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Screening and Diagnosis for Vision Loss

All children, youth, and adults are unique, and vision loss can be as unique as each child, so detection of vision loss can be challenging. Diagnosing a problem for a young child may be something that is immediate due to congenital conditions, the appearance of the eyes, or it may become more obvious due to signs that appear as the child matures. If you have concerns about vision in an individual with whom you live or work, following up with that concern and getting it checked is a good plan of action.

Vision screenings can be performed using a number of methods depending on the age of the individual, to determine if there is a suspected visual impairment or eye condition. The initial screening usually begins at birth with an examination of the newborn’s eye, pupil, and reflex.

Early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of any degree of vision loss helps improve communication and connection with the world. The types of tools used to begin to identify issues related to vision through screening become the baseline for what an optometrist or ophthalmologist may address in a follow-up clinical exam.

Understanding Terms

It's important to understand terms as you work to screen and assess those with whom you live or work. Here are some terms:

  • Optometrist: an eye professional who performs eye exams and vision tests, identifies eye abnormalities, and prescribes corrective lenses.
  • Ophthalmologist: a medical doctor that specializes in the functioning of the eye. This professional can diagnose and treat eye diseases, perform surgery, and prescribe corrective lenses.