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On the issue of required preschool vision exams

1 December 2003


Several states have passed legislation - and others are currently under consideration - requiring comprehensive preschool vision examinations. Such action has stemmed from data showing the prevalence of vision problems in this age group and the potential impact on undetected visual dysfunction could have upon learning. This movement has surfaced as a public health issue, however there has been some debate among the health professions, specifically optometry, ophthalmology, and pediatrics on the merits of such a requirement. There seems general agreement that learning disabilities are a common condition in the pediatric population. The core disagreement is whether a visual dysfunction can give rise to a learning disability, and if so, whether a simple screening test is adequate in detecting such problems. The possible sources of disagreement and the various views and on this issue are examined and a review of literature, current practice guidelines, and current legislation for children's vision is presented.


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