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Breast Health Education Program for Schools


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Get In Touch with Breast Health – for Life!


By: Mary Ann Wasil

Breast Cancer Survivor, President, CEO & Founder, The Get In Touch Foundation

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My daughters were just turning 12 and 13 years old in 2004 when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer. My son had just turned 10 and I was 39.


I had no family history of breast cancer and the lump I found on my left breast was not detected on a mammogram.


Breast self-exam saved my life.


My stage two diagnosis led to an aggressive protocol of dose-dense chemotherapy followed by a bi-lateral mastectomy, which led to the discovery of a malignancy in my right breast, as well.


I knew that my daughters, all three of my children, in fact, now faced a higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer than I ever did.


I told my sweet daughters that it would be important for them as they got older and their bodies began to change to know what their normal, healthy breast tissue felt like. I told them to lay down so I could show them how to do a breast self-exam.


They opened their eyes wide and disclosed what I already knew to be true, “um, Mom, we don’t have any breasts.”


I told them that they would one day, and that they should be comfortable and familiar with the way their breasts would change all through their lives, that it was our responsibility to love ourselves enough to “get in touch” with our bodies – for life.


After teaching them how to do a BSE, moms of their friends asked if I would teach their daughters how, as well. Many had a family history of breast cancer and wanted their daughters to get into the habit of good breast health practice as early as possible.


I could not agree more.


After learning from our beloved School Nurse at my children’s elementary school that no formal program existed such as the one I was suggesting she incorporate into the “health, hygiene and menstruation” program at our school, I knew I would be the one to develop such a program.


I also knew the program should be delivered to schools through a non-profit organization so that it could be free to any school that wanted it.


The global educational breast health non-profit organization, The Get In Touch Foundation, was born.


We worked with an advisory board that included a School Nurse, a pediatrician, an oncologist, a breast surgeon, and an educator; we held focus groups with School Nurses and girls ages 8-18.


The Get In Touch Girls’ Program & Daisy Wheels were born.


Daisy wheel


The Daisy Wheel is an interactive tool specifically designed for girls in grades 5-12. It guides girls through the various steps or “petals” of a breast self-exam using language appropriate and interesting to their age group and helps remove the stigma and clinical feel from the practice. The goal of the program is to encourage girls to view regularly “Getting In Touch” with their bodies as a normal part of their life.


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We launched our program on September 1, 2009, and as of today, it is being implemented in all 50 states and in 26 countries; 500,00 girls have received Daisy Wheels.


We launched a free Daisy Wheel app on the iTunes Store in June 2011 and to date, it has been downloaded in 80 countries.


Click here to visit the page on our website which provides free access to our online Daisy Wheel Instructional Video.


We have had nothing but positive feedback from students and School Nurses alike.


Our educational initiative is funded in part through individual school participation in “GIT Your Pink On!” Days, which raises awareness and funds to support the program. Students and faculty are asked to consider wearing pink on the third Friday in October (or any other date) and make a suggested donation of $1 to Get In Touch.


Each dollar donated makes a difference; our cost for each Daisy Wheel is approximately $2.00.


The mission of The Get In Touch Foundation and of School Health are similar…we work hard to ensure that our School Nurses and Health Educators have all the tools and resources they need to assist our young people to be as healthy as possible.


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The Get In Touch Foundation is proud to call School Health a partner in our global educational breast health initiative.


We are grateful to School Health for having participated in our “GIT Your Pink On!” Day by inviting employees to wear pink and donate to The Get In Touch Foundation!


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 Breast Cancer photo 3 (2)  terri jen pink


If you are a School Nurse and are interested in ordering free Daisy Wheels for your students, click here to learn more and place your order.


And don’t forget to do your BSE!


Hope Lives!




How Play Therapy Can Help Your Students


describe the imageWe would like to thank Tara Grall, LPC, RPT, a licensed professional counselor in the state of Mississippi and a registered play therapist specializing in young children for contributing information for our play therapy blog. She works as a counselor for The Ardent Center, Hoffman Estates, IL. 


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Trauma can impact our young, developing students in several ways causing them to act out at school in an effort to communicate their feelings. Teachers, school nurses, and administrators can become more familiar with trauma and understand how to help treat it with the guidance of a registered play therapist. 


