No benefit of a pediatric screening in discovering reduced visual acuity in children: Experiences from a cross-sectional study in Germany

  • Background: The newly introduced German pediatric screening examination at the end of the third year of life (U7a) incorporates visual function testing in particular; there is no ophthalmic screening during childhood in Germany. The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between participation in U7a and visual function at the preschool health examination (PHE) in the sixth year of life. Methods: This study evaluated PHE data from school enrollment years 2009/2010 to 2014/2015 of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. Visual acuity (VA) at PHE was assessed with Rodenstock visual acuity test device (tumbling E) wearing glasses if present. The relationship between participation in U7a and VA <0.7 at PHE was calculated for reduced monocular and binocular VA using multiple logistic regression adjusted for potential confounders. Results: Data from 189,704 children (91,041 girls) in 35 out of 36 districts were included. The first children to participate in U7a were enrolled in 2011/2012 school year. In total, 90,339 children (47.6%) had U7a before PHE, while 99,365 (52.4%) had not. VA <0.7 in at least one eye was measured at PHE in 8429 (4.4%) children, and in both eyes in 4345 (2.3%) children. Participation in U7a was not associated with VA <0.7 at PHE (odds ratio 0.99; 95% confidence interval: 0.94–1.04). Conclusions: The proportion of children with VA <0.7 at PHE was high. No beneficial effect of newly introduced German U7a pediatric screening examination was found for reduced VA at PHE.

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Author:Heike Elflein, Roman Pokora, Denis F. Müller, Klaus Jahn, Katharina Ponto, Susanne Pitz, Norbert Pfeiffer, Alexander K. Schuster, Michael Siegfried Urschitz
Pubmed Id:
Parent Title (English):International journal of environmental research and public health
Publisher:MDPI AG
Place of publication:Basel
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2020
Date of first Publication:2020/05/14
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2020/07/22
Tag:amblyopia; pediatric eye screening; preschool health examination
Issue:10, Art. 3419
Page Number:10
First Page:1
Last Page:10
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited
Institutes:Medizin / Medizin
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0