Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Findings from an opt-in eye examination service in English special schools. Is vision screening effective for this population?

Donaldson, Lisa A., Karas, Marek, O'Brien, Donna and Woodhouse, J. Margaret ORCID: 2019. Findings from an opt-in eye examination service in English special schools. Is vision screening effective for this population? PLoS ONE 14 (3) , e0212733. 10.1371/journal.pone.0212733

[thumbnail of journal.pone.0212733.pdf]
PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (395kB) | Preview


Our objective was to present the findings of an opt-in, school-based eye care service for children attending 11 special schools in England and use these findings to determine whether a vision screening programme would be appropriate for this population. Data from eye examinations provided to 949 pupils (mean age 10.7 years) was analysed to determine the prevalence and aetiology of visual deficiencies and reported eye care history. For 46.2% (n = 438) of pupils, a visual deficiency was recorded. 12.5% of all the children seen (n = 119) had a visual deficiency that was previously undiagnosed. Referral for a medical opinion was made for 3.1% (n = 29) of pupils seen by the service. Spectacle correction was needed for 31.5% (n = 299) of pupils; for 12.9% (122) these were prescribed for the first time. 3.7% (n = 11) of parents/carers of pupils needing spectacles chose not to use the spectacle dispensing service offered in school. Eye care history was available for 847 pupils (89.3%). Of the pupils for whom an eye care history was available, 44% (n = 373) reported no history of any previous eye care and10.7% (n = 91) reported a history of attending a community optical practice/opticians. Only one pupil from the school entry 4–5 age group (0.6% of age group n = 156) would have passed vision screening using current Public Health England screening guidelines. Children with a diagnosis of autism were significantly less likely to be able to provide a reliable measurement of visual acuity. This study supports previously published evidence of a very high prevalence of visual problems in children with the most complex needs and a significant unmet need in this group. It demonstrates routine school entry vision screening using current Public Health England guidelines is not appropriate for this group of children and very low uptake of community primary eye care services.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Optometry and Vision Sciences
Publisher: Public Library of Science
ISSN: 1932-6203
Funders: National Health Service England General Ophthalmic Service contract, Department of Health Innovation, Excellence and Strategic Development Fund
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 11 October 2019
Date of Acceptance: 10 February 2019
Last Modified: 04 May 2023 20:02

Citation Data

Cited 11 times in Scopus. View in Scopus. Powered By Scopus® Data

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics