Purpose: To describe the prevalence of strabismus and factors associated with its diagnosis in a representative sample of older Australian children.
Design: Cross-sectional, population-based study.
Methods: A representative stratified random cluster sample of 2353 children (aged 12 years) attending 21 secondary schools in Sydney, Australia was examined in 2004 to 2005 (response 75.3%). Cover testing was performed at near (30 cm) and distance (6 m); cycloplegic autorefraction, visual acuity, and stereoacuity were assessed. Previous strabismus diagnosis was obtained from parental questionnaires.
Results: Strabismus was evident in 64 children (2.7%); 21 (33%) had esotropia, 27 (42%) had exotropia, and 16 (25%) had microstrabismus. There were no gender (P = .2) or ethnicity (P = .6) associations. Previous diagnosis by an eye practitioner was noted in 27 (42%). This was related to hyperopia (P = .04), esotropia (P = .001), and amblyopia (P = .001).
Conclusions: Strabismus was relatively infrequent in this Australian childhood sample. Its diagnosis was strongly related to presence of esotropia, hyperopia, and amblyopia.