Purpose: This population-based study examines the prevalence of childhood visual disorders: amblyopia (strabismus, refractive errors) and organic disease. It also assesses treatment outcomes, visual impairment and residual amblyopia.
Methods: 1582 children were retrospectively analysed on treatment completion (age 8-9 years). Significant visual disorders included: esotropia, exotropia, anisometropia (hyperopia > or = 1.50DS, astigmatism > or = 1.00DC, myopia > or = 1.50DS), ametropia (hyperopia > or = 1.50DS, astigmatism > or = 1.0DC, myopia > or = 0.75DS) and organic defects.
Results: 198 children (12.5%) had a significant visual disorder: strabismus (3.98%), eso:exo rate 5:1, anisometropia (2.34%), ametropia (5.82%), organic defects (0.38%). Organic disease caused visual handicap (< 6/18 in better eye) in 0.13%. Amblyopic visual impairment (6/18; 6/24-6/60) occurred in 1.13%; 2.02% had residual amblyopia (6/12 or worse).
Conclusions: Childhood visual disorders are a common problem. Unfavourable visual outcomes in esotropia are related to two sub-groups and particularly with poor concordance to treatment. Suggested strategies to improve outcomes include health promotion, an "Amblyopia Nurse" and a "Patch Club".