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USPSTF: Evidence Lacking for Visual Acuity Screening in Seniors

Grade I recommendation for asymptomatic adults aged 65 years or older without vision problems

eye chart

TUESDAY, March 1, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has concluded that the evidence is currently inadequate to weigh the benefits and harms of primary care screening for impaired visual acuity in older adults. These findings form the basis of a final recommendation statement, published in the March 1 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Roger Chou, M.D., from the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, and colleagues reviewed the evidence to update the 2009 systematic review on screening for impaired visual acuity among asymptomatic older adults (age 65 years and older) who do not present with vision problems.

The researchers found that based on three trials from the 2009 review, impaired visual acuity screening was not associated with improved visual or clinical outcomes. In one good-quality trial, universal screening identified 27 percent of those with impaired visual acuity and correctable impairment, but was not associated with improved outcomes. New evidence on the diagnostic accuracy of screening tests was limited. Based on these findings, the USPSTF concluded that the evidence is currently insufficient in order to evaluate the balance of benefits and harms of screening (Grade I recommendation).

"In the absence of clear evidence, primary care doctors should use their clinical judgment when deciding whether to screen for vision problems in patients without vision symptoms," Task Force member Michael Pignone, M.D., M.P.H., said in a statement.

Recommendation Statement
Evidence Review
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