The AOA's latest evidence-based clinical practice guideline, Comprehensive Pediatric Eye and Vision Examination, made its debut Friday on the National Guideline Clearinghouse (NGC).
With the NGC's approval, the pediatric guideline is now publicly available as a resource for physicians and other clinicians; health care and educational institutions; and employers and patients, among others. The pediatric eye and vision entry in the NGC is one of three guidelines produced by the AOA's Evidence-Based Optometry (EBO) Committee and posted under the database's optometry category.
Maintained by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the NGC is a database of clinical guidelines that meet rigorous, evidence-based standards set by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.
"You can really change the course of a child's life if you can catch certain eye conditions and diseases early," says Diane Adamczyk, O.D., chair of the AOA's EBO Committee. "If a child isn't functioning well visually, it can impact his or her performance in school. It can impact his or her behavior, future goals and the kind of work he or she will do as an adult.
"The AOA hopes the impact of this guideline will be far-reaching," Dr. Adamczyk says.
What the pediatric guideline offers
In this country, an estimated 1 in 5 preschool children have vision problems and 1 in 4 school-age children wear corrective eyewear. The guideline makes the argument for regular, in-person, comprehensive eye exams for newborns through 18 years old.
The AOA guideline for pediatric eye and vision care is designed to:
- Recommend optimal intervals for in-person, comprehensive eye and vision examinations for infants and children (newborn through 18 years old).
- Suggest appropriate procedures to effectively examine the eye health, vision status and ocular manifestations of systemic disease in infants and children.
- Reduce the risks and adverse effects of eye and vision problems in infants and children through prevention, education, early diagnosis, treatment and management.
- Inform and educate patients, parents/caregivers and other health care providers about the importance of eye health and good vision, and the need for and frequency of pediatric eye and vision examinations.
The guideline extensively covers how to provide a comprehensive pediatric eye and vision examination. Topics include exam procedures; assessment; and diagnosis and management of conditions and diseases. The guideline specifies age-appropriate testing procedures for infants and toddlers (newborn through 2 years of age); preschool children (3 through 5 years old); and school-age children (6 through 18 years old).
The guideline also reflects how far research and best practices in pediatric eye care have come since the last time the AOA revised its Optometric Clinical Practice Guideline for Pediatric Eye and Vision Examination in 2002. New and expanded sections in the guideline include trauma, myopia, ocular manifestations of child abuse/neglect, color vision deficiency, and ultraviolet radiation and blue-light protection.
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