Are School Vision Screenings Reliable?

Published on
February 23, 2022

According to the American Optometric Association, the average school screening looks for less than 4% of what a comprehensive eye exam can determine and fails to detect 75% of children with vision problems. These screenings cannot accurately identify many of the visual problems children may have. There are a number of issues, such as near vision problems, eye tracking problems, problems with focusing, and difficulties with eyes working together when reading from a book or computer screen, each of which has an effect on learning. A vision screening determines whether a student is able to see the appropriate sized target 20 feet away. However, less than 25% of what the student does academically in a classroom setting takes place at that distance. The academic demand is likely to increase as time goes on, but the screening requirements remain constant. In light of all these factors, a school vision screening alone is simply not sufficient. 

Do school vision screenings have any value?

These screenings are seen by some parents as a formality, and they do not bother getting their kids properly examined if they fail the screening. In fact statistics show that up to 67 percent of children who fail vision screenings do not receive an eye examination or vision care from an optometrist.
While the school screening is limited in value, it is still a good first indication if your child has any issues with distance vision. While Dr. McBryar hopes that the standards for school screenings evolve with our understanding of vision; she still believes that parents should have their children do school screenings and bring those results in when they schedule a developmental eye exam. 

Why are school vision screenings not enough?

Performing a developmental comprehensive eye exam is always recommended when a child is about to start formal schooling. In addition, when you have a student who appears to be struggling academically, but you don't know for sure why they're not able to achieve their cognitive potential, they should be scheduled for a developmental eye exam. By assuming that all potential vision problems have been ruled out by the vision screening, it may result in a student getting pushed towards 504 or IEP plans, and a diagnosis of ADD or ADHD when in fact it may be caused in part to the underlying vision problem.


Vision therapy is well worth the response, time and effort. Our Son had a hard time focusing and writing neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time if previously took. His abilities to focus improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent, we wanted learning to be fun for our Son, and vision therapy made this possible.

Amanda T.

Vision Therapy is well worth the expense, time and effort. Our son had a hard time focusing handwriting neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time it previously took his abilities to focus and improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent you wanted learning to be fun for our son and vision therapy made this possible.

Alexa H.

Vision Therapy has given or son the tools he needs to be able to scan and read the written word more effectively and efficiently.

He love working with John and these working sessions give him the motivation to gladly work on his homework assignments.

It amazed us to see the difference in the tracking of his eyes and along a line of it's from the beginning to the end of the treatment.

Dr. McBryar , Kristen and John  are all marvelous and we would recommend them to anyone I only wish that we would have found them sooner!

Charlotte M.

Prior to coming to the institute for vision development my son complained of daily headaches. Therapy has eliminated his headaches completely. I love knowing my son is able to learn pain-free for the rest of his life because of the work that has been done over just a few weeks in this office. He he absolutely loved coming that didn't even feel like going to a doctor or therapy. We are grateful for the relief he was able to find by coming here.

Thank you!

Olivia C.

Seems much less frustrated with life

Reads non-stop and fast

Spelling abilities have been hugely improved

Seems much more confident

Thank You!!!

Kelly O.

When we first came to the practice, my son did not have huge issues, but lots of small ones- trouble with reading, sports (hitting the baseball consistently), coordination, etc- that were not easily detectable,but when put together presented issues. The staff here were all very professional and loving towards him. While I was concerned in the reading, my son was concerned with the athletic side. Seeing improvement night off the bat gave him confidence that i have nor seen in him and made him want to not only Come to therapy, but also made him want to work hard. He has surpassed his grade level and above in reading and hit his first home run this year! Thank you!!!

Alice M.
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