The National Center for Biotechnology believes quality health care should be “safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable, and patient-centered.” Furthermore, they think inadequate health-care-services research hampers the ability to improve care quality through application of continuous quality improvement programs.
We believe one cause of patient’s’ frustrations is long waiting times to get consult practitioners. For example, patients sometimes insist on comprehensive eye examinations when a simple vision screener is a faster, more efficient filter.
Vision Screener versus Eye Exams: What’s The Difference?
An eye examination is a detailed review of the state of health of a patient’s eyes, using sophisticated equipment. An eye exam looks for signs of cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy (damage to the blood vessels in the retina). It also produces detailed prescriptions for manufacturers of spectacles, contact lenses, and corneal implants.
A vision screener is a simpler assessment of ability to see clearly. This form of medical screening uses devices that any paramedic should be able to use. We recommend young children have a vision screening once a year as their eyesight develops. If there are signs of a deeper-rooted issue, this simple process usually identifies it.
The rewards of this dual approach for patients are significant. Vision screening tests are less expensive and less daunting for young children too. Suitably trained assisted-living caregivers, pediatricians, school nurses, and other healthcare persons – even volunteers – can administer them safely, making a vision screener test a more accessible alternative than eye examinations.
What Happens During a Vision Screening Procedure?
- Visual Acuity Testing
A simple eye chart enables the vision screener to assess long distance vision. This relaxes the patient for the objective vision screening that follows.
- Physical Inspection of Eyes
The examiner uses a flashlight to search for abnormal pupil shape, or differences in the ways eye pupils constrict and dilate in the presence of light.
- Cover Testing
Cover testing vision screening observes the patient’s eyes as they focus on a target, to see if there is a parallel shift in alignment as they follow a finger.
- Corneal Light Reflex
The corneal light reflex test uses a flashlight to determine if light reflects from the center of the eye, as a patient looks directly ahead.
- Photo Screening
Photo screening, on the other hand, deploys a special camera to identify any indications of abnormalities, refractive errors and other factors affecting vision.
Is Vision Screening Suitable for Young Children
A Depisteo vision screener looks ahead for warning signs of possible eye problems. Moreover, eye examinations are follow-ups that probe these issues in more detail. Is it safe to say that a visual screening suitable for young children?
Most children cooperate with a visual screener once they reach age three or four years. Although they may try to ‘cheat’ by peering past an eye pad if their eyes are markedly different. If visual screening proves impractical, then they should attend an eye examination instead.