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Vision Services for Vancouver Schools

Vision screening has been suspended for the 2020-21 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you have any concerns about a student’s vision please discuss them with the student’s parent/guardian and encourage them to take their child for an assessment by an optometrist.

Vancouver school health manual - Section 6: Vision

Possible vision problems

If you have any of the following concerns about a student’s vision please discuss them with the student’s parent/guardian and encourage them to take their child for a thorough assessment from an optometrist.

Abnormal appearance

  • Eye turns in or out

  • Red inflamed eyes 

  • Swelling of eyelids

  • Excessive blinking 

  • Bumping into things

  • Different size pupils

  • Crusty or red eyelids

  • Drooping lids

  • Squinting or rubbing the eyes

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Lack of concentration


  • Holds head to one side or in an unusual way when looking carefully at an object

  • Has difficulty in keeping place while reading also known as being a “finger reader”

  • Avoids close work and is disinterested in activities that involve looking carefully at an object

  • Rubs eyes, frowns, squints, or blinks often when looking carefully at an object

  • Holds printed materials in an unusual position

  • Makes excessive errors when copying from blackboard 


  • Pain in eyes

  • Frequent headaches when reading  

  • Eye problem following head injury

  • Eyes hurt or blur when reading

  • Cannot see the blackboard

  • Words move or jump about when reading

  • Double vision

  • Loss of vision

Make a referral for vision screening

If you have concerns about a student’s vision, discuss them with his or her parents, or send home a Request for Eye Examination form. Please refer the family to your school’s public health nurse if follow-up is necessary.

Request for eye examination form

Kindergarten vision screening

We screen kindergarten children for possible visual defects such as refractive errors (nearsightedness and farsightedness), amblyopia (lazy eyes) and strabismus (crossed eyes).  We do not diagnose vision disorders. Instead, we identify potential problems that need to be further examined by an optometrist.

We will contact you to arrange a suitable screening date and send notices home to parents about the screening. After the screening, we will contact the parents/guardians of students who require follow up. We send vision screening results directly to parents/guardians shortly after screening. We also share screening results with school principals if parents/guardians have consented to sharing these results with the school.

What happens during vision screening?

Children do not need to be able to read to be screened.  First, the technician will use a tool to measure the child's vision in each eye.  Next, to check depth perception, the child will wear special glasses and play a matching game with the technician. Results are available immediately. Children who require follow-up will be encouraged to visit an optometrist or ophthalmologist.

Support with purchasing glasses

Families receiving social assistance can apply through their local Ministry of Child and Family Development Office. The BC Healthy Kids Program also helps low-income families with the basic cost of eye ware for children.

SOURCE: Vision Services for Vancouver Schools ( )
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