School vision screening, ages 5-16 years: The evidence-base for content, provision and efficacy

Nicola S. Logan*, Bernard Gilmartin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The optometric profession in the UK has a major role in the detection, assessment and management of ocular anomalies in children between 5 and 16 years of age. The role complements a variety of associated screening services provided across several health care sectors. The review examines the evidence-base for the content, provision and efficacy of these screening services in terms of the prevalence of anomalies such as refractive error, amblyopia, binocular vision and colour vision and considers the consequences of their curtailment. Vision screening must focus on pre-school children if the aim of the screening is to detect and treat conditions that may lead to amblyopia, whereas if the aim is to detect and correct significant refractive errors (not likely to lead to amblyopia) then it would be expedient for the optometric profession to act as the major provider of refractive (and colour vision) screening at 5-6 years of age. Myopia is the refractive error most likely to develop during primary school presenting typically between 8 and 12 years of age, thus screening at entry to secondary school is warranted. Given the inevitable restriction on resources for health care, establishing screening at 5 and 11 years of age, with exclusion of any subsequent screening, is the preferred option. © 2004 The College of Optometrists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-492
Number of pages12
JournalOphthalmic and Physiological Optics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2004


  • binocular vision
  • children
  • colour vision
  • refractive error
  • vision screening


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