Pediatric ophthalmology deals with diseases of the eye in infants and children. In addition to a full eye exam and the prescription of glasses, pediatric ophthalmologists cover strabismus ("crossed eyes"), retinopathy of prematurity (damage to retina from being born early), congenital cataracts (clouding of lens present at birth), glaucoma (increased pressure inside the eye that damages the optic nerve), and amblyopia ("lazy eyes").

Quick Facts

Vision screenings since September 2015
Children needing referrals since September 2015
Percent needing a referral since September 2015

Free Vision Screening for Children

A Child's Vision Can't Wait


Our program has provided essential vision screenings to thousands of children throughout Southern California, providing critical early detection of vision problems needed for good eye health and to minimize or prevent vision loss.

Loma Linda Pediatric Ophthalmology is pleased to partner with the Lions Clubs of San Bernardino and Riverside County to help identify and treat eye conditions or visual disorders in children. This project is currently funded by the generous donations of the Cheng Family Foundation.

If you are a parent of a young child or are a school representative and interested in our free vision screenings, complete our interest form or learn more about our program below.

Our Purpose

To promote vision development in children by providing free vision screenings and by connecting parents to a network of informed caregivers.


Children are screened by our dedicated team of volunteers, and our team of Ophthalmologists and Optometrists are available to guide families on screening results and answer related questions. Follow-up support calls offering treatment, financial assistance and caregiver resources are also provided by volunteers.

Our program uses a photorefractive screener to screen kids. The device takes a picture of the child’s eye and gives a pass/refer result within seconds. The devices are effective for children because there is no touch to the eye; the child merely looks into a colorful screen for a few seconds and the screening is done. A "pass" result is provided if no vision issues are detected. A "refer" result is provided for a full eye exam if a potential vision issue is found. Results also indicate the reason for the referral.  The screening does not replace a full eye exam, but does note detected issues and if the child needs to see a specialist.

The photoreactive screener picks up eye irregularities and the need for glasses. The device checks for refractive error, misalignment of the eyes, opacities such as congenital cataracts or tumors such as retinoblastoma and unequal pupils. All of these conditions are treatable if caught at an early age. If a child has one or more of these problems, the child can have permanent vision loss (known as amblyopia) if it’s not caught at an early age. Children may also have delays in their development and difficulties in a school environment.

Vision conditions children can have:

  • Near Sightedness
  • Far Sightedness
  • Astigmatism (problem focusing)
  • Amblyopia
  • Ptosis (dropping eye lid)
  • Leukocoria (white pupil)
  • Strabismus (misalignment)
  • Anisometropia (difference in refractive power)
  • Anisocoria (difference in pupil size)


The vision screening program provides follow-up calls for children who do not pass the screening and helps connect parents to caregivers in their area, answer questions and provide financial assistance as needed. Our Ophthalmologist and Optometrist team assists in complex cases or may offer their professional opinion and advice to families.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is vision screening important for children?

From birth until the age of about seven, the brain is developing the ability to see. There are several problems that can interfere with the development of sight during the early years of childhood. Vision screening permits for early detection of children at risk and allows them to receive the help they need to foster visual development.

Treatment delay may result in a lower chance of success. Seeking proper treatment at a young age is important because conditions are treatable, if caught early.

How is the vision screening done? Will it hurt my child?

Our program uses a photorefractive screener. The device takes a picture of the child’s eye and gives a pass/refer result within seconds. The device is effective for children because there is no touch to the eye; the child merely looks into a colorful screen for a few seconds. However, it does not replace a full eye exam. The screening merely tells us that there is a problem and that the child needs to see a specialist.

Is the vision screening accurate if my child does not know their letters or number yet?

The child does not need to know their letters or numbers in order to complete the vision screening. Results are not impacted.

Do you bring your children to the facility or do our volunteers come to the school?

We come out to the schools and provide the screenings. If you are a parent who is interested in bringing in your child to get screened individually and they do not belong to a school, you can bring them in for an office visit by making an appointment with our program coordinator. Please see contact information for details.

What happens if my child does not pass the vision screening?

If your child is referred at the vision screening, he/she will need a complete eye exam that includes a dilated exam and cycloplegic refraction. Your child’s school will give you a form which states the child needs to see an eye doctor and will follow up with you. If you need additional assistance, our program coordinator will work with you.

Is it enough to see a primary care doctor for vision referral?

No, we highly recommend that you your take your child to your local optometrist or pediatric ophthalmologist and not your primary care physician. Although your primary care doctor is able to diagnose common health conditions, optometrists and ophthalmologists are eye specialists who can provide the appropriate vision assessment and treatment for your child. If you are not sure where to take your child, our team can assist you.

How can I get my school or child screened?

If you are interested in getting your school or children screened, please complete our vision screening interest form and a representative from our department will contact you. You can also contact us for more information.