Vision Screening | Hastings Prince Edward Public Health

Vision Screening

What is the Vision Screening Program? 

  • Hastings Prince Edward Public Health will provide vision screening for all students in senior kindergarten (SK) at school in accordance with the Ontario Public Health Standards established by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term care. 

  • Children who already have glasses will be screened wearing their glasses.

What is involved in vision screening? 

  • Vision screening is a series of three short and simple tests that are used to find out if a child might have eye problems.

  • It is non-invasive, so it is not harmful or painful in any way.

  • It cannot diagnose a vision disorder, but it may show the need for a full eye examination by an Optometrist to make sure your child has healthy eyes and can see properly.

Why is good visual health important?

  • Every year in Ontario, 15,000 children have trouble learning to read because they need glasses.

  • Over 50% of children who have vision screening do not pass all three simple tests and need a referral to an Optometrist.

  • Your child needs healthy eyes and good vision to learn to read and write, see the board, use a computer, participate in sports, and stay safe.

Why is school-based vision screening important?

  • Parents, guardians, and teachers cannot always tell when a child has trouble seeing, and children usually think their own vision is normal. 

  • If it is not found and corrected early, some eye problems can affect a child’s vision for life. 

  • In Belleville and the surrounding area, less than half of the children between the ages of two and five have had their eyes examined. This means some vision problems are being missed. 

What happens during vision screening?

School vision screening is made up of three short tests to assess the following:

  1. The structure of the child's eyes (using automated equipment)

  2. How clear the child’s vision is (using a simple letter chart)

  3. Depth perception/blending images from both eyes (using a special 3-D picture book)

What will happen after the vision screening takes place?

Your child will receive a letter to bring home to you, with the screening results.

  • If your child did not pass the screening, it is very important to see an optometrist for a full eye exam as soon as possible.

  • If your child passed the vision screening, a full eye exam is still recommended before the age of five, and they should have regular visits throughout the school years.

  • If your child missed the vision screening, you will receive a letter with the reason why they were not screened—for example, if they were absent, wearing an eye patch, uncooperative, or had an eye infection—and a recommendation to take them to an Optometrist for a full eye examination.

  • A comprehensive eye examination and treatment can significantly improve a child’s life.

What else do I need to know?

  • Vision screening does not replace a comprehensive eye exam by an Optometrist. 

  • An eye exam with an Optometrist is free of charge, (once every 12 months, up to the age of 19) with a valid OHIP card.

  • To find an Optometrist, call the Ontario Association of Optometrists at 1-800-540-3837 or visit for a list of doctors in your area, or call Hastings Prince Edward Public Health for assistance.

  • For more information, call Public Health at 613-966-5500 ext. 680.

Can I get a first pair of eyeglasses for free?

  • Some programs offer assistance with the cost of prescription eyeglasses.  For example, the Loblaw’s Kids See Free program at Loblaw Optical locations offers a free pair of eyeglasses to children from 4 to10 years of age if they have a recent prescription (within the last 90 days). 

  • Call Hastings Prince Edward Public Health at 613-966-5500 for more details.