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National Expert Panel: Need for Vision Screenings & Care for Pre-School Age Children

The National Expert Panel (NEP) of the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health (NCCVEH) at Prevent Blindness have developed specific guidelines and strategies for children’s healthy sight.

The NEP has published recommendations providing an evidence-based approach to vision screening in children ages 3 through 5, as well as system-based public health strategies for improved surveillance and program accountability as it relates to children’s vision in the US. The recommendations were published in the January 2015 issue of Optometry and Vision Science, and are further outlined HERE.

In 2009, Prevent Blindness was awarded a grant from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau at the Health Resources and Services Administration of the US Department of Health and Human Services, to establish the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health. The mission of the Center is to develop a coordinated public health infrastructure to promote and ensure a comprehensive, multi-tiered continuum of vision care for young children. The NCCVEH convened the NEP, a panel of leading professionals in ophthalmology, optometry, pediatrics, public health, and related fields, to review the current scientific literature, explore best practices and gain consensus on the best approach to children’s vision and eye health.

The NEP has written three papers targeting children aged 36 months to less than 72 months titled:
1) Vision Screening for Children 36 to <72 Months: Recommended Practices
2) Vision and Eye Health in Children 36 to <72 Months: Proposed Data System
3) Vision and Eye Health in Children 36 to <72 Months: Proposed Data Definitions

“A vision screening is a great first step to saving vision and putting our kids on a path of healthy development,” says Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness. “But that is only one step in the continuum of vision health for children. There also must be mechanisms in place to make sure that screenings are administered effectively and that the children are receiving follow-up care. By putting forth these recommendations, the National Expert Panel is providing an excellent approach to helping our kids achieve a lifetime of healthy vision while improving public health surveillance and program impacts.”

For a copy of the recommendations from the National Expert Panel of the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health, additional information on general children’s eye health, the NCCVEH or Prevent Blindness, visit visionsystems.preventblindness.org or call (800)-331-2020.

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