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Pediatrician survey of when the first complete eye examination should take place

1 May 2001


Background: We hypothesize that pediatricians are more likely to refer their patients to ophthalmologists than optometrists, and that referrals are not being made at a sufficiently early age (namely, six months of age).

Methods: A survey was sent to 211 pediatricians listed with the Oregon Pediatricians Association. Reminder e-mails were sent out two weeks later to 150 pediatricians with available email addresses. Respondents remained anonymous.

Results: Of the 63 respondents (29.9% response rate), it was found that most pediatricians (52.4%) would exclusively refer a child to an ophthalmologist for an eye exam, rather than treat the child themselves or refer to an optometrist. The greatest number (41.3%) stated that a child should receive their first complete eye examination when they first experience vision problems. Only 7.9% agreed with the AOA, AAP, and AAO guidelines that after birth, children should first be examined at six months of age.

Conclusions: Among Oregon pediatricians, there is a definite preference toward referring patients to ophthalmologists rather than optometrists. Also, the respondents typically refer children for eye examinations at a later age than the AOA recommends.


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