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State Proposal Would Require Preschool Eye Exams

A NJ Senate committee OK’d the measure.

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TRENTON, NJ – The New Jersey Legislature’s Senate Education Committee has passed a bill that would require children aged 6 and under who are entering public schools or Head Start Programs for the first time to have a comprehensive eye examination.

The exam would have to be completed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist by Jan. 1 of the child’s initial year of
enrollment, according to a press release from the Vision Impact Institute.

“According to experts, up to 80 percent of all learning occurs visually, meaning that children with poor
vision are likely to have a major disadvantage when starting school,” said Kristan Gross, global executive director of the Vision Impact Institute. “We’re grateful that the Senate Education Committee is committed to the future of our students by advocating for their vision right from the start.”

The bill was sponsored by Sens. Teresa Ruiz and Shirley Turner and co-sponsored by Sens. Patrick Diegnan and Troy Singleton.

Gross added: “The decision to pass this legislation is the work of so many partners. When we started the Kids See: Success initiative, in partnership with Optometry Giving Sight and others, we knew it would be the power of partnership that could bring this issue to the forefront.

“Now, the additional collaboration of new legislative advocates, teachers, school administration professionals and parents will be the catalyst that can turn this legislation into action. Children have a fundamental right to see clearly and achieve full academic success in the classroom. SB 2804 ensures that New Jersey children will have that opportunity.”

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