Online Program

Determining what vision screening to require in schools and the best vision screening instruments

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 3:10 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Tara Wolff, MPH, Washington State Board of Health, Olympia, WA
Ellen Silverman, RN, PhD, Department of Health, Washington Department of Health, Olympia, WA
In Washington state, the State Board of Health determines the types of vision screening to require of schools, the grades when students must be tested, and the vision screening instrument schools must use.  Many different factors must be considered when updating early detection requirements. In 2005, the legislature enacted legislation directing that an expert workgroup be formed to reevaluate visual screening of children in public schools and make any recommendations regarding changes to the vision rules to the Board and to report back to the legislature.  In 2011, the Board was asked if school districts could offer vision screening in addition to distance central vision acuity required by rule. The Board created temporary provisions allowing schools to conduct additional vision screening.  Recently, some school nurses have reported problems with the Snellen test chart - indicating that it no longer represents a suitable standard of care.  This point of view was explored by conducting a survey of school nurses in 2014. According to the survey, Snellen letters is the most commonly used method, followed by Illiterate E, House/Apple/Umbrella, Sloan Letters, HOTV Letters, LEA Symbols and a few others. The Board convened an expert vision workgroup to review all of these inputs and suggest ways that the school vision screening requirements might be updated.  At the end of this presentation, participants will be able to list the steps Washington used to answer questions about vision screening requirements in schools and to identify key factors to consider when changing vision screening requirements.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
List ideas on what vision screening to require in schools and the best vision screening instruments. Describe key factors to consider when changing vision screening requirements.

Keyword(s): Vision Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a health policy advisor to the Washington State Board of Health for over 10 years. I have been assigned to vision screening policy issues for over 8 years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.