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New Policy Recommendations for Red Reflex Exam

Updated policy statement includes guidelines on the red reflex exam in neonates, infants and children

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- An examination of the red reflex of the eyes of all neonates, infants and children should occur prior to discharge from the neonatal nursery and during all subsequent routine health visits, according to a newly updated policy statement published in the December issue of Pediatrics.

This policy statement, from the American Academy of Pediatrics and other organizations, is a revision of a statement previously published in 2002. The purpose of this updated statement is to suggest recommendations regarding the examination of the red reflex of the eye based on current knowledge and experience, in hopes of minimizing the risk of delayed diagnosis of serious vision-threatening or life-threatening disorders.

The policy recommendations also state that, in addition to a red reflex of the eye examination before discharge from the nursery and at routine health visits, high-risk infants should be referred to a pediatric ophthalmologist for a complete eye exam. Results are considered normal when reflections in both eyes are equivalent in color, intensity and clarity, with no opacities or white spots within the area of the red reflex. Upon an abnormal examination, an immediate referral should be made to a pediatric ophthalmologist, the experts note.

"Red reflex testing is an essential component of the neonatal, infant and child physical examination," the authors state.

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