Even though a good part of learning is visual, the only eye test many children receive is a vision screening at school. Most schools try to do a good job of evaluating students' vision, but a screening is not intended to replace a thorough, professional eye exam. A professional eye examination is performed by an eye doctor and can reveal serious eye conditions and diseases.
School vision screenings are designed to check a child's eyesight, or sharpness of vision. Students' distance vision is usually measured, which may reveal nearsightedness. But a screening usually fails to check a child's close-up skills needed for reading, such as tracking, focusing, and binocular vision. Considering that most school work is performed at arm's length, students who have trouble seeing close-up will not be able to reach their full learning potential.
Performing well at school can be very difficult if a child has visual problems. The American Optometric Association recommends having your child's eyes examined at the ages of 6 months, 3 years and 5 years, and then every other year while the child is in school. If you follow these guidelines, the school vision screening should be an important safety net, alerting you to possible problems as they develop.
Source: American Optometric Association. School Vision Screenings. 01 Aug 2007.