January 10, 2014
1 min read

Minimally trained screeners can identify potential vision problems in children at similar rates as professionals

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Students training in the health care profession screened and identified potential ocular problems in low-income and minority children at a comparable rate to health care professionals with advanced testing, a study found.

The study comprised 9,743 African-American, Hispanic and Caucasian children, ages ranging from 6 to 11 years, who underwent screening for ocular problems including refractive errors and hyperopia. Screening was conducted at elementary schools in poor, urban locations, using an HOTV chart to detect refractive errors, hyperopia and near point acuity, and the Random Dot E test to detect binocular vision.

Failure rates for children at one or more vision screening tests were 14.1% (African-American), 14.2% (Hispanic) and 11% (Causasian). Screen test failures were most significant in children aged 9 to 11 years.

The investigators reported that racial and ethnic differences were attributable to children who failed far vision, near point and binocular screening tests, while increasing age was linked to a greater likelihood of failure on all tests.

“The results suggest that repeated screening of children by appropriately trained individuals, followed by more formal, thorough testing, is a cost-effective method for identifying vision problems in children,” the study authors said.

Disclosure: The authors have no relevant financial disclosures.