Vision screening in a primary care setting. A missed opportunity?

E. Strahlman, D. Ford, P. Whelton, A. Sommer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


To determine the effectiveness of vision screening in a primary case setting, we administered a questionnaire and a vision test to 458 patients from a general medical clinic. Subjects were referred for complete ophthalmologic evaluation if they failed the vision test or met other 'high-risk' criteria based on information contained in the questionnaire. Patient-initiated requests for eye examinations were also honored. A total of 169 patients were scheduled for eye examinations, and 148 actually underwent ophthalmologic evaluation. One hundred one of those examined were referred on the basis of the study criteria. 'Serious eye disease' (cataract, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, or age-related macular degeneration) was diagnosed in 96 (95%) of these patients. Prompt surgical intervention was recommended in 27 (27%), and medical treatment was begun in 21 (21%). Of those with serious eye disease, 59% met the criteria by failing the vision test, while 69% met the high-risk criteria determined by the questionnaire. Of the 148 subjects who received ophthalmologic evaluations, 47 requested them. Serious eye disease was diagnosed in 23 (50%) of the 47 patients. None of these individuals required immediate surgery, and medical treatment for glaucoma was begun in eight (17%). These data suggest that screening for serious eye disease in a primary case setting is an efficient mechanism to use for the identification of patients with undetected ocular disorders that require follow-up or treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2159-2164
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of internal medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 12 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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