It’s about time all children starting school for the first time in Illinois have an eye exam. Opponents of the new law disagree.
“Not Seeing Eye to Eye” appeared on the front page of the Chicago Tribune today. I was quoted along with a parent, school superintendent, optometrist, ophthalmologist, and the chief sponsor of the bill, Senator Deanna Demuzio.
I’m shocked educated professionals would “question the merits of the new law.” Illinois requires health and dental exams. Since academic learning is estimated to be 80% visual, shouldn’t eye exams be included?
In 1969, Illinois enacted the Vision and Hearing Test Act. Mass vision screenings would be mandated for all children. Screeners would be certified after a three-day-class for $100. Illinois tax-payers would pay the bill for these vision screenings. Fast and cheap was said to be the best way to find possible vision problems. Yikes! Shouldn’t we question the merits of mandated vision screenings?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) “recommends screenings as a cost-effective way to evaluate a child’s vision.” A cost-effective way to evaluate a child’s vision? Sure…as long as it’s not my child! Do you feel the same way?
I’m disappointed the AAP would make this statement. The bill for my son’s kindergarten health exam, blood and urine samples, and shots was $629! Screenings do not evaluate, and screeners cannot diagnose vision problems. Illinois law confirms vision screening is not a substitute for an eye exam.
Tribune reporter Tara Malone summed-up the controversy very well with my quote near the end of the story…we needed to raise the standards. And we did in Illinois.
Do you think children’s vision should be brought into the 21st century?
Read another great news story that headlined last month in the Lemont Reporter-Met: State Turns Its Eye to Student Vision!
Copyright (c) 2008 Vision First Foundation. All rights reserved.