A new law requires eye examinations for children entering kindergarten or first grade for the first time.

The law went into effect yesterday, six weeks or so before the start of classes in many school districts. Incoming kindergarten or first grade students who have not have an eye exam yet this year have until the end of 2008 to get one.

The full-service examinations are considered better than the usual in-school vision screenings. "The best screening in the world still misses more than thirty percent of vision problems," says Acting Executive Director Lee Ann Barrett with the Missouri Optometric Association. She says studies show more than eighty percent of all learning is visual and failure to detect vision problems can hurt learning. Barrett says undetected vision problems could even lead to a mis-diagnosis of learning disabilities.. She also says the comprehensive eye exam also could pinpoint other issues such as inability to focus both eyes–impairing binocular vision–or the condition known as "lazy eye," which many people don’t realize they have.




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