The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is updating vision screening rules for schools.
However, the Nebraska Optometric Association (NOA) wants them to go further.
Dave McBride, NOA executive director, says distance vision is tested in seven different grades, but near vision is only tested in two grades.
“We would like to see the near vision testing be the same thing,” McBride said while testifying at a hearing on the matter. “Obviously, the ability to read at near is just as important as the ability to read or see at distance.”
The Nebraska Foundation for Children’s Vision is backing the move for parity.
Mary Lauritzen, Foundation president, says making sure both are tested can eliminate a lot of trouble in the classroom for students.
“Now, everything is on a whiteboard, but it’s also in the middle where your computer screen is, and it’s also in your hands with your device or it’s also in the book,” Lauritzen tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Another proposal would allow schools to use a photo vision screener to test a child’s sight, instead of the standard charts and viewers, which received no opposition during the public hearing.
Another point McBride made on behalf of the NOA was the opt-out procedure currently does not state that an optometrist can sign off on a child’s recent eye exam. It specifically names a physician, physician assistant, registered nurse, or a nurse practitioner as those authorized to vouch that an exam was done.
The Department of Health is currently reviewing feedback on the proposed changes.