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Prevalence of Amblyogenic Findings in Preschool Children: Results of a Screening Project in Kindergarten

1Schnorbus U., 2Büchner T. F., 1Grenzebach U. H., 1Busse H.,
1Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Klinik und Poliklinik für Augenheilkunde (Münster)
2Klinik und Poliklinik für Augenheilkunde, Direktor: Prof. Dr. H. Busse, Domagkstraße 15, 48149 Münster (Münster)

Purpose: In Germany screening for ocular patghology at preschool age is routinely performed by pediatricians. Some children with amblyopia or amblyogenic findings can be missed due to the low sensitivity.
Methods: About 500 children aged 3.5 to 4.5 years were examined for amblyogenic ocular findings in the kindergarten. The screening results were compared with the results of a questionnaire about the parents‘ state of knowledge and prevalence data from the literature.
Results: About 30% of the children showed one or more abnormal parameters (reduction of visual acuity, refractive errors or strabismus). In about 70% of these cases the ocular examination during the pediatricians’s screening had been unremarkable. About 40% of the children in this study had an ophthalmological examination before the time of kindergarten screening.
Conclusions: A high percentage of children at the age of 3.5 to 4.5 years had remarkable ocular findings in the screening examination. In these cases we recommended a referral to an ophthalmologist. In many cases the abnormal findings were not detected during the ocular screening by the pediatrician. There is a necessity for a routine preschool screening by ophthalmologists.
The present study is supported by the Bertelsmann foundation.