HealthDay News — About 10% of children undergoing school-based screening have a visual problem, according to a study published online in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Mayu Nishimura, PhD, 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% of children were screened using a passive consent model compared with 62% 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% [range, 25% to 83%] and 34% [range, 12% to 61%], respectively). A visual problem was detected in 10.7% of 4811 children who were screened, including 3.4% and 6.7% with amblyopia and clinically significant refractive errors, respectively. This was the first eye examination for 67.2% 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%) attended the follow-up optometry examination.

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“Through our program, about 1 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.”

Abstract/Full Text