Vision Screening

Visual health is an important part of a child’s overall health and well-being. Proper vision is important for a child’s movement, independence, play and learning. If left untreated, vision problems may become serious and prevent a child from reaching their full potential.

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health is partnering with the Lions Club to offer school-based vision screening to Senior Kindergarten students according to the Child Visual Health and Vision Screening Protocol, 2018 of the Ontario Public Health Standards (2018).

The Vision Screening program is being launched on March 1, 2019.

What is vision screening?

Vision screening is a series of three short and simple tests that can identify some risk factors for certain vision disorders.

It is a free service that will be offered in the school-setting to SK students.

Vision screening does not replace the need for a full exam by an optometrist on a yearly basis. Children and youth (0 - 19 years old) are eligible for a free exam by an optometrist ever 12 months through their Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). To find a local optometrist, please visit findaneyedoctor.ca.

Why is vision screening important?

Vision screening is an effective and non-invasive way to identify children with potential vision problems.

Visual health is an important part of a child’s overall health and well-being. Proper vision is important for a child’s movement, independence, play and learning. If left untreated, vision problems may become serious and prevent a child from reaching their full potential.

What vision screening tests are used?

The following three (3) vision screening tests are used:

  1. HOTV visual acuity chart (letter book) – this test measures sharpness of eyesight/clarity of vision.
    HOTV visual acuity chart
     
  2. Randot Preschool Stereotest (3D picture book) – this test measures the ability to recognize depth.

    Randot Preschool Stereotest (3D picture book)
     

  3. Autorefractor (automated camera) – this test automatically screens for some refractive errors such as near and farsightedness.

    Autorefractor

If my child wears glasses, do they need to be screened?

Children wearing glasses will still be screened using the HOTV visual acuity chart and the Randot Preschool Stereotest. They will leave their glasses on for these tests.

How will parents be notified that vision screening is being offered at their child’s school?

Parents and guardians of SK students will receive a pre-screening Parent/Guardian Information Leaflet at least 10 days in advance of the screening date. This leaflet provides parents/guardians with information about vision screening and advises them to contact Public Health’s Let’s Talk Parenting phone at 1-800-265-7293 ext. 3616 line if they:

  • Have questions about vision screening
  • Need help with finding an eye doctor
  • Wish to opt their child out of the Vision Screening program

What happens after a child has been screened? 

Parents/guardians of all SK students screened will receive a Parent Notification Form that notes their child’s overall result (i.e. PASS or REFER) with  recommended next steps.

Parents/guardians of SK students whose overall screening result is a REFER will receive a Reminder Letter within 20 business days of the screening date.

What is a comprehensive eye exam?

A comprehensive eye exam is an assessment of the eye and vision system that includes: the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disorders of refraction, sensory and oculomotor disorders and dysfunctions of the eye and vision system, and eye disease. This service includes:

  • Reviewing child’s health history and the family history of eye problems
  • Checking visual acuity and 3D vision
  • Checking eye alignment
  • Checking eye focusing ability
  • Checking eye health (i.e. allergies, infections)
  • Identifying if the child is meeting visual developmental milestones
  • Determination of need for eye glasses or other treatment (i.e. eye drops, vision therapy, a referral to a healthcare provider, etc.)

Vision screening cannot diagnose vision disorders, and it is NOT a replacement for a comprehensive eye exam by an eye doctor.

How often should an infant or child go to the eye doctor?

The Ontario Association of Optometrists recommends that all children have their first eye exam at 6 months old, again at 2-3 years old, and every year after that.

Children and youth (0-19) are eligible for a free exam by an eye doctor every 12 months through their Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) card.

For more information on exams for infants and children, please visit the Ontario Association of Optometrists website.

We don’t currently have a family eye doctor. Can you help?

Please call Public Health’s Let’s Talk Parenting phone line at 1-800-265-7293 ext. 3616 for assistance with finding an eye doctor in your area.

You can also search for an eye doctor in your area through the College of Optometrists of Ontario or the Ontario Association of Optometrists.

I need assistance paying for the cost of prescription glasses for my child. What are my options?

Please call Public Health’s Let’s Talk Parenting phone line at 1-800-265-7293 ext. 3616 to discuss programs that assist families with the cost of prescription glasses for children.

Below are some programs and organizations that may assist with the cost of prescription eyeglasses.

Program      

Details        

Eye See…Eye Learn

The Eye See…Eye Learn® program encourages parents to book a comprehensive eye exam for their junior kindergarten child with a local, participating optometrist. The eye exam is covered by OHIP

If a child needs glasses, they will receive a complimentary pair donated by Plastic Plus, Modern Optical Canada and the participating optometrist.

Find a participating optometrist near you and book your child’s Eye See…Eye Learn® eye exam. Participating doctors will have Eye See…Eye Learn doctor next to their name.

Lions Club International

The Lions Club may provide financial assistance for the cost of prescription eyeglasses.

Contact your local Lions Club organization for more information on assistance with prescription glasses expenses.

Ontario Works Families receiving assistance from Ontario Works can contact their local Ontario Works office for more information on assistance with vision care expenses for your children, including prescription eyeglasses.
Ontario Disability Support Program Families receiving assistance Ontario Disability Support Program can contact their local Ontario Works office for more information on assistance with vision care expenses for your children, including prescription eyeglasses.
Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) The IFHP provides limited, temporary coverage of health-care benefits to resettled refugees, refugee claimants and certain other groups who are not eligible for provincial or territorial health insurance.
Non-Insured Health Benefits Program (for First Nations and Inuit)

Non-insured health benefits for First Nations and Inuit.

The program provides eligible clients with coverage for benefits not available under other federal, provincial, territorial or private health insurance.

Vision care benefits are covered in accordance with program policies. These policies are set out in the NIHB Vision Care Benefit Policy Framework and Vision Care Benefit List. Benefits must be provided by an NIHB-recognized provider.