Washington School Requirements for Children's Vision

  • Washington requires a vision screening
  • Frequency: Students in kindergarten, 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th grades (or annually, if school resources permit) and for any child showing symptoms of possible loss in visual acuity referred to the district by parents, guardians, or school staff

Requires each board of school directors to provide for and require screening of the visual acuity of children attending schools in their districts to determine if any children have defects sufficient to retard them in their studies.

Schools shall conduct visual screening of children in kindergarten and grades one, two, three, five, and seven; and for any child showing symptoms of possible loss in visual acuity referred to the district by parents, guardians, or school staff. If resources permit, schools shall annually screen children at other grade levels.

Schools shall screen children with corrective lenses for distance viewing with their corrective lenses on, place the results of screening, any referrals, and referral results in each student's health and/or school record, and forward the results to the student's new school if the student transfers. If school personnel observe a child with other signs or symptoms related to eye problems and if the signs or symptoms negatively influence the child in his or her studies, school personnel shall refer the child to the parents or guardians for professional care.

Schools shall rescreen students having a visual acuity of 20/40 or less in either eye as determined by the Snellen test or its approved equivalent within two weeks or as soon as possible after the original screening. Failure is indicated by the inability to identify the majority of letters or symbols on the thirty foot line of the test chart at a distance of twenty feet. Schools shall inform parents or guardians of students failing the second screening, in writing, of the need and importance for the child to receive professional care.

Screening must be performed by persons competent to administer screening procedures as a function of their professional training and background or special training and demonstrated competence under supervision. Technicians and nonprofessional volunteers must have adequate preparation and thorough understanding of the tests as demonstrated by their performance under supervision. Supervision, training, reporting and referral shall be the responsibility of a professional person specifically designated by the school administration. He or she may be a school nurse or public health nurse, a special educator, teacher or administrator who possesses basic knowledge of the objectives and methods of visual acuity screening, supervisory experience and ability, demonstrated ability to teach others and demonstrated capacity to work well with people. Screening may not be performed by ophthalmologists, optometrists, or opticians or any individuals who may have a conflict of interest. Washington Administrative Code ยง246-760