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USPSTF: Evidence Lacking for Screening Seniors for Visual Acuity

Current evidence is insufficient for assessing the balance of benefits and harms of screening asymptomatic ≥65s in primary care setting

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TUESDAY, Oct. 26, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) concludes that evidence for weighing the balance of benefits and harms of screening older adults for impaired visual acuity is currently inadequate. These findings form the basis of a draft recommendation statement published online Oct. 26 by the USPSTF.

Roger Chou, M.D., from Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of the evidence on screening for impaired visual acuity in older adults in the United States. Twenty-five studies were included in the review. The researchers found that in four trials (4,819 participants) of screening versus no screening, usual care, or delayed screening of older adults, there were no differences in visual acuity or other clinical outcomes. In three studies with 6,493 participants, visual acuity tests were associated with suboptimal diagnostic accuracy for identifying visual conditions compared with a complete examination by an ophthalmologist. In three studies with 5,203 participants, compared with a visual acuity eye chart, a screening question was found not to be accurate for identifying older adults with impaired visual acuity.

Based on these findings, the USPSTF concludes that for older adