AB 1110 (Burke) would amend the Education Code to direct students to optometrists, ophthalmologists, and physicians’ offices for vision testing, thus eliminating universal school-site vision testing and increasing costs for both families and the state of California. It would also require that these exams be undertaken more frequently than is medically necessary.
AAP Positional Letter
March 27, 2017
The Honorable Autumn Burke
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249
Fax: (916) 319-2162
RE: AB 1110 (Burke): Pupil health: vision examinations
AAP-CA Position: OPPOSE
Dear Assemblywoman Burke:
I am writing on behalf of the American Academy of Pediatrics, California (AAP-CA), representing over 5,000 California pediatricians, to let you know that we respectfully oppose your proposed legislation AB 1110 (Burke). This bill would amend the Education Code to direct students to optometrists, ophthalmologists, and physicians’ offices for vision testing, thus eliminating universal school-site vision testing, and would require that these exams be undertaken more frequently.
There is no clear reason as to why the student vision screening system established by existing law should be changed. Vision screening is already required at the time of school enrollment and at least every three years thereafter, until completion of 8th grade. School nurses are fully qualified and able to provide this screening, which is sufficient to catch students’ vision problems and refer them for further screening or treatment as needed.
AB 1110 (Burke) would create a costly, unfunded mandate by requiring that students instead have their vision tested every two years by a physician, optometrist, or ophthalmologist. Not only is this frequency unmerited, but it is also not necessary that vision screenings be performed by physicians, optometrists, or ophthalmologists, as these tests can be performed capably and for far lesser expense by a trained school nurse or physician assistant. Moreover, the requirement to seek outside vision testing would greatly inconvenience working families who have neither the time nor the money to take their children to unnecessary, burdensome, and costly appointments that may conflict with their children’s school hours or their own working hours. At the same time, there is no evidence that this legislation would significantly improve educational or health outcomes, while it could very easily contribute to funneling both state and working families’ funds away from more pressing needs.
We appreciate your intent in crafting this legislation. For the reasons listed above, however, pediatricians strongly oppose AB 1110 (Burke) as written. We look forward to working with you in the future to improve children’s health and well-being, and we thank you for considering our concerns about your proposed legislation.
Victor Perez, M.D., Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics
State Government Affairs Committee, American Academy of Pediatrics, California
CC: Kris Calvin, CEO; AAP-CA Leadership; Lydia Bourne