At what age should my child have a vision screening?
A new report says there is insufficient evidence that a vision screening for children under age three is actually needed.
Who wrote this report?
The government. Specifically the US Preventive Services Task Force. The goal of this task force is to “improve the health of all Americans by making evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services”. The task force is composed of 16 expert volunteers that come from preventive medicine and primary care, including internal medicine, pediatrics, family medicine, behavioral health, obstetrics/gynecology, and nursing.
Is anyone from ophthalmology or optometry on the task force?
The task force made the same recommendation back in 2011. The American Academy of Ophthalmology and others were not pleased and advocated for a change. They pointed out the importance of red reflex testing in infancy to detect congenital cataract and throughout early childhood to detect retinoblastoma. The task force reviewed the comments but left the recommendation the same for 2017.
What does the report recommend for other ages?
They recommend that a vision screening be provided for children between 3 and 5 years of age.
Why do we care what the government thinks?
Because the recommendation of the task force influences what is covered by insurance companies.