Vision Screening in Schools

by SKHC Editor on April 24, 2007

The equipment possibilities read like a compendium of brand names – TITMUS, SureSight, GOOD – LITE, Photoscreener, Snellen, Lea Symbols, HOTV, Ishihara, RDE.  By now, all school nurses know the topic – its vision screening.  We also know that children are unable be successful in learning if problems with vision get in the way.
When deciding to screen, there are so many factors to consider.  Is it mandated in your state, or not?  In this time of shrinking resources, both human and financial, what avenues have you explored just to get the job done – Lions International, local optometrists, Prevent Blindness, trained volunteers?  What equipment will screen the greatest number of students in the least amount of time, but will do so with reliability and accuracy?  And once the screening is accomplished, how detailed does the follow-up become?  To what lengths does the school nurse go to get parents to realize the importance of the results, especially if they don’t have the resources to pay for a thorough eye exam, frames and lenses?  What have you found helpful in diminishing the impact of this barrier to learning on students that are referred? 
What do you do with your screening data?  Have you used it to convince the decision-makers in your district of the value of screening for students and of the value in having school nurses to do it?
There are as many answers as there are questions.  In all likelihood, the veterans among us have been doing screening “forever” and may be reluctant to try the newer technologies because “That’s the way we’ve always done it” and change is difficult, for some of us.  Sounds to me like a great subject for a school nursing research project – “The Efficacy and Cost-Effectiveness of the Various Methods of Vision Screening in Schools” – anyone interested?
Enough questions to ponder!  I’ll bet that you have questions of your own.  Your thoughts and ideas are welcome here.

Twyla Lato, RN, BSN, NCSN is a School District Nurse for a suburban community in southeast Wisconsin, and a past president of the Wisconsin Association of School Nurses. 



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