For everyone, but especially for growing children, good vision is extremely important. Visual demands occupy a significant percentage of sensory input in schools, with as much as 80% of all learning occurring through the medium of sight. For the best learning experience (and educational performance) for your kid in school, good sight is undoubtedly a crucial factor.
Vision screening in Singaporean schools
When it comes to eye health, the importance of regular eye checks cannot be overstated. In fact, it is so important that in Singapore, the School Health Service organises annual vision screening sessions in schools. During these screenings, doctors and nurses visit schools, at the kindergarten, primary and secondary level, to conduct vision tests. These tests focus on the early detection and management of myopia and other common eye problems among children.
Although these school vision screenings are an important service, and are beneficial, parents should not get complacent and assume that no further, more comprehensive checks are needed.
Are these school vision screenings enough?
Has your child been complaining of having headaches or blurred vision? Or have you noticed them squinting when looking at things further away and straining their eyes? If your answer is yes to any of the above questions, it is a good idea for you to still take your child for a comprehensive eye check-up, even if your child has already been screened for myopia in school.
Due to the nature of conducting mass myopia testing in schools, it is simply not possible to examine all the components of vision in great detail – in fact, most vision screenings conducted at school test for visual acuity (or clarity of vision) only and will only refer children for more comprehensive eye check-ups if their results are worse than a certain threshold. While eye screenings in school are able to identify some children with vision issues, others may slip through the cracks, and their eye conditions may not be detected till later in life.
Why are regular eye examinations for children important?
Early identification and management of any disease are always best. It means a higher chance of the disease not becoming worse since its progression will be able to be halted earlier. Eye diseases are no different – early detection means early treatment, which is the key to slowing vision loss.
If you notice your child having any vision problems, don’t wait until it gets worse. Take charge of your child’s eye health and bring them to an optometrist for a comprehensive eye check-up as soon as possible. As a general guideline, children and teenagers are recommended to have a comprehensive eye check at least once every one to two years, even after they have gone through the school vision screenings.