Children's vision screening training and certification

Prevent Blindness America has the only national program for training and certifying vision screeners.


Our children's vision screening training and certification program ensures consistent, highly effective screening services. Prevent Blindness' professional advisors recommend screening tests designed to accurately detect children's vision problems. The training and certification program prepares screeners to do the best possible job.

Why is vision screening for children so important? ► Why is vision screening for children so important? ▼

Fewer than 20 percent of children are adequately screened for vision problems in U.S. today. Consider that vision problems affect one in 20 preschoolers and one in four school-age children. But children cannot tell you when they see poorly. They assume the way they see is normal. Without early detection and treatment, children's vision problems can lead to a variety of problems, including permanent loss of vision, learning difficulties and delayed development. Vision screenings identify those children in need of exam by an eye care professional who can diagnosis eye problems and prescribe appropriate treatment. The earlier a vision problem is detected, the more successful the treatment will be.

Vision screening is a good beginning to eye care. A screening does not replace a professional examination, but it can help identify those at risk for eye disorders. Finding eye disorders in their early, treatable stages saves sight.

What tests are included in the children's vision screening? ► What tests are included in the children's vision screening? ▼

Prevent Blindness' children's vision screening has three steps:

First, a screener looks at the child's eyes for the appearance of a possible problem, such as watering eyes, swollen or crusted lids. The screener also observes the child's behavior for other signs of a problem, such as excessive rubbing of the eyes or tilting the head. Observations from teachers and parents are also taken into account.

Second, using one of five recommended eye charts, the screener tests the child's distance acuity, or ability to focus from 10 feet away. Children with impaired distance acuity may have difficulty seeing the board in school.

Third, for children through age nine or third grade, the screener conducts a test called stereopsis. This is a test for binocularity, which is the eyes' ability to work together. Children whose eyes are not working together are at significant risk for having amblyopia, or lazy eye. Amblyopia can result in permanent visual impairment in the affected eye if not detected and treated early. Generally, the earlier the treatment the greater the chance of preventing permanent vision loss.

What's involved in the training? ► What's involved in the training? ▼

Prevent Blindness' half-day training uses established adult learning principles to ensure the screener's ability to conduct accurate screening tests.

Participants learn about:

  • State requirements for children's vision screening
  • Screener's roles and responsibilities
  • Signs of possible vision problems
  • Conducting and interpreting the screening tests
  • Appropriate screening reports

The comprehensive manual provides participant information including screening equipment lists, space requirements, set-up directions, detailed instructions for conducting screening tests, activities to enhance learning, tips for screening, a glossary and other useful reference material.

Join Prevent Blindness America's 35,000 volunteers, Become a vision screener! ► Join Prevent Blindness America's 35,000 volunteers, Become a vision screener! ▼