By the Central Michigan District Health Department

OSCEOLA COUNTY — Clearness of vision, eye muscle balance, nearsightedness and farsightedness are tests offered during a vision screening through a local health department.

Hearing screenings often have been helpful in identifying hearing loss and providing assistance in finding the appropriate medical referrals if further testing is needed. The Central Michigan District Health Department offers both of these screenings to children during the school year at no cost to the parents. For children 3 through 6 years of age with Medicaid coverage, your insurance covers the cost of the screening.

Our state-trained staff provides vision screening services to children in preschool and in the first, third, fifth, seventh and ninth grades. Hearing screening is done for preschool children and those in kindergarten, second and fourth grade. Preschoolers are screened in larger day cares, Head Start centers or during kindergarten round ups. Students are screened throughout the school year as our technicians visit each school district. Other children may be screened at the request of a teacher or parent, and also are offered at CMDHD clinics by appointment if needed.

All children who are being home schooled also can get screened at no cost to the parent.

Any family with home-schooled children can call the local health department branch office and ask to make an appointment for hearing and vision screening. Appointments are available during the summer months as well.

The parent of any child who does not pass the screening is contacted and asked to take the child in for more testing by a doctor. Approximately 10 percent of children screened for vision and 5 percent of children screened for hearing in Michigan are referred to specialists. Referrals to community services for assistance are also available.

For more information or to set up a screening appointment for eligible school age children, please call the Osceola County office at (231) 832-5532 ext. 8521.