According to Tara Grall, LPC,RPT, symptoms of trauma in young children can take several forms. The most common include:

  • Eating issues
  • Nightmares during sleep
  • Clingy/separation anxiety
  • Irritable/difficult to soothe
  • Developmental Regression
  • Language delay
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Sexualized behavior


Play therapy is most commonly used for students between the ages of 3 and 12 years old. Students meet with a registered play therapist who helps the children express their experiences and emotions through play.

Registered play therapists will use several different materials and activities in their play sessions with students. Most often small toys such as sand trays, dollhouses, puppets, kitchen and pretend cooking items are used.


Students can be exposed to trauma at an early age before they are able to verbally communicate effectively with their teachers, school nurses, and administrators. Playing is a natural behavior for children, incorporating it into therapy allows for the student to represent themselves on a smaller scale in situations they might be struggling in. 

Are you interested in incorporating play therapy with your students? Teachers, school nurses, and administrators and can work closely with a registered play therapist to develop sessions for their students as they have training and licensure to ensure play therapy is as effective as possible.

School Health Corporation has several toys that can be used both therapeutically and educationally in your classroom- Check them out in our educational aid department on our website! 

To read Tara's full article on play therapy go here:

More information regarding play therapy is below in a video from The Association For Play Therapy.

School Health Announces Everyday Heroes Story Contest Winners


February 6th, 2014

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Our recent "Everyday Heroes" contest brought in 24 amazing and inspiring stories from around the country. It was a difficult decision, but our judges selected 3 stories that they felt stood out among the others. These stories showed preparedness, training, and quick thinking that resulted in a successful outcome. 

If you have a story to share, you can enter our current "Everyday Heroes" contest (ends June 30th, 2014): 

Congratulations to our winners, and to all of the entrants who saved a life!

1st Place

Jennifer Saenz
McAllen, Texas

"As a school nurse of 600 plus elementary students, I am very fortunate that all staff members on my campus are First Aid and CPR trained. It always helps to have an extra set of eyes and people that can help during an emergency. During one of our lunch periods we had a student that started to choke while eating her food. Our school secretary jump on to help to the student and performed the Heimlich maneuver. The student was able to dislodge the food item after first aid was administered. With out proper training to our staff who know what could have happened if the staff waited for me to enter into the cafeteria.  I am very blessed to have a staff that cares about safety and health of our students just as much as I do. These are our children while they are away from their parents and we care for them just as if they were our own."

2nd Place

Mary Jane Cote
Lincoln, Rhode Island

"I have been a registered nurse for over 22 years and have been at my current position of child care health consultant for 9.5 years with The Children's Workshop. I have been teaching CPR and First Aid for the past 5 years and I always tell my students that infant/ child first aid for choking is so important as we have 19 centers with children ranging in age from 2 months to 13 years old. We did have an infant age 11 months choke recently on bread that had become lodged in the back of her throat. The bread was from a soft pizza crust and she had squirreled some away in her cheek while eating her lunch. Several minutes after our feeding time she showed obvious signs of distress and choking. One of our infant staff knew exactly what to do and successfully helped her. Other than being frightened she was perfectly fine. Thank you."


3rd Place

Loris Colon
Paterson, New Jersey

"As a charter school, Community Charter School of Paterson is an independent public school governed by a 7-member Board of Trustees consisting of parents, community members, and representatives of New Jersey Community Development Corporation. Our small class sizes, dedicated teachers and administrators, and our commitment to student achievement make CCSP a special place. We also feature a strong focus on connection to the community and ensuring that everyone at CCSP is an advocate for our students and families. This morning, 11/7/13 Dr. Dolci, Vice Principal, performed the Heimlich maneuver when a 2nd grade student was choking on a piece of muffin. Miss Tiffany and Miss Waker were right at her side as they knew exactly what to do. I am so proud of our staff who are trained in First Aid. Student is doing fine. Thank you Dr. Dolci, you saved a life today!!!!!!"


Go to to submit your own story.

Shop for CPR Training Manikins>>

Shop for Anti-Choking Trainer>>



School Health Announces 2013 Pink Glove Dance School Awards


The 2013 Pink Glove Dance Competition, hosted by Medline, is designed to raise money and awareness for Breast Cancer research. For the past few years, volunteer dancers wearing the famous Pink Gloves got together, choreographed videos set to select songs, to compete for the most votes.

