A Local Optician Wants Changes Made to Vision Test at Public Schools - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

A Local Optician Wants Changes Made to Vision Test at Public Schools

YAKIMA, Wa -  A local optician wants changes to the vision test students receive at public schools. 

Right now, schools only test for distance vision.  That's what they can see from 20-feet away.  Yvonne Schnellbach knows first hand that near vision problems can cause serious learning difficulties.  

Schnellbach gives eleven-year-old Carter Svendsen a near vision test.  It tests his ability to read letters and numbers eleven to 16-inches away.  The whole thing takes about two minutes.

"Vision tests in schools give false sense of security to parents and their child's vision is normal," says Schnellback, an optician in Yakima. 

In fact, the test schools currently use is over 200 years old. 

Schnellbach knows first hand what can happen when a student goes undiagnosed with near vision problems.  Her son struggled in school for two years.

"His whole attitude changed.  He used to want to please teachers.  Then, when he started to struggle, he stopped caring," she says.

Schnellbach's son had trouble focusing on words when he was reading.  The school put him in a remedial reading class, but she says all he needed was bifocals.

"They are aware that the problem exists, but they don't have the time, personnel and money," says Schnellbach.  

She says the only way school districts will start testing for near vision problems is if the legislature makes it a requirement.  She's started a committee to help create awareness among parents.

"Think of all the children that have been overlooked."  

Schnellbach's son is a success story.  He's now 25-years-old and selling real estate on the west side. 

She says 80-percent of learning activities involve vision, and 50-percent of children with learning disorders have vision problems.

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