Visual acuity testability and comparability in Australian preschool children: the Sydney Paediatric Eye Disease Study

Eye (Lond). 2012 Jul;26(7):925-32. doi: 10.1038/eye.2012.60. Epub 2012 Apr 13.


Purpose: To establish standardised protocols for vision screening, testability and comparability of three different vision tests were examined in a population-based, cross-sectional sample of preschool children (Sydney Paediatric Eye Disease Study).

Methods: Measurement of presenting monocular distance visual acuity (VA) using the Amblyopia Treatment Study (ATS) HOTV protocol, was attempted by all (1774) children aged≥24 months. In addition, in children aged≥60 months (576), VA was also tested using the logMAR retro-illuminated HOTV or Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) linear charts (CSV 1000). Children able to have both eyes tested monocularly were considered.

Results: Testability significantly increased with age for all VA tests. The ATS HOTV with an overall testability of 80% (females: 82%, males: 78%) was the most testable of the VA tests (P<0.0001). In children aged <3 years testability was low (≤47%) rising to≥80% in children aged≥3. In children≥60 months, testability was higher for the HOTV (94%) than the ETDRS (59%) chart. In those that did two VA tests, mean difference of the ATS HOTV compared with the HOTV(CSV) was -0.1, and compared with ETDRS was -0.12 (P<0.0001).

Conclusions: Children aged <3 years had poor VA testability, whereas those 3 years and above were highly testable using the ATS HOTV. The HOTV (CSV) retro-illuminated test was appropriate for children aged >5 years, and may be possible in younger children with early educational exposure. When comparing VA measures using these tests, the higher VA attained using the ATS HOTV, needs to be taken into account.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Vision Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Vision Screening / methods*
  • Visual Acuity*