Diagnostic Pathway following Child Vision Screening

  • 16 May 2023
  • RCOphth

This document summarises the referral pathway for children who fail vision screening aged 4 to 5 years as part of the childhood vision screening programme. Screening is primarily undertaken to detect children aged 4 to 5 years with impaired sight, enabling timely intervention. The most common conditions which reduce vision in this group of children are strabismus (squint) and refractive error (focusing problems requiring glasses). Strabismus and uncorrected refractive errors can prevent vision developing properly in one or both eyes (amblyopia). Amblyopia must be identified and treated within the sensitive period of neuroplasticity (growth and change) in the visual system to avoid permanent visual impairment.

This pathway covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Information on the pathway in Scotland is available from https://www.nhsinform.scot/tests-and-treatments/routine-tests-and-examinations/childrens-vision-screening