What We Look For

In one simple test, VRC screens children for a wide range of eye problems including most refractive errors, alignment errors, opacities (such as cataracts), and other visible eye abnormalities.

Refractive Errors are present when the eye doesn’t correctly focus light on the retina. Common refractive errors include…

Myopia (nearsightedness) – the child is able to see near objects clearly, but clear focus at a distance may be difficult. For example, a child may have no problem reading a book but may experience trouble reading the board across the room.

Hyperopia (farsightedness) – the child is able to see at a distance clearly, but focusing on near objects can be difficult. For example, a child may see the board from the back of the room clearly, but may have trouble reading a book or coloring within the lines.

Astigmatism – the child may not be able to focus clearly on near or far objects. This can be thought of as a combination of focusing problems that can result in blurry and distorted images.

Anisometropia – the child may be able to focus better with one eye than with the other. This difference in the refractive power of the two eyes can indicate or lead to amblyopia (also known as “lazy eye”).

Alignment Errors are present when the two eyes do not line up in the same direction, and therefore do not look at the same object at the same time. Another term for this is “strabismus” and its presence may also indicate or lead to amblyopia. Alignment errors can be constant or intermittent, with common examples including esotropia (inward turning “crossed eyes”) and exotropia (outward turning, “wall eyes”).

Opacities include anything in the eye that blocks light from getting to the retina. Cataracts are a common example (around 1 in 1,000 children are born with a cataract), and there are other corneal, lenticular and vitreous opacities that may indicate other ocular problems.

Important Note:  This eye screening is based on a process that is screening in nature, and not diagnostic. Screening is intended to identify, with a reasonably high probability, subjects with a wide range of eye problems who should seek the services of an eye care professional for examination, diagnosis, and corrective recommendation. As with any screening process, there is no assurance that all problems it is intended to detect will be detected. Also, there are eye problems that are not normally detected by this screening process, including diseases affecting the retina and optic nerve, glaucoma, some astigmatisms, and color blindness.
No screening process is a substitute for full examination by a qualified eye care professional.