Vision Screening

School Vision Screening

Did you know: About 80 per cent of what a child learns in school is information that is presented visually, according to the Canadian Association of Optometrists. However, vision problems may go undetected in early childhood because children cannot always recognize that they have vision problems.

What is School-Based Vision Screening?

The Grey Bruce Health Unit is partnering with District A-9 of Lions Club International to provide free, in-school vision screenings for senior kindergarten students at Bluewater District School Board and Bruce Grey Catholic District School Board schools during the school year.

The screenings will be conducted by trained Lions Club volunteers and overseen by Public Health. They will consist of three simple, non-invasive tests, designed to help identify the most common vision impairments in young children.

  • A test with a handheld machine called an autorefractor
  • A test for visual acuity
  • A test for depth perception

How will I get information from my school if my child is eligible to be screened?

If your child attends public school in Grey or Bruce counties, letters from Public Health will be sent home by the school for your Senior Kindergarten child. The letter will provide information about the screening program.

What happens after my child is screened?

If a child does not pass any one or more of these three screening tests, or meets one of the additional referral criteria, parents will receive a notification letter that indicates that there may be issues with the child’s vision. The letter urges parents to book an appointment for their child to see an optometrist for a comprehensive eye exam. In addition, a follow-up reminder letter will be sent to the parent. If a child passes all three of the screening tests, the parent will receive a notification letter indicating this and encouraging regular comprehensive eye exams with an optometrist.

The in-school vision screenings are not meant to replace annual comprehensive eye exams with an optometrist and are not designed to detect all vision problems.

Where can I find an optometrist or other visual health supports?

To find a local optometrist, please visit or 211. If you still need support, please contact the Grey Bruce Health Unit.

The following programs may assist you with the cost of prescription glasses.

  • Eye See…Eye Learn® – Children in junior and senior kindergarten are eligible for a free pair of prescription glasses through this program.
  • Ontario Works – Families receiving support from Ontario Works can contact their local Ontario Works office for more information on getting support for vision care costs.
  • Ontario Disability Support Program Vision Care Benefit – Families receiving support from Ontario Disability Support Program, and don't have vision care coverage under OHIP, may be able to get help with vision care costs.
  • Non-Insured Health Benefits Program – This program provides eligible clients (First Nations and Inuit) coverage for vision care benefits not available under other federal, provincial, territorial or private health insurance.
  • Interim Federal Health Program – This program provides limited, temporary coverage of health care benefits, including vision, to resettled refugees, refugee claimants and certain other groups who are not eligible for provincial or territorial health insurance.

How often should someone get a comprehensive eye exam?

According to the Canadian Association of Optometrists, the following guidelines suggest the minimum frequency for an eye examination for individuals at low risk:


Frequency of Visits to an Optometrist

Birth to 24 months

An initial eye exam should be completed between the ages of 6 and 9 months

2-5 years old

At least one eye exam

6-19 years old


20-39 years old

Every 2 to 3 years

40-64 years old

Every 2 years

65+ years old



Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) covers the cost of a comprehensive eye examination once every 12 months for all children (0-19 years of age) who have a valid OHIP card.


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