Researchers in Canada have found that ophthalmic screening exams with a photoscreener can effectively determine amblyogenic risk factors, especially in preschoolers. Still, formal examinations are necessary to determine the proper treatment to help prevent long-term visual issues.

With the Plusoptix S12 photoscreener—designed using the same principles as a traditional transillumination test—the study screened 5,959 children aged 18 to 72 months in southwestern Ontario. About 42% of all screened children were ≤36 months old. The screening was negative in 90.4% of children, positive in 6.8% and unreadable in 2.9%. The researchers found that the estimated amblyogenic risk factor prevalence of anisometropia was 4.0%, astigmatism was 3.1%, hyperopia was 1.1%, myopia was 0.4% and strabismus was 0.4%, respectively.

The study also noted that, of the 403 referred children, 24.5% completed a formal eye examination based on the responses returned to the study site. The researchers believe that the lack of mandatory follow-up to ensure that children receive proper treatment based on cycloplegic refraction reduces the efficacy of the screening process.

Kiatos E, Armstrong JJ, Makar I. Successes and shortfalls of community Plusoptix photoscreening: results from the iSee study in southwestern Ontario. Can J Ophthalmol. September 3, 2020. [Epub ahead of print].