Optometrists Association Australia (OAA) has released a checklist of possible symptoms to help GPs with initial eye screening for young people.
The checklist is designed to assist GPs to pick up the symptoms of rarer eye conditions such as strabismus and amblyopia, which may not be detected with an acuity test.
GPs can then refer patients to optometrists for further investigation of the child’s vision. Together an optometrist and GP can dispel or confirm suspicions of a vision problem.
OAA Professional Services Manager and optometrist Shirley Loh said: "Optometrists have specialised training and equipment for testing all aspects of children’s vision such as slit-lamps, retinoscopes and diagnostic eye drops.”
“When a GP suspects that a child has a vision problem, optometrists can provide a reliable and accessible referral pathway," said Ms Loh.
“Children with vision problems often assume that everyone else sees the world the same way they do and therefore won’t complain about their eyes.”
“As primary care providers, GPs have an important role in detecting the possible signs of developmental vision problems. However, given the wide range of services optometrists can provide under Medicare, it make sense for these two health care professionals to work together when it comes to vision and eye health concerns,” said Ms Loh.
(Source: Optometrists Association Australia: September 2008)