Vision screening outcomes of Grade 3 children in Australia: Differences in academic achievement
The vision of children in the classroom is assumed to be good. A recent study has demonstrated that children who perform less well on NAPLAN results compared to the other children in the same school and demographic area, are also found to fail or get borderline results on a vision screening.
A critical point here is not just that vision is an overlooked issue in children in Australian classrooms, the types of vision screenings being done are not designed to pick up enough of the vision problems found by this particular research study. The difference is that in addition to screening for sight problems, this screening targeted Grade 3 for binocular vision or eye teaming or co-ordination problems too. This is something we have long championed. It is integral part of the vision exams we do on all of our patients.
Eye teaming difficulties must be specifically tested for and are not related to issues with clarity of sight. The most common type of school vision screenings do not typically include these additional eye co-ordination tests. I applaud the efforts of these researchers and hope that more of the type of screening they conducted reaches our schools.