This year, the Pink Glove Dance received 110 videos, in which more than 80,000 people participated! More than 500,000 votes were tallied among the videos, and to date, over 20 million people have viewed Pink Glove Dance videos.

This year, Medline asked participants to team up with at least one other organization to create a video. They were also asked to raise at least $2,000 for charity. Overall, teams raised and donated nearly $1,000,000 to breast cancer and cancer charities across the country.

To encourage schools to get involved with the Pink Glove Dance, School Health Corporation sponsored a special School Award to the top three entries with a participating school. The School Award recipients receive a School Health Gift Card and a charity donation to the charity of their choice. The School Health Gift Card can be used by the school to purchase health and medical supplies for their school. 

1st Place: $500 School Health Gift Card / $500 Charity Donation

2nd Place: $375 School Health Gift Card / $375 Charity Donation

3rd Place: $250 School Health Gift Card / $250 Charity Donation

Congratulations to the following teams!

1st Place Overall / 1st Place School Award

Geisinger Health Systems

Danville, PA

School Partners: Danville Area High School, Hughesville High School, Southern Columbia High School and Bloomsburg University

Charity Partner: American Cancer Society 


3rd Place Overall / 2nd Place School Award

Mary Greeley Medical Center

Ames, IA

School Partners: Iowa State and Ames High School

Charity Partner: Colleges Against Cancer


4th Most Votes and Honorable Mention for the Most People in a Video / 3rd Place School Award

Baptist Health Paducah

Paducah, KY

School Partners:McCracken County High School, Paducah Tilghman High School, Mayfield High School

Charity Partner: Kentucky Cancer Program’s Horses and Hope


Choose the Best Professional Stethoscope and Aneroid Sphygmomanometer


A Quick Reference Guide to Choosing a Stethoscope and Aneroid Sphygmomanometer That is Right for You

About School Health Stethoscopes and Aneroid Sphygmomanometers

When designing our School Health Professional stethoscopes and aneroid sphygmomanometers, we made sure to create products that would provide the clinical accuracy and dependable quality needed for today’s school nurse professional – but at the lowest price.  Knowing the key differences in our diagnostic products will help you choose the right stethoscopes and aneroid sphygmomanometers for your nursing needs.

School Health Stethoscopes At-A-Glance

Quickly Compare School Health® Professional Stethoscopes and Aneroid Sphygmomanometers

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the difference between a single head and dual head chestpiece?

A: A single head chestpiece has both the diaphragm and bell on one side and is ideal for basic assessment, including taking blood pressure. Pulses, breath sounds and some cardiac sounds should be clearly audible using a single head chestpiece.

A dual head chestpiece has the diaphragm on one side and the bell on the other, offering more versatility. The smaller bell side is used to listen to low-frequency lung sounds, while the larger flat side is used to hear higher-frequency heart sounds.

Q: What is the difference between single tubing versus double tubing?

A: Single tubing has one tube that runs from the chestpiece to the earpiece. Double tubing (Sprague Rappaport-Type) features two tubes for each ear which provides a higher acoustical quality.

Shop School Health Stethoscopes >>

School Health Sphygmomanometers At-A-Glance

Quickly Compare School Health® Professional Stethoscopes and Aneroid Sphygmomanometers

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What is the difference between a standard air valve and deluxe air valve?

A: The deluxe air release valve has a filter screen in the end valve for improved, more precise deflation control, and the standard does not.

Shop our School Health Sphygmomanometers >>



Hand Lotion Product Review for Nurses and Healthcare Professionals


A School Nurse Put Remedy Skin Repair Cream to the Test

Remedy Skin Repair

Shop Now for Remedy Skin Repair Cream for Nurses and Healthcare Professionals>>

"I have been using the Skin Repair Cream for ten days. As a nurse, I wash my hands continually and therefore have frequent issues with dry and cracked skin. The cream absorbs rapidly and provides moisture for hours. When applying the cream, it is not oily and does not leave a sticky residue on your skin.

Even if the skin on my hands is not dry and or cracking, my cuticles always tend to be dry. When using regular lotions, I use an oil or cream to moisturize my cuticles. While using this cream, I have not had to use any additional products on my cuticles.

