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Helle K Falkenberg, Trine Langaas, Ellen Svarverud; Outcomes of Large Sample Vision Screening among School Children Aged 7-15 Years in Norway. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(13):5570. doi: https://doi.org/.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
As part of their clinical training, Norwegian optometry students vision screen 7, 10 and 15 year olds children in Kongsberg’s 13 primary schools. All children failing the screening criteria are referred to the departmental clinic. This study presents visual function data from school children between 2002 and 2012.
1126 (14.7%) of 7658 children, were referred, and 856 attended a full eye examination. Outcomes and visual status, including symptoms, refractive error, best corrected visual logMAR acuity (BCVA), binocular vision assessment and ocular health were analyzed.
594 (69%) children needed treatment, and recommendations were: glasses (60%), vision training (12%), further follow-ups (30%), referral to an ophthalmologist (4%). Glasses were recommended primarily for low hypermetropia in 7 year olds and for near vision problems in 10 yearl olds. There was a significant increase in the number of myopes in 15 year olds. Vision training was also recommended for 10 and 15 year olds. The most prevalent symptoms were near vision problems (33%), headaches (29%), and reduced distance vision (25%). BCVA was -0.03 ± 0.1, -0.08 ± 0.11, and -0.06 ± 0.11 for 7, 10 and 15 year olds respectively. Refractive (spherical equivalent) errors were +0.8 ± 0.7 DS, +0.5 ± 1.1 DS, and -0.2 ± 1.0 DS, and binocular accommodation was 14 ± 4.5 DS, 13 ± 4.5 DS, and 11 ± 3.5 DS respectively. Heterophorias were 0,8 ± 2,7 exophoria for distance and 2,5 ± 4 exophoria for near, and near point of convergence was 8 ± 7 cm across all children. False referrals were 37%, 23% and 14% for the three age groups.
The results show that visual screening correctly identifies many school children who have undetected visual problems. Importantly, most of these problems can be helped with glasses and/or vision training. This study shows that the overall visual status of Norwegian school children on average are as expected with regards to their age, and that the visual system continues to develop during primary school. Further, the type of visual problem changes over time which stresses the importance of eye examinations at regular intervals, and raised awareness among parents and teaching staff.
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