About This Report

Vision plays an important role in children’s physical, cognitive, and social development. More than one in five preschool-age children enrolled in Head Start have a vision disorder. Uncorrected vision problems can impair child development, interfere with learning, and even lead to permanent vision loss; early detection and treatment are critical. Visual functioning is a strong predictor of academic performance in school-age children, and vision disorders of childhood may continue to affect health and well-being throughout the adult years.

The economic costs of children’s vision disorders are significant, amounting to $10 billion yearly in the United States. 

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Prevalence and Impact of Vision Disorders in U.S. Children

Prevalence rates for the most common vision problems and eye disorders in children.

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Risk Factors for Vision Problems in Children

Both genetic and environmental factors play a role in the development of vision disorders.

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Access to Care

Too many children with vision disorders have unmet needs for care, leaving them vulnerable to negative effects on learning and development. Racial and socioeconomic inequities in access to care are evident across a variety of measures and studies.

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Screening and Intervention

Because young children and their parents may not be aware of reduced visual functioning, routine vision screening and/or eye examinations are vitally important to detect problems before the child’s development is compromised. Any possible problem identified by vision screening must be followed up with a comprehensive eye examination. Together, vision screening and eye examinations are complementary and essential elements of a strong public health approach to vision and eye health.

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State Approaches to Ensuring Children’s Vision and Eye Health

A look at state system change for children's vision health in Ohio, Massachusetts and Arizona.

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Creating Effective State Systems for Children's Vision

Vision screening, eye examinations, population-based data systems, and measures of accountability are the cornerstones of a comprehensive system to ensure children’s vision and eye health.

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Download the Report

Download a complete copy of the Children's Vision and Eye Health report.

The pdf file includes a complete list of sources for all data used in the report.