THE IMPORTANCE OF HEARING AND VISION SCREENINGS FOR YOUR CHILDREN by CPCD Why do children need vision and hearing screenings? Vision problems can occur in one out of 20 preschoolers and in one in four school-age children. The most common problems are nearsightedness and farsightedness, and some children can develop a lazy eye or crossed eyes. Classroom screenings can lead to an early diagnosis and treatment of any problems, which can prevent permanent loss of vision as well as learning difficulties in school. Hearing is an important part of language development, communication and learning. Regular hearing screenings between birth and school age are very important because hearing loss is the most common condition among newborns in the United States and can occur at any point in a child’s life. How does the screening work? All Head Start and Early Head Start children are required by Head Start Performance Standards to be screened within the first 45 days of school. Trained staff uses Sure Sight Vision Screening Cameras to look for eye problems and measure a child’s distance vision within five seconds, with no harm to the child. The Cameras screen your child for common vision problems, such as near- and farsightedness, astigmatism and lazy eye. Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Hearing Screenings are quick and painless. A small ear piece containing a very sensitive microphone is placed in the child’s ear. The ear piece sends a low volume sound into the ear. The ear responds by sending back an echo, which is picked up by a small handheld unit. Within 30 seconds, the results of the test are shown on the unit as “pass” or “refer.” What’s next? A Sure Sight Vision Screening Camera can quickly inform you of any problems with your child’s vision, and you will be referred to see an eye doctor for a full eye exam. If an OAE Hearing Screening displays “refer,” results are sent to a health care provider, who can diagnose common ear problems. In some cases, a referral to an ear doctor is necessary for a complete exam and further treatment.