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J AAPOS. 2011 Oct;15(5):480-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jaapos.2011.07.007.

Preschool vision testing by health providers in the United States: findings from the 2006-2007 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA.



Few data are available regarding the rate of preschool vision screening. The purpose of this study is to estimate the current rate of vision testing among children ages 3 through 6 years by any health care provider and to the characterize the children reported to have been tested.


We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of the 4,237 children aged 3 through 6 years included in either the 2006 or 2007 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. Household respondents were asked whether selected children ever had vision testing by a doctor or other health provider. Data were weighted to make estimates representative of the civilian noninstitutionalized population.


Overall, 64.9% (95% CI, 62.9%-66.9%) of children 3 through 6 years of age were reported to have ever had vision testing. The likelihood of previous reported testing increased with age, from 42.9% among 3-year-olds to 79.4% among 6-year-olds (P < 0.001). After adjusting for age, family income, insurance status, whether the child had a regular health care provider, and whether the child had special health care needs, we found that lower odds of testing were reported among non-Hispanic white children (odds ratio [OR], 0.73; 95% CI, 0.55-0.97) and among Hispanic children (OR, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.47-0.82) compared with non-Hispanic black children (OR, 1).


These findings highlight the gaps in the delivery of preschool vision screening. Improved population-level surveillance of children's vision and methods to track use of vision-related health services are needed to inform policy makers to develop new strategies to improve care.

Copyright © 2011 American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus. All rights reserved.

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