Jones introduces student eye exam legislation

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Rick Jones has introduced legislation that would provide a clear path for school-aged children who fail a vision screening to receive a comprehensive eye and vision examination.

“If we could catch children’s vision problems sooner, there is a chance to prevent a misdiagnosis of a learning disability,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “These comprehensive eye and vision exams will help get children the proper help they need, and as a result, help them read, learn and be successful.

“We owe it to our children to give them the best care for a successful future, and if something as simple as a comprehensive eye exam is part of the answer, then we should be doing this.”

Senate Bill 411 would create the next step for a child who fails their already required grade school vision screening or is identified as a struggling reader by a qualified individual to receive a comprehensive eye and vision exam.

The local health department would receive a written request that a child needs a comprehensive eye and vision exam and would notify the parent or guardian that the child is required to get the examination. The parent would then have to ensure that the child has the exam, which emphasizes visual functioning. The recommendation from the eye care professional would then be submitted to the local health department and parent of the child.

“Early treatment for certain vision conditions could prevent lifelong behavioral health problems,” Jones said “Students who do not read well by the third grade are four times more likely to drop out. This would help reduce the chances of children dropping out of school and also lead to a costs savings in treatment and medical costs for the future.”

Jones’ bill has been referred to the Senate Health Policy Committee for consideration.