I had a torn cuticle that was red and extremely tender. I applied the lotion three times during the school day. By the end of the day, it was barely pink and not tender at all!

I previewed the scented cream. The fragrance was pleasantly subtle and not overwhelming. The unscented cream would be a great option for healthcare providers and those with fragrance sensitivities." 

Product Review by Amy Whaley, R.N.

District Nurse, Bloomington Independent School District              

Bloomington, Texas


Remedy Skin Repair Cream has a variety of uses in addition to working well as a hand cream. Remedy can also be used on the face, body and legs. It is specially formulated for people who are at-risk for skin breakdown. It works great as a daily therapy to help moisturize and protect delicate skin, and also provides relief to skin affected by sunburn, itching or dryness.

Remedy Skin Repair Cream contains twice as much Olivamine as any other product - Olivamine is a blend of antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins and methylsulfonylmethan, which are all known to play a vital role in basic cellular construction and protection.

Remedy will not interfere with the antimicrobial properties of CHG (Chlorhexidine Gluconate), and can be used before or after washing with CHG products. It can also be used with Latex gloves without degrading them. 


Shop for Remedy Skin Repair Cream>>


An Audiologist Shares 4 Steps to Selecting an Audiometer

Jen Repovsch Au.D

This blog was written for School Health by Jen Repovsch, Au.D., an audiologist with Maico Diagnostics in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Before joining Maico in 2004, she worked as an educational audiologist in the state of Arizona serving and advocating for children with hearing loss.

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Technology Has Changed….Is Your Hearing Screening Equipment Up-To-Date?

Technology changes and advances at an incredible rate.  So fast sometimes that it is difficult to keep up!    Luckily all of these advances benefit medical devices too, including devices used to screen hearing.  You may ask, how can an audiometer change? Isn’t a hearing screening just a hearing screening?  With recent advances in digital technology, audiometers and other hearing screening devices can be made smaller, lighter and pack in more features to make testing even simpler and more efficient.  Today, it is easier than ever to find a hearing screening device that meets your needs.  Follow the below steps to help select the best audiometer for your program:

Step 1: Identify Your State’s Requirements

The first step in choosing an audiometer for your screening program is to find out if your state has any special requirements.  Some states require specific frequency or level ranges, for example.  It is always a good idea to first contact your state health department to make sure you have up to date information before choosing an audiometer for your program.  You will want to make sure that any equipment you purchase fulfills those requirements for your state guidelines.  Once you are comfortable with your state’s requirements, you can explore different audiometer features to decide what will work best for your needs.

Step 2: Determine if Your Audiometer Needs to be Easy to Transport

The next question to take into account is where you will be using the equipment.  You may want to consider if the equipment needs to be portable or stationary, or if you will have access to an electrical outlet at the test site.   Some audiometers, such as the MAICO MA 25 air-conduction audiometer, have the option to run on either battery or electrical outlet while delivering fully calibrated digital tones for accurate hearing screens.  This allows ultimate flexibility if the audiometer will be used in several locations.

Step 3: Consider What Age Groups You Will Be Screening

The age group that you will be screening may also influence your equipment decision.  If you will be screening  pre-school aged children, you may want to consider an audiometer that includes additional tests geared toward younger children.  One example is the Pilot Test Audiometer by MAICO Diagnostics.  This air-conduction audiometer includes a standard pure-tone test as well as select picture audiometry.  Children listen to speech and point to the correct picture while the speech gets softer and softer.  Both the pure-tone test and select picture audiometry test are housed in one portable unit, allowing for flexibility in test method.

If a full-feature audiometer is required to perform air, bone and speech testing, you may want to consider one that has built-in speech files.  With digital technology, calibrated speech files can now be embedded into the audiometer, eliminating the need for separate CD’s and an external CD player.  This is especially convenient if you are testing at more than one location.  These speech files are now available in portable stand-alone audiometers and don’t even require a computer. These files can also include speech-in-noise testing and allow the operator to score the test right on the audiometer.  One example is the new MAICO MA 41.  This completely updated air-bone-speech audiometer comes with a carrying case and weighs in at only 2.7 pounds, making this an entirely portable system.  Built-in wave files and patient storage ensure accurate testing and flexible data management options while maintaining traditional audiometry dial controls.

