Screening for amblyopia in preverbal children with photoscreening photographs. National Children's Eye Care Foundation Vision Screening Study Group

Ophthalmology. 1998 May;105(5):856-63. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(98)95026-6.


Objective: This study aimed to determine the ability of healthcare professionals and lay volunteers to grade photoscreening photographs.

Design: The study design was a cross-sectional study.

Participants and intervention: One hundred children 3 years of age or younger received a complete ophthalmologic examination and were photographed using the Medical Technology Innovations (MTI) photoscreener. Twenty-six children had normal examination results, and the remaining 74 children had conditions that are of interest for pediatric screening, including strabismus, refractive error, media opacities, and ptosis. Eighteen volunteers, including pediatric ophthalmologists, pediatricians, ophthalmic technicians, health department nurses, Prevention of Blindness Society personnel, and Lions Club volunteers, graded each of the 100 photoscreening photographs.

Main outcome measures: Sensitivity and specificity of vision screening and of photograph grading were measured.

Results: Results from various graders yielded sensitivities ranging from 37% to 88% and specificities ranging from 40% to 88%. No single grader achieved sensitivity and specificity both greater than 70%. The grading of the manufacturer's representative had a sensitivity of 43% and a specificity of 85%. Sensitivity decreased to 31% for strabismus and 18% for refractive error when the correct type of strabismus or refractive error was required to be considered true-positives. Results were not positively correlated with the ophthalmologic knowledge of the participant.

Conclusions: The wide variability in sensitivities and specificities among graders indicates inconsistent photograph interpretation skills or deficient screening guidelines or both. For off-axis photoscreening as implemented by the MTI system to become a useful vision-screening method, additional photograph interpretation skill transfer may be beneficial, although not necessarily sufficient.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Allied Health Personnel / standards
  • Amblyopia / diagnosis*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Clinical Competence / standards*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Ophthalmology / standards
  • Photography* / methods
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Vision Screening / standards*