Eligibility Guidelines for School-Based Vision Services
By: Carmen Willings
revised January 30, 2019
A child with a visual impairment is one whose vision, even with correction, adversely impacts a child's educational performance. Examples are children whose visual impairments may result from congenital (from time of birth) defects, eye diseases, or injuries to the eye. Learn more about IDEA guidelines related to vision.
Caution: These are the eligibility guidelines for Georgia! Although eligibility is similar from state to state, each state is able to set their own criteria for eligibility. Each state's Department of Education should identify the criteria for eligibility.
In Georgia, a child with a visual impairment is one whose vision, even with correction, adversely impacts a child's educational performance. Examples are children whose visual impairments may result from congenital defects, eye diseases, or injuries to the eye. The term "Visual Impairment" includes both visual impairment and blindness as follows:
1. Blind refers to a child whose visual acuity is 20/200 or less in the better eye after correction or who has a limitation in the field of vision that subtends an angle of 20 degrees. Some children who are legally blind have useful vision and may read print.
2. Visually Impaired refers to a child whose visual acuity falls within the range of 20/70 to 20/200 in the better eye after correction OR who have a limitation in the field of vision that adversely impacts educational progress.
(a) Progressive visual disorders: Children, whose current visual acuity is greater than 20/70, but who have a medically indicated expectation of visual deterioration may be considered for vision impaired eligibility based on documentation of the visual deterioration from the child's optometrist or ophthalmologist.
**Students who appear to be more visually impaired than one would suspect on the basis of their eye exam or students whose visual ability appear to be highly variable for no apparent reason may be suffering from damage to the visual pathway or visual cortex. When cortical visual impairment or post trauma vision syndrome is suspected, there are several ways to detect damage to the visual cortex or visual pathway:
1. Visually Evoked Potential Mapping (VEP Map) detects the processing of visual stimuli by the visual cortex.
2. Computerized tomography (CT) scan and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) indicate areas of destroyed brain structure.
3. Electroencephalogram (EEG) measures the electrical activity of the brain.
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