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Mandated Kindergarten Eye Examinations in a US Suburban Clinic: Is It Worth the Cost?

Authors Ekdawi NS, Kipp MA, Kipp MP

Received 13 January 2021

Accepted for publication 8 March 2021

Published 29 March 2021 Volume 2021:15 Pages 1331—1337


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Video abstract presented by Dr. Noha S. Ekdawi.

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Noha Ekdawi, Michael A Kipp, Matthew P Kipp

Wheaton Eye Clinic, Ltd., Wheaton, IL, USA

Correspondence: Noha Ekdawi Email [email protected]

Purpose: The state of Illinois has required an examination by an optometrist or ophthalmologist prior to mandatory kindergarten since 2008. This requirement has allowed us to gather information regarding disease prevalence in a local suburban population.
Methods: A retrospective chart review was undertaken of kindergarten eye examinations performed at the Wheaton Eye Clinic between September 2008 and February 2017. Inclusion criteria included school eye examination as a reason for the visit, and a cycloplegic refraction was completed.
Results: Of 3612 patient charts identified, 1085 satisfied the inclusion criteria, of which 48% were female. The average age of the patients was 5.3 years (range, 3.8 to 6.7). Historical characteristics showed 143 (13%) were premature, 28 (3%) patients were autistic and 109 (10%) were developmentally delayed. On examination, 56 (5%) had < 20/40 (WHO mild visual impairment) vision in better seeing eye, 34 (3%) had spherical equivalent refractive error in either eye > +3.50 diopters and one < − 3.00 diopters. Fifty-eight patients (5%) were diagnosed with amblyopia and 101 patients (9.3%) were given glasses. Abnormal external exam finding was found in 218 (20%) while 16 (1.5%) had an abnormal fundus finding. Thirteen percent (146/1085) had a clinically relevant diagnosis in our examinations, with a cost of $1635/diagnosis. In total, our follow-up rate was 83% (78/94).
Conclusion: Our rate of treatable ocular conditions discovered via state-mandated kindergarten eye examinations is similar to large-scale screening programs. The cost per condition found with full examinations was substantially higher; however, follow-up was more consistent.

Keywords: refractive error, kindergarten, cost analysis, vision screening, amblyopia

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