Effectiveness of Screening Preschool Children for Amblyopia: A Systematic Review
Christine Schmucker, Robert Grosselfinger, Rob Riemsma, Gerd Antes, Stefan Lange, Wolf Lagréze and Jos Kleijnen
Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care, Germany
This systematic review focuses on the question of whether screening for amblyopia in children up to the age of six years leads to better vision outcomes.
Three out of five studies studies suggested that screening is associated with an absolute reduction in the prevalence of amblyopia between 0.9% and 1.6% (relative reduction: between 45% and 62%).
However, the studies showed weaknesses, limiting the validity and reliability of their findings.
The main limitation was that studies with significant results considered only a proportion of the originally recruited children in their analysis.
On the other hand, retrospective sample size calculation indicated that the power based on the cohort size was not sufficient to detect small changes between the groups.
Outcome parameters such as quality of life or adverse effects of screening have not been adequately investigated in the literature currently available.
Population based preschool vision screening programmes cannot be sufficiently assessed by the literature currently available.
However, it is most likely that the present systematic review contains the most detailed description of the main limitations in current available literature evaluating these programmes.
Therefore, future research work should be guided by the findings of this publication.