Step 4: Choose the Desired Format for Your Test Results

Another option to consider is how you plan to handle your test results.  Do you prefer hand writing results and storing in a paper file, or do you prefer uploading results directly into an electronic format to store on a computer or server?  Many audiometers now have capabilities of storing results in digital file or directly interfacing with a computer.  For example, the MAICO MA 25e audiometer directly interfaces with certain EMR software programs used to store test results into a computer database along with other important medical records.  Other audiometers come with computer modules that allow the test equipment to interface with a computer and store data into several different types of databases.  While others, such as the MAICO MA 41, even allow data to be stored as a PDF or directly to a flash drive for easy transfer of results at a later date.  With all of the changes to electronic health records, it is important to consider how you will handle your test results when purchasing an audiometer for your hearing screening program.

Free Help Selecting an Audiometer

Whatever your situation, there is an audiometer available to meet your needs, from portable to desk-top models, screening to diagnostic versions.  It’s important to know what type of screening or testing you need to accomplish and in what environment(s) the equipment will be used.  Armed with this information, you will find the perfect audiometer for your situation!  Visit the School Health website to view the full line of MAICO screening audiometers and products or request a free consultation and download the 7 ways to screen using play audiometry >>

Everyday Heroes - Choking Rescue Story Contest


School Health and the makers of the Act+Fast Anti-Choking Trainer want to hear your choking rescue stories. Have you successfully performed the Heimlich maneuver on someone? Did someone save your life or your child’s life by stepping in and using their skills to prevent a tragedy? Have you witnessed someone at school save someone from choking?

We want to honor those individuals who have put their skills to the test when it mattered most. Please share your story with us and we will publish your stories of “Everyday Heroes” on our Facebook page.

We hope that these stories will inspire others to learn lifesaving skills.

Please submit your story before December 31st, 2013 to be eligible for a prize.

Badge SH EverydayHero


1st Place: (1) Act+Fast Anti-Choking Trainer

2nd Place: (1) Act+Fast Choking Prevention & Rescue Training Curriculum

3rd Place: $25 School Health Gift Card

We will be sharing your story on our Facebook page, so be sure to “Like” our page and share your story once it is published.

The prize winners will be announced after January 1st, 2014. Winners will be contacted via email.

Like Us on Facebook >>

Read Official Rules >>

This contest has ended.

We are hosting a similar contest now through June 30th, 2014. Please go to to learn more.

A Video Game that Detects Vision Disorders


Video Game that detects vision disorders.










Richard S. Tirendi, CEO and Co-Founder, VisionQuest 20/20

About the Author: Richard Tirendi is the engineer and entrepreneur that co-founded a national non-profit organization to protect children’s vision.  As a child, Mr. Tirendi had experienced several weeks of total blindness due to a poisonous insect bite… a terrifying experience that he did not share for nearly 30 years.  Upon meeting nationally recognized pediatric ophthalmologist (children’s eye surgeon) James O’Neil, M.D., Richard knew that Dr. O’Neil’s desire to revolutionize the detection of vision problems in children was an unprecedented opportunity to positively impact millions of children and their families.  Mr. Tirendi serves as the organization’s Chief Executive Officer.

A Public Health Dilemma Afflicting Children – But Very Few are Aware

Many parents, educators, and even some physicians are unaware that certain vision disorders, if not detected and treated early in life, can result in a condition known as amblyopia or “lazy eye” - the most common cause of blindness in persons under the age of 45.   Detection of amblyopia can be challenging because often the child can see clearly with one eye, allowing them to read a book and see the blackboard.  You can’t necessarily look at a child and see that they are suffering with a vision problem.

Up to 1 in 4 children has a vision disorder and, if their vision has always been blurred, they simply don’t know any different.  This is a public health dilemma afflicting our children with a prevalence and severity of which very few are aware.   Poor vision adversely impacts virtually every aspect of a child’s life – academically, psychosocially and ultimately, economically.  The good news is that most vision problems can be treated inexpensively and successfully – but the problems must first be found.  This is cannot be overstated – the key to addressing this dilemma is detection!

How to Solve a Public Health Dilemma With New Technology - Without Incurring Huge Costs

It would be wonderful for every child to be examined by a professional eye doctor every year, but that is not logistically or financially pragmatic.  We must not turn a blind eye.  The responsible course of action is to screen children for vision problems and refer children that do not pass the screening to an eye care professional for diagnosis and appropriate medical follow-up.  However, the traditional and most common method for vision screening children is the eye chart… the same technique used in 1862.

