Amblyopia and Routine Eye Exam in Children: Parent's Perspective

Children (Basel). 2021 Oct 18;8(10):935. doi: 10.3390/children8100935.


Amblyopia is a reduced best-corrected visual acuity of one or both eyes that cannot be attributed to a structural abnormality; it is a functional reduction in the vision of an eye caused by disuse during a critical period of visual development. It is considered the leading cause of visual defects in children. With early diagnosis and treatment, children with amblyopia can significantly improve their vision. However, if it is neglected and not treated during childhood, unfortunately, it permanently decreases vision. Therefore, prevention, detection, and treatment largely depend on parents. This article explores parents' perspectives on amblyopia and routine examination of their children's eyes. A cross-sectional study used an electronic questionnaire consisting of five main sections to assess the level of awareness of amblyopia among parents. As a result, a total of 325 participants were included in our analysis. 209 (64.3%) were mothers, and 116 (35/7%) were fathers. The age groups were 35-50 years of age (61.5%), 20-34 years (23.4%), and older than 50 years (15%). Participants with a history of amblyopia numbered 23 (7.1%), and 39 had an amblyopic child (12%). A good awareness level of amblyopia among parents was found in only 10 (3%) participants, a fair awareness level in 202 (62%), and 113 (35%) participants were classified as having a poor awareness level of amblyopia. Only 13.8% of the parents took their children for yearly routine eye exams, while the majority (72%) took their children only if they had a complaint, and 14.2% took them for eye checkups only before school entry. In conclusion, parents' awareness of amblyopia in Tabuk City, KSA, was low. In addition, a limited proportion of parents reported consistently taking their children for routine eye exams. Therefore, raising awareness should be considered in public education regarding the disease.

Keywords: Saudi Arabia; amblyopia; attitudes; children’s routine eye exams; decrease vision; knowledge; parent’s perspectives.