A team of Mayo Clinic ophthalmologists have validated what they are calling a user-friendly computer program for pediatric vision testing. Tomohiko Yamada, O.D. and colleagues tested the the Jaeb Visual Acuity Screener (JVAS) - a computerized test -- on 175 children between 3 and 7 years old. After that, they were also tested by an expert ophthalmologist using conventional methods. The screening test is fast -- an average of only 84 seconds to obtain the crucial information. It's also fairly accurate. Compared to the physician exam, the computer test had only 9 to 17 percent falls positives, depending on the screen criteria. And it uses an algorithm that helps prevent tester bias.
Why is something like this technology so important? The first eye test most kids receive is in school or perhaps preschool. If the test is both reliable and efficient it's more likely to be used more widely -- and more likely to catch early signs of eye problems that could otherwise go undetected for months or years while the child's eyes deteriorate -- to be diagnosed only long after their learning has been impaired. This computer program -- which is free at www.pedig.net/JVAS.aspx can be easily used by schools or clinics.
The findings were published in the Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus and were highlighted in a news release by the journal this week.