, through the identification of vision needs, early intervention strategies can be designed to improve eyesight  for struggling students who are not achieving expected standards," she said. These findings replicate problems found in most European countries including the UK and are a matter of concern given the potential implications for children in terms of their academic and personal development

Check if your child is suitable for overnight ortho-k corrective contact lenses .

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