Vision Screening Requirements

As part of the Health and Safety Code, Chapter 36, the Vision Screening Program 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 childcare center and licensed childcare home in Texas, or who meet certain grade criteria, must be screened or have a professional examination for possible vision problems.

The requirements for vision screening [PDF 584KB] apply each year for children enrolled in any licensed childcare center and licensed childcare home or school program at the ages or grades listed below: 

Screening Requirements

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 the first semester) 

Although not required by Chapter 36, Department of Family and Protective Services licensed childcare centers and licensed childcare homes 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: Vision Screening Form M-60 [PDF 435KB]

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 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 and (2) HOTV Matching-Symbol Test.

Photo screening can be used for individuals through five years of age and those with disabilities who do not respond well to other allowable screening methods. If an 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.)

Contact Us

Texas Department of State Health Services
Vision and Hearing Screening
PO Box 149347, MC 1818, Austin, TX 78714-9347
1100 West 49th Street, Austin, TX 78756-3199
Phone: 512-776-7420
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.