Vision Screening

For more information on vision screening, please choose one of the links below:

Vision screening in Blackpool

    Visual Screening – Blackpool

    The Blackpool Orthoptic Department delivers a visual screening service for all children in reception class at school, aged 4-5 years old, in Blackpool. This service was previously delivered as a pre-school service for 3-4 year olds in health centres and local clinics.

    It has been recommended by Hall (2003) and the National screening committee that vision screening should be an;

    ‘Orthoptic led service for all children aged 4-5 years of age, using a log MAR vision test.’

    Our visual screening service is carried out by a team of Orthoptists, who perform the visual screening assessments at schools.

    Why does a child need a vision assessment?

    It is important that every child has a vision assessment as vision only develops until the age of 7-8 years; this is known as the critical period. After this period it may not be possible to improve a child’s vision and they may be left with permanently reduced vision in one or both eyes. This may have life implications such as ability to drive or career choice.

    How do I consent for the visual screening assessment?

    An ‘opt out’ consent letter from the child’s school is sent home. You only have to complete this form if you do not wish your child to be tested or if your child is already under an eye specialist. We will collect these forms from each school, if you do not return the form to school within 2 weeks it will be assumed that you wish your child to be tested. Any child who ‘opts out’ from this service will not be tested and will be removed from the visual screening programme.

    What will happen during the visual screening assessment?

    During the assessment we will test the child’s vision, perform tests for squints and other eye muscle problems and look out for any obvious eye problems e.g. drooping lids etc. The tests are designed to be fun and do not rely on children knowing letters. On the day of the test the Orthoptist will leave a letter at the school for the parents or guardians of children who do not pass the test. If you do not receive a letter your child has passed.

    What if a child does not pass the assessment?

    If they do not meet the pass criteria they will be referred to an appropriate specialist (Orthoptist, Optometrist or Ophthalmologist). An appointment letter will be sent through the post.

    When will my child be seen?

    The tests will be carried out throughout the school year. The Orthoptist will liaise with individual schools to arrange a date that is convenient for us to assess the children. If a child is uncooperative or absent on the day of testing we will send for them to be tested at a later date at a local health centre or clinic. If a child is referred into the eye clinic for further assessments there will be a waiting time for this appointment. This may vary throughout the year depending on how many referrals we receive.

    Which schools are included in the programme?

    We screen in reception classes in all primary schools in Blackpool, including special schools. Home-schooled children will be sent for at their local clinic.

    Contact details

    If you have any questions or wish to know more details please contact the Orthoptic Department on 01253 953 457

    Lancashire Vision Screening Service (LaVSS)

    (Services provided by East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust)

    The Lancashire Vision Screening Service, commissioned by Lancashire County Council and run by East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, is the first of its kind to be introduced in the country. The orthoptic-led service has been ‘highly commended’ by the British and Irish Orthoptic Society (BIOS), with support from leading eye health experts as a ‘model service’ that should be implemented across the country.

    Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is responsible for providing vision screening to four and five-year-old children across primary schools in Fylde, Wyre, Lancaster and Preston, also including children who are home educated or missing from education at community venues.

    What is vision screening?

    Vision screening is when a specially trained person checks your child’s vision to make sure they can see without any problems. The aim of the service is to detect reduced vision early, to reduce the risk of defects developing into visual impairments if left untreated

    Who needs to be screened?

    Visual acuity, eye alignment and binocular vision continually develop from birth up to the age of seven. Young children rarely complain about having reduced vision, therefore it is very likely that it will not be noticed by you, your child or anyone else. Reduced vision can have an impact on a child’s learning and development therefore the NHS recommends that all children are screened between the ages of four to five years.

    What is involved in screening?

    Your child’s vision will be assessed using a letter matching test. The test is fun and your child does not need to know their letters to complete it. During the test a pair of glasses with one eye blanked out will be used or an eye patch will be placed over one eye to test each eye separately. The test is entirely safe and children enjoy playing the letter matching game. It takes approximately five minutes and the screener is trained to make this fun for the child.

    Who does the screening?

    Vision screeners trained by orthoptists carry out the vision screening.

    Does my child have to be screened?

    No, you have the right to decline the assessment. No screening will take place without your consent. However, we strongly recommend that your child is screened for vision defects.

    What happens if my child passes?

    If your child passes you will receive a letter informing you of the result. This means that at the moment their vision in both eyes is as expected for their age. This result does not rule out potential future eye problems. Children’s eyes change as they grow so if you have any concerns about your child’s eyes at any stage in the future, contact your local optometrist (optician) or GP.

    What happens if my child does not pass?

    If your child does not pass, you will receive a letter informing you of the result. Your child will be referred to your local orthoptic department and you will receive a letter in the next few weeks from the hospital inviting you to an appointment for further tests.

    It is important to attend the appointment for further tests to confirm your child’s results and if treatment is required. Reduced vision may be caused by the child needing glasses or a turn in the eye (squint). Glasses and/or eye patches may be recommended as treatment for these problems. These tests could be carried out by an Orthoptist, who manage visual disorders related to eye development or misalignment, an Optometrist who can prescribe glasses if required, or an Ophthalmologist, depending on the results of the screening.

    Sometimes a child does not pass the screening because they are tired or not able to concentrate on the day of screening. If the vision screener feels this may be the case on the day, you will be asked to attend another appointment for a recheck.

    My child was absent on the day of the screening at school – what happens now?

    An appointment will be offered at a local health centre for your child to be tested. A member of the vision screening team will send an appointment letter to your home address for this.

    My child is home schooled – how can my child have their vision screened?

    If you would like to arrange vision screening for your child, please contact the most convenient Orthoptic Department (find contact details below). You will be invited to attend an appointment in a Health Centre. The results of the vision screening will be explained at your appointment.

    If you live in the Preston, Lancaster, Morecambe, Wyre and Fylde areas please contact:

    Blackpool Victoria Hospital
    Whinney Heys Road,
    FY3 8NR

    Tel: 01253 953457

    Email address:  bfwh.lancashirevisionscreeningservice@nhs.net

    If you live in the Blackburn, Burnley, Pendle, Rossendale, Ribble Valley, West Lancashire, Chorley and South Ribble areas please contact:

    The Orthoptic Department
    Burnley General Teaching Hospital
    Casterton Avenue
    BB10 2PQ

    Tel: 01282 804143

    Email address: Lancashire.VisionScreeningService@elht.nhs.uk