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Judie Tran, Lisa A Hark, Harjeet Sembhi, Melanie Snitzer, Vinit Awatramani, Angela Rice, Micheal Pond, Shayla Stratford, Deiana M. Johnson, Alex V Levin; School Vision Screening Program for Children in the School District of Philadelphia: Year 1 Outcomes. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(7 ):1445.
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Annual vision screenings in children are critical to identify and treat serious eye disorders. The purpose of this study was to conduct vision screenings in elementary students in the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) and to identify students who had refractive error and ocular pathology. Students with a refractive error were prescribed glasses and students with ocular pathology were referred to a pediatric ophthalmologist at Wills Eye Hospital.
Vision screenings were conducted in 15 schools (grades K-5) in the SDP in Spring 2014. Distance vision, near vision, stereopsis, and color vision were assessed in all students. An optometrist performed dry manifest refractions on all students who failed the initial vision screening. Consent forms for students who required glasses or a referral to a pediatric ophthalmologist were sent home with students by school nurses. In addition, SDP employees mailed consent forms directly to parents. Each consent form was marked with an “N” for those sent home with students (n=413) and “W” for those mailed directly to parents (n=826). Differences in return rates of consent forms using these methods were compared.
A total of 2775 students age 5-12 years were screened. Of those, 413 students(15%) had a refractive error correctable with prescription glasses, and 290 students(70%) returned consents allowing 2 pairs of glasses to be made for each student. A total of 136 students(5%) were referred to Wills Eye pediatric ophthalmology for evaluation of conditions such as amblyopia, hypermetropia, myopia, and monocular exotropia. A total of 58 students(46.2%) returned referral consent forms and 27(46.6%) students completed an eye exam. Of the 315 total consents returned, 267(84.8%) were originally sent home with students and 48(15.2%) were received from those mailed directly to parents.
The Wills Eye Vision Screening Program for Children was able to identify and provide glasses to elementary students in the SDP. Consent forms sent home with students yielded a higher return rate than mailings, indicating this method is preferred.<br /> Therefore, all future consents will be sent home with students during school. Vision screening programs should consider additional strategies, such as telephone calls, educational programs, or incentives, such as movie or museum tickets, to improve consent return rates to enhance follow-up pediatric eye care.
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