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Is community screening for amblyopia possible, or appropriate?
  1. M C Wright,
  2. D J Colville,
  3. F Oberklaid
  1. University of Melbourne, Department of Paediatrics, Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.

    Abstract

    Photoscreeners are becoming increasingly available and are being widely used to screen for visual abnormalities in young children. However, consideration of accepted criteria for screening programs indicates there is still much further research that needs to be carried out before amblyopia screening could be recommended as a routine component of a community health surveillance program--an adequate description of the potential consequences of an individual developing amblyopia has yet to be provided and the natural history of the condition and factors that determine the effectiveness of treatment have yet to be fully described. While there is the promise of technology that satisfies specific test requirements, this still needs to be trialed in community settings and community trials are required before it will be possible to determine whether the costs that will be incurred in carrying out routine screening and in providing the resources for treatment are warranted. In conclusion, the development of new and possibly more effective technology for screening is only part of the answer to the amblyopia question. While superficially this technology makes screening for amblyopia a possibility, we do not know at this stage whether or not it is appropriate.

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