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M.J. Reed, S.P. Kraft; Experiences and Opinions of Vision Care Providers with Vision Screening Programs . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2003;44(13):4847.
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Purpose: Recent overviews of vision screening programs have questioned screening validity in terms of mandates, practice standards and compliance. The purpose of this research was to examine the attitudes and experiences of vision care providers with vision screening. Method: One hundred and forty-three vision care providers (including optometrists, orthoptists, pediatric ophthalmologists and public health administrators) were surveyed regarding vision screening programs. The survey objectives were to query providers regarding their support for programs, their opinions of standards and practices, their experiences with public compliance and their opinions of barriers to screening. Results: While overall providers supported the adoption of screening programs, those working in lower health care access areas were significantly more supportive than those in higher access areas (p<.05). In addition, providers agreed that vision screening procedures should be standardized and made part of larger health screening. However, there were differences among providers (i.e. optometrists vs. ophthalmologists) over the organization of standards, the appropriate age for screening, and screening procedures. While providers generally agreed that strabismus, amblyopia and refractive errors should be screened; there were inconsistencies amongst providers in the types of tests that had been used in screening. Providers also reported that most parents are compliant with initial screening but less compliant with follow-up appointments. Compliance with screening was significantly lower in areas of low access to vision care (p<.05). The majority of providers had been, but were no longer, involved in vision screening programs. These providers noted that screening programs take considerable time and funds. Also, providers were concerned about the validity of screening (outcome measures) and the impression screening leaves on parents (i.e. screening replaces a regular eye exam). Conclusions: Providers will support screening if practice standards and mandates are developed, and screening outcomes from these standards are made clear. In addition, screening may be a way to access service in under serviced areas.
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