Review Article

A review of vision screening methods for children

Ingrid T. Metsing, Wanda Jacobs, Rekha Hansraj
African Vision and Eye Health | Vol 77, No 1 | a446 | DOI: | © 2018 Ingrid Thokozile Metsing, Wanda Jacobs, Rekha Hansraj | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 March 2018 | Published: 21 November 2018

About the author(s)

Ingrid T. Metsing, Department of Optometry, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Wanda Jacobs, Department of Nursing, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Rekha Hansraj, Discipline of Optometry, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


Background: What constitutes an appropriate vision screening protocol is controversial, because the tests or methods are expected to be cost-effective, expedient and easy but efficient in detecting visual anomalies among children.

Aim: This review intends to compare the different vision screening tests for children and methods in the interest of identifying the most effective screening method from the standpoint of validity, public acceptance, expediency and cost.

Method: The literature search was performed for this review using the Medline, Science Direct and EBSCOhost databases. The search terms used were vision screening methods or tests, children’s vision screenings, computer software programs and vision screening instruments. The inclusion criteria for the articles reviewed were all types of articles related to vision screening methods. The exclusion criteria were all articles for which full text was not available and those not available in English. Eighty articles were analysed, of which 33 were found to have complied with the inclusion criteria and were selected. From the first round of articles retrieved, additional references were identified by a manual search among the cited references.

Results: Evidence from the literature reviewed demonstrated that the conventional vision screening method (isolated and combination tests) is the method commonly used to detect a range of relevant visual anomalies among the schoolgoing age group (≥ 6 years) and drew attention to the need for training of vision screening personnel. However, in addition to the conventional method, other vision screening methods include instruments as an adjunct for screening preschoolers and those difficult to screen (≤ 6 years).

Conclusion: Inconsistencies in what constitutes an appropriate vision screening method still exist, especially with the booming market of using computer software programs, which still needs to be validated.


Vision screening tests; vision anomalies; optotypes; stereotest; accommodative dysfunction; convergence dysfunction; amblyopia; preschool; school going age; vision screening instruments; photoscreeners, autorefractors


Total abstract views: 3433
Total article views: 7748

Crossref Citations

No related citations found.