Legislation would require children to have eyes checked for school

April 16, 2013

Oregon looks to require all children to undergo vision screening before entering school

Salem, OR-At an elementary school in rural Lane County, OR, 30% of the children given a vision screening were found to have potential vision problems. Half of those children also struggled with basic literacy.

HB 3000, now before the state legislature, would require all Oregon children entering kindergarten or first grade to document that their eyes had been screened by an optometrist, an ophthalmologist, a nurse, or a charity eye screening such as the services offered by the Lions Clubs or the Elks Club. The vision records would then become part of the child’s school files.

Joannah Vaughan who manages the Elks Club’s Children’s Eye Clinic Vision Screening Program, which is offered free across the state, said low-income children test especially high for vision abnormalities such as myopia or amblyopia.

Jennifer Smythe, OD, MS, dean, Pacific University College of Optometry, Hillsboro, OR, said: “I am one of those doctors who sees 13-, 14- and 15-year-olds who has to tell parents that their children may not have struggled if we had caught their vision problem earlier.”

A vote on HB 3000 by the House Education Committee is expected this month.