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School-Based Vision Screening IDs Issues in 10.7 Percent of Children

Last Updated: July 20, 2020.

About 10 percent of children undergoing school-based screening have a visual problem, according to a study published online July 20 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

MONDAY, July 20, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- About 10 percent of children undergoing school-based screening have a visual problem, according to a study published online July 20 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

Mayu Nishimura, Ph.D., from the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, and colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study offering vision screening to junior (JK) and senior kindergarten (SK) children attending 43 schools.

The researchers found that 89 percent of children were screened using a passive consent model compared with 62 percent using an active consent model. Across schools, there was variation noted in referral rates to an optometrist (mean referral rate for children in JK and SK, 53 percent [range, 25 to 83 percent] and 34 percent [range, 12 to 61 percent], respectively). A visual problem was detected in 10.7 percent of 4,811 children who were screened, including 3.4 and 6.7 percent with amblyopia and clinically significant refractive errors, respectively. This was the first eye examination for 67.2 percent of the children with a visual problem. Among children who passed screening in year 1, rescreening in year 2 did not lead to detection of additional problems. Most children (68.9 percent) attended the follow-up optometry examination.

"Through our program, about one in 10 children who were screened were identified as having a visual problem, with most identified for the first time," the authors write. "Our findings indicate the value of implementing this type of program universally across Canada."

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