Preschool vision screening for amblyopia and strabismus. Programs, methods, guidelines, 1983

Matthew I. Ehrlich, Robert D. Reinecke, Kurt Simons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


Amblyopia and strabismus, which afflict at least 5% of children, require treatment early in life for best visual results. At present, many such children are treated late or not at all. Mass screening at preschool age, and perhaps ultimately of infants, appears the only viable solution to this problem. To ascertain the present status of preschool screening in the United States, on-site visits, mail questionnaires and telephone interviews were used to study existing preschool vision screening programs at the federal, state and private organization levels. We estimate that, at most, 21% of preschool children receive any form of vision screening. Only two states, Michigan and Minnesota, have legislated requirements for such screening. Several organizations have attempted to establish screening guidelines, with suggestions of specific test and referral criteria. These guidelines are reviewed. The guidelines are of particular interest because screening programs following them typically indicate far lower prevalence rates than most studies indicate actually exist, suggesting that the guidelines result in underreferrals. In order to assess this matter, vision screening methods appropriate for preschoolers or infants, based on current evidence, are reviewed. Stereoscopic testing, utilizing a random dot stereogram format, appears the best instrument available for amblyopia and strabismus screening, but large scale comparative studies of the different test methods are needed to arrive at a final determination. Suggestions are made for the physician interested in initiating preschool vision screening programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-163
Number of pages19
JournalSurvey of ophthalmology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1983
Externally publishedYes


  • amblyopia
  • preschool vision screening
  • random dot stereograms
  • refractive screening
  • stereopsis
  • strabismus
  • vision tests
  • visual acuity tests
  • visual evoked potential

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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