What is Amblyopia? A Primary Care Physician’s Perspective
Maria C. Fernandez-Ruiz, MD; Reecha S. Bahl, MD; Evelyn A. Paysse, MD
Baylor College of Medicine/Texas Children’s Hospital
Introduction: Amblyopic vision loss can be both reversible and/or preventable if identified in a timely matter. With the proper knowledge, primary care physicians are able to identify these patients earlier and refer them to a specialist for prompt management. The purpose of this study is to investigate the knowledge of pediatric primary care physicians regarding amblyopia and their practice patterns for vision screenings and referrals.
Methods: An online physician survey was sent to pediatric primary care physicians in the Texas Children’s Hospital to evaluate their knowledge regarding amblyopia, as well as vision screeninga nd referral practice patterns.
Results: 250 emails have been sent and 87 physicians have responded. 100% of physicians answered they understood what amblyopia was, but only 16.7% could correctly define amblyopia. 81.2% perform vision screenings, most of them starting around ages 3-5. 64.4% refer patients once they identified vision was decreased in at least one eye; 75% of them directly referred to a pediatric ophthalmologist.
Discussion: Based on the results thus far, the surveyed physicians do not have a complete understanding of this disease and how it should be managed. Early detection is one of the most important aspects of successful amblyopia management. Our results validate the need for better physician education in this matter to help improve patient quality of care.
Conclusion: This information can help us improve physician education in this topic in order to identify the patients at risk of amblyopia earlier and treat this time sensitive disease more efficiently.
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2. Hered RW, Wood DL. Preschool Vision Screening in Primary Care Pediatric Practice. Public Health Reports. 2013. 128. 1890197.
3. Traboulsi EI, Cimino H, Mash C, et al. Vision First, A Program to Detect and Treat Eye Diseases in Young Children: the first four years. Trans Am Ophthalmol Soc 2008; 106: 179-186.