Background: Kentucky was the first state in the United States to pass a law requiring an eye examination by an optometrist or ophthalmologist for each child entering public school, public preschool, or Head Start program for the first time. The law became effective on July 15, 2000.
Method: Forty-three of 334 Kentucky Optometric Association members were surveyed by the Kentucky Optometric Association. They practiced in 37 of 120 counties throughout Kentucky. Eye examinations for 5,316 children entering the Kentucky school system for the first time were reviewed. The children were divided into groups of 3-year-olds, 4-year-olds, 5-year-olds, and 6-year-olds and older. The survey summarized data collected during the period of July 15, 2000 through April 1, 2001.
Results: Based on the survey of the clinical assessments of 5,316 eye examinations, a total of 740 children were prescribed spectacle lenses, 181 were diagnosed with amblyopia, 123 children were diagnosed with strabismus, and 44 were diagnosed with other eye diseases. Children in the 6-years-old and above age group were statistically prescribed more spectacle prescriptions than were children ages 3, 4, or 5 years of age. The number of spectacle lens prescriptions, strabismus, amblyopia, and eye diseases diagnosed was independent of county income levels.
Conclusion: This survey of children entering the Kentucky public school system for the first time showed that 13.92% of the children were prescribed spectacle lenses, 3.40% were diagnosed with amblyopia, and 2.31% were diagnosed with strabismus.