To be sure, newer screening devices for early detection of amblyopia will provide reasonably good results compared to screening with a long lane in your office and the child covering their own eye. So, it may be a no-brainer to invest in one. However, there are several important factors to consider that—if done carefully—will help you make the right decision, noted Daniel J. Karr, MD, FAOO, FAAP, professor of ophthalmology and pediatrics and the director of the Elks Children’s Eye Clinic and Strabismus Services in Portland, OR.
Start off by determining the target group to be screened. Is the device for a pediatrician’s office, a preschool head start program, or for community screening use? Next, ask who will perform the screening: volunteers, office staff, or researchers? Of course, budget always plays a role. And that can mean more than just the purchase or lease price of the device. Look carefully for potential hidden or extra costs, including costs per test/click or cost per interpretation. Also think about the level of interpretation needed for the device you are considering, since that can result in added expense. Beyond this, consider the level of reimbursement you may or may not receive. Then be sure to have additional eye exam slots available for those who fail screenings.
Why Instrument-Based Screening …
With the availability of the affordable American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus Screening Kit, why consider instrument-based screening? Photo-screening, explained Dr. Karr, is proven and medically necessary 1) as a mass screening instrument for children 1 to 3 years of age; and 2) in children ≥4 years of age who are developmentally delayed and are unable or unwilling to cooperate with routine visual acuity screening.
… and Which One Should You Use?
If you’re ready to make the plunge, here are your major options:
Karr D. Vision screening devices for early detection of amblyopia risk factors. Talk presented at: AAO 2018 annual meeting; October, 26-30, 2018; Chicago.