Summary: The Vision for Education Act requires that K-12 students receive an eyesight screening and, if needed, an eye examination and eyeglasses.
Based on MD 1233 (2022)
See from the Johns Hopkins University: “Eyeglasses for school kids boost academic performance, study finds”
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE
This Act shall be called the “Vision for Education Act.”
SECTION 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE
(A) FINDINGS—The legislature finds that:
1) It is estimated that among all public school students, about 20 percent need eyeglasses but only about five to eight percent have them.
2) A three-year clinical study of the “Vision for Baltimore” program, conducted by Johns Hopkins researchers from the Wilmer Eye Institute and School of Education, found that after students who needed glasses got them, standardized test scores increased significantly.
3) There is a worldwide trend of more children suffering from nearsightedness. This may be due to the recent surge in children using electronic devices, but that hypothesis is, so far, unproven. Whatever the cause, the need for glasses among schoolchildren has never been so great.
(B) PURPOSE—This law is enacted to protect the health and improve the academic achievement of K-12 students.
SECTION 3. VISION SERVICES FOR K-12 STUDENTS
After section XXX, the following new section XXX shall be inserted:
(A) VISION FOR EDUCATION
1) There is a Vision for Education Office, within the [Department of Education], which works to ensure that public school students are screened for vision problems and that they receive treatment if needed.
2) The Office will survey the state’s school districts to assess which of them have an adequate pediatric vision program and which do not. And adequate program:
a) provides a vision screening when a student joins the school system, in the third or fourth grade, and in the eighth or ninth grade;
b) ensures that a student who performs poorly in a vision screening is referred to an optometrist or ophthalmologist; and
c) ensures that students who need eyeglasses have access to them;
d) however, a vision screening or referral shall be unnecessary if a student provides documentation of having seen an optometrist or ophthalmologist within the past year.
3) The Office will work with school systems to ensure that each has a plan to ensure an adequate pediatric vision program, which may include participation by state or local health departments or agreements with for-profit and nonprofit organizations.
4) The Office will report annually to the [Governor and Legislature] what budget appropriation will be needed in the next year to fund the program.
5) The Office shall adopt standards, rules, and regulations to carry out this section.
SECTION 4. EFFECTIVE DATE
This law shall become effective on XXXX 1, 202X.