In late 2000, James O’Neil, M.D., a nationally recognized pediatric ophthalmologist (children’s eye surgeon), and I (a technology developer) joined forces to radically improve the accuracy, reliability, and affordability of vision screening children.  Dr. O’Neil instinctively understood that children loved games and further understood the benefits of computerized automation.  Over the past decade, we developed an innovative approach to assess the entire visual system of the child while they “play” a 3-minute video game.

A Passion for Protecting Children's Vision Becomes the Nation's Only Non-Profit Dedicated to Eliminating Undetected Vision Disorders

I recently had the privilege of discussing the importance of childhood vision on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.  This critically important topic has been overlooked for far too long and our children deserve better.  As you will see in this brief interview, a solution now exists to help virtually every child.

Watch the interview >>

The “Video Game Solution” is Born and is Easy to Implement in Schools

EyeSpy 20/20 vision screening system EyeSpy 20/20 vision screening system literally detects anything that impacts a child’s ability to see and does not require any specialized training to operate.  When independently studied by the Storm Eye Institute at the Medical University of South Carolina, EyeSpy 20/20 mimicked the results obtained by certified ophthalmic technicians using gold-standard vision testing equipment.  As a fun game, it removes children’s trepidation about getting their vision screened while saving schools precious time and resources by offering the following benefits:

  • Unlimited installations within each school – literally turning as many laptops as the school wishes into a powerful vision screener that assesses visual acuity, depth perception, and color vision deficiency

  • VERY easy to use - minimizing training and easing recruitment of volunteers that perform screenings

  • Instantaneous, bi-lingual vision reports for providing results to each student’s family

  • Recognition space on vision reports – allowing engagement of businesses and donors to raise funds for the school

  • Automated data collection, lifetime storage and reporting

  • Exports vision screening data for use by the school’s electronic health record systems

EyeSpy 20/20 vision screening system There is much more I wish to share in future blogs but until then, please contact SchoolHealth at 866-323-5465 or visit their website to learn more about the videogame that can save children’s vision.

I am truly honored that EyeSpy 20/20 is in use at hundreds of schools across the country and has accurately screened more than 200,000 children.  It is my sincere hope that millions of children receive annual EyeSpy 20/20 vision screenings - Because Every Child Deserves To See.

Richard S. Tirendi

CEO & Co-founder, VisionQuest 20/20 – a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization



Learn more about the EyeSpy 20/20 Vision Screening System >>

Ask the Expert: Current Pediatric Vision Screening Policy Q & A


Ask the Expert with P. Kay Nottingham Chaplin, Ed.D. and Jennifer Mallo, MPH, CHES


Badge SH SpotVisionScreener

Q: Are there any position statements or studies that are specific to vision screening instruments? 

A: In 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics, with the sponsorship of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, and the American Association of Certified Orthoptists, published a newInstrument-based Pediatric Vision Screening Policy Statement, replacing the previous statement from 2002.

According to the policy statement:

“Instrument-based screening is quick, requires minimal cooperation of the child, and is especially useful in the preverbal, preliterate, or developmentally delayed child. Children younger than 4 years can benefit from instrument-based screening, and visual acuity testing can be used reliably in older children” (Miller & Lessin, 2012).


Q: How is this different than the previous guidelines?

A: The previous position paper on this topic was released by the group was in 2002, titled "Use of Photoscreening for Children's Vision Screening". Needless to say, there have been many technological advances since the last paper was published. The 2002 position paper addressed the use of the photoscreener for vision screening and concluded that although it should be studied more extensively, it was an innovative tool for screening certain populations (infants, toddlers, those with developmental delays) and could increase the rate of vision screening for preschool-aged children.

The new 2012 policy statement still supports ongoing research, but provids more language about when instrument-based screening would be acceptable or recommended. 

Q: What does the position paper say about mass vision screenings, like those conducted by schools, early childhood programs, Head Starts and non-profit organizations?

A: The policy paper does not specifically address mass vision screening programs. It addresses what type of vision screening should be utilized in the child’s “medical home”.

