School News & Notes

Help Kids See Their Way To A Good Education


(NAPSI)—If any of the approximately 74 million schoolchildren in the U.S. is someone you care about, here’s something you may want to look into: According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), visual health can have a great influence on students’ academic performance. Visual disorders, the NIH says, are one of the best predictors of educational success. 

A Look Into The Eye

The eye is literally an extension of the brain. It is estimated that more than 60% of the brain has some duties associated with vision input, the American Optometric Association points out. Because of this, any condition that hampers vision or the processing of vision may result in learning problems. When diagnosed and treated early, however, most individuals have a better chance of learning efficiently.

That’s one reason the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommends children between the ages of 3 and 5 get vision screening to reveal problems that may lead to blindness without early treatment. 

So, many students, teachers, and parents may be glad to learn about an improved way to test children’s vision.

Seeing Vision Problems Clearly

A handheld, portable device called the Welch Allyn Spot Vision Screener by Baxter has been designed to help quickly and easily detect the risk factors of amblyopia and other vision issues in children as young as six months, all done from a non-invasive, three-foot distance. A bright touchscreen displays instant results, indicating whether measurements are in range or a complete eye exam is recommended. 

The machine objectively measures refractive errors and alignment between the eyes, which helps identify six risk factors of amblyopia. Select photo screening devices can examine both eyes at once and can take only a few seconds to perform the screening.

Results are easy to interpret and can be shared with family and other eye care specialists. It can easily be used in pediatric offices, schools and community vision screenings. The American Academy of Pediatrics and American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus recommend the use of photo screening instruments in young children.

The Effectiveness of Photo Screening

A study performed by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University found that photo screening correctly identified more students in need of a comprehensive eye exam than an ordinary screening could. The study also showed that instrument-based screening is time efficient and can be performed in a quarter of the time of visual acuity screening. 

One Family’s Story

The Malpass family, based in Washington State, includes two active boys, Miles, 12, and Parker, 8, who love to play all sorts of sports and are avid readers. When Miles complained that he could not see well out of his right eye, their parents had both boys looked at with a Spot Vision Screener. It was discovered that each boy’s eyes were slightly different sizes, causing a refractive error in the bad eye. The brain prefers to use the dominant eye, which made the vision worse in the non-dominant eye. An ordinary eye chart test at school had failed to catch the problem. Fortunately, it was correctable and both boys now wear glasses and see well at school and on the playing fields and ski slopes.

 Learn More

To read stories about the importance of vision screening, visit For more information on the Spot Vision Screener, doctors and patients can visit

"Children do better in school when any vision problems are attended to. Fortunately, there’s a device that makes vision testing faster, easier and more accurate than ever."