Vision and Hearing Screening Requirements

The Vision and Hearing Screening Program, Texas Health and Safety Code requires that all children enrolled for the first time in any public, private, parochial, or denominational school or in a Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) licensed child care center and licensed child care home in Texas, or who meet certain grade criteria (specified below), must be screened or have a professional examination for possible vision and hearing problems.

The requirements for vision and hearing screening apply each year for children enrolled in any licensed child care center and licensed child care home or school program at the ages or grades listed below:

Text alternative for table 

Vision and Hearing Screening
Who Must Be Screened
When Screening Must Be Done
  • 4-years-old by September 1 
  • Kindergartners
  • Any other first-time entrants
    (4 years* through 12th grade)
Within 120 days of admission
1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th graders
Anytime within the school year
(preferably within first semester)

*Although not required by Chapter 36, Department of Family and Protective Services licensed child care center and licensed child care home are encouraged to screen all children younger than 4 years of age who can reliably respond to the screening tests outlined in the Department of State Health Service's vision and hearing screening protocols.

To collect screening information for each child, a facility may use its own screening form or duplicate one provided by the Department of State Health Services upon request:

In either case, there must be a screening record on file for each child enrolled. The following data must be recorded: Child's Name, Type of Screening, Date, Screener, and Screening Results.

Annual screening results for vision and hearing screening activities should be submitted to the Department of State Health Services online on the Child Health Reporting System by June 30 of each year.   

Screening Procedures

For vision screening, a distance acuity for the right and left eyes must be recorded, e.g., 20/20, 20/30, etc.  Approved charts for distance acuity testing include:  (1) Sloan Letter Chart, (2) Snellen "Tumbling E" Chart, and (3) HOTV Matching-Symbol Test. Photoscreening may be used for individuals through five years of age and those with disabilities who do not respond well to other allowable screening methods. If automated screening device is used, pass/fail documentation of results should be recorded. (Muscle balance tests - Hirschberg corneal light reflex and cover-uncover tests - will be included in the certification workshops and are optional tests.) 

For hearing screening, the results of the pure-tone audiometric Sweep-Check Screen must be recorded for both the right and left ears. A Sweep-Check Screen is to be conducted at an intensity less than or equal to 25 dB; at the following frequencies: 1000, 2000, and 4000 Hertz.

Vision and Hearing Screening Requirements [PDF 32KB]

Contact Us 

Texas Department of State Health Services
Vision and Hearing Screening
PO Box 149347, MC 1818, Austin, Texas 78714-9347
1100 West 49th Street, Austin, Texas 78756-3199
Phone: 512-776-7420 or toll free 1-800-252-8023, extension 7420
Fax: 512-776-7256

Relay Texas: Dial 7-1-1

View List of Vision and Hearing Screening Regional Coordinators.

Last updated October 19, 2017