Q: How is vision screening with instruments different than screening with eye charts?

A: Instruments measure refractive error involving the eye; eye charts measure visual acuity or the clearness of vision at the brain level. For example, an instrument report may indicate that a child has slightly blurred vision and the eye chart result may indicate that the slightly blurred vision is insufficient to require prescription eye glasses. 

Q: How do I decide which type of instrument to use?

A: Instrument-based screening includes handheld autorefractors, such as the Welch Allyn SureSight, and photoscreeners such as PediaVision Spot and Plusoptix S09 or S12Instruments measuring one eye at a time, like the Welch Allyn SureSight, cannot detect eye misalignment; instruments measuring both eyes simultaneously, like the PediaVision Spot or Plusoptix, can detect eye misalignment. 

Handheld autorefractors and photoscreeners may be used for the early detection of conditions that may lead to amblyopia.  

Q: Can I continue using eye charts?

A: Yes, the group still stands behind the tried-and-true visual acuity screening charts as a viable practice for screening vision. For example, according to the policy statement, for children ages 4 to 5 years, instrument-based screening has not been shown to be superior or inferior to eye charts (Schmidt, et al., 2004). Eye charts can be used reliably for children aged 5 years and older. Instruments can also be used with older children.

Q: How do I decide what to use based upon the age group that I am screening?

A: See this helpful summary from our vision screening expert, Dr. P. Kay Nottingham Chaplin, Ed.D (the full article can be accessed here)

Children Aged 6 Months to 3 Years According to the Policy Statement:

  • Vision screening with photoscreeners and handheld autorefractors may be electively performed in children 6 months to 3 years of age.
  • Instrument-based screening for this age group permits earlier detection of conditions that may lead to amblyopia.

Children Aged 3 Years Through 5 Years According to the Policy Statement:

  • Devices are recommended as an alternative to eye chart visual acuity screening.
  • The group does not rule out using eye charts for children aged 3 years through 5 years.
  • The policy statement reads that the use of vision charts and standard physical examination techniques to assess amblyopia in children ages 3 to 5 years of age in the medical home remains a viable practice at the present time.
  • For children aged 4 to 5 years, devices “have not been shown to be superior or inferior to visual acuity eye testing with the use of vision charts.

Children Aged 6 Years and Older According to the Policy Statement:

  • The use of visual acuity eye charts become more efficient and less costly in the medical home for children aged 6 years and older.
  • For children older than 5 years, visual acuity testing by using vision charts can be used reliably and should be performed every 1 to 2 years.
  • Photoscreening and handheld autorefractors can be used with older children who are unable or unwilling to cooperate with routine acuity screening.

Preverbal Children, Preliterate Children, and Children with Disabilities According to the Policy Statement:

  • Devices offer hope for improving the rate of vision screening for preverbal and preliterate children, as well as children with developmental delays, who are the most difficult to screen.

The policy statement provides choices while giving the official green light to use devices for young 3-year-old children who can be difficult to screen when they are not cognitively ready to participate in eye chart screening.

Request a FREE Vision Screening Consultation Now


Shop a Wide Selection of Vision Screening Products at>>



If you have a question that was not answered above, please let us know in the comment section below and our Public Health Expert and Product Manager, Jennifer Mallo, will research the answer! Jennifer has her Masters Degree in Public Health and is a Certified Health Education Specialist.


Ikeda, J., Davitt, B. V., Ultmann, M., Maxim, R., & Cruz, O. (2012). Brief report: Incidence of ophthalmologic disorders of children with autism. Journal  of Autism and Developmental Disorders,  Online February 21, 2012, 1-5. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-012-1475-2

Miller, J. M., Lessin, H. R., American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Ophthalmology, Committee on Practice and Ambulatory Medicine, American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, & American Association of Certified Orthoptists. (2012). Instrument-based pediatric vision screening policy statement. Pediatrics, 130(5), 983-986. doi: 10.1542/peds.2012-2548. Retrieved from

Schmidt, P., Maguire, M., Dobson, V., Quinn, G., Ciner, E., Cyert, L., . . . Vision in Preschoolers Study Group. (2004). Comparison of preschool vision screening tests as administered by licensed eye care professionals in the Vision in Preschoolers Study. Ophthalmology, 111(4), 637-650. Retrieved from

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