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Illinois School Requirements for Children's Vision

  • Illinois requires a vision examination
  • Frequency: Preschool children 3 years of age (or older) in any public or private educational program or licensed child-care facility, children enrolling in kindergarten or for the first time in a public, private, or parochial school, and all school age children in second and eighth grades; in all special education classes; referred by teachers

and

  • Recommends a vision screening
  • Frequency: Children in grades 4, 6, 10 and 12. 

Requires all children enrolling in kindergarten in a public, private, or parochial school and any student enrolling for the first time in a public, private, or parochial school shall have an eye examination. Each of these children shall present proof of having been examined by a physician licensed to practice medicine in all of its branches or a licensed optometrist within the previous year before October 15th of the school year. If the child fails to present proof by October 15th, the school may hold the child's report card until the child presents proof of a completed eye examination or the child presents proof that an eye examination will take place within 60 days after October 15th.

The Department of Public Health shall establish, by rule, a waiver for children who show an undue burden or a lack of access to a physician licensed to practice medicine in all of its branches who provides eye examinations or to a licensed optometrist. Each public, private, and parochial school must give notice of this eye examination requirement to the parents and guardians of students. No school may exclude a child from attending because of a parent's or guardian's failure to obtain an eye examination for the child. Physicians licensed to practice medicine in all its branches or licensed optometrists shall perform all eye examinations and shall sign all report forms that pertain to the eye examination.

An eye examination shall at a minimum include history, visual acuity, subjective refraction to best visual acuity near and far, internal and external examination, and a glaucoma evaluation, as well as any other tests or observations that in the professional judgment of the doctor are necessary. Vision screening tests shall be conducted in accordance with rules and regulations of the Department of Public Health, and by individuals whom the Department of Public Health has certified. In these rules and regulations, the Department of Public Health shall require that individuals conducting vision screening tests give a child's parent or guardian written notification, before the vision screening is conducted, that states, "Vision screening is not a substitute for a complete eye and vision evaluation by an eye doctor. Your child is not required to undergo this vision screening if an optometrist or ophthalmologist has completed and signed a report form indicating that an examination has been administered within the previous 12 months."

The individuals conducting the eye examination shall record the fact of having conducted the examination on uniform forms which the Department of Public Health and the State Board of Education shall prescribe for statewide use. The examiner shall summarize on the report form any condition that he or she suspects indicates a need for special services. Every school shall report to the State Board of Education by June 30, in the manner that the State Board requires, the number of children who have received the required eye examination, indicating, of those who have not received the required eye examination, the number of children who are exempt from the eye examination, the number of children who have received a waiver, and the total number of children in noncompliance with the eye examination requirement. This reported information shall be provided to the Department of Public Health by the State Board of Education.

Parents or legal guardians who object to eye examinations on religious grounds shall not be required to submit their children or wards to the examinations or immunizations to which they so object if such parents or legal guardians present to the appropriate local school authority a signed statement of objection, detailing the grounds for the objection. Exempting a child from the eye examination does not exempt the child from participation in the program of physical education training.

105 Illinois Statute 5/27-8.1

Requires vision screening services shall be provided annually for all preschool children 3 years of age (or older) in any public or private educational program or licensed child-care facility, all school age children who are in kindergarten, second and eighth grades; in all special education classes; referred by teachers; and transfer students.  Vision screening is recommended in grades 4, 6, 10 and 12.  Such screening services shall be provided in all public, independent, private and parochial schools. In lieu of the screening services required, a completed and signed report form, indicating that an eye examination by an M.D. specializing in diseases of the eye or a licensed optometrist has been administered within the previous 12 months, is acceptable.

The parent or legal guardian of a student may object to vision screening tests for their child on religious grounds.  If a religious objection is made, a written and signed statement from the parent or legal guardian detailing such objections must be presented to the screening entity. Individuals conducting vision screening tests shall give a child's parent or guardian written notification, before the vision screening is conducted, that states, "Vision screening is not a substitute for a complete eye and vision evaluation by an eye doctor.  Your child is not required to undergo this vision screening if an optometrist or ophthalmologist has completed and signed a report form indicating that an examination has been administered within the previous 12 months."

Illinois Administrative Code 77 §685.110

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/010500050k27-8.1.htm

http://www.epchs.k12.il.us/offices/health/Vision%20and%20Hearing%20Screenings.doc

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