Can Screening Eye Exams in Primary Care Setting Improve Outcomes in Older Adults?

July 26, 2009

US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) published an update to the 1996 recommendation statement on screening for visual impairment a recent issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. This update states that the current evidence is not sufficient to balance the benefits and harms of visual screening for visual acuity in older adults.

The USPSTF reviewed evidence about the benefits of screening of adults 65 or older in the primary care setting for visual acuity impairment by uncorrected refractive errors, cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). According to the evidence, the USPSTF concluded that visual acuity testing does not accurately identify early AMD and that evidence is convincing that screening with a visual acuity test identifies those with refractive error.  The evidence does show that screening questions are less accurate than visual acuity testing to evaluate visual acuity.

However although the evidence does not support screening for visual acuity in the primary care setting, the authors do note that other associations — The American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Optometric Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists — all recommend visual acuity screenings or eye examinations for older adults.

Read the complete abstract and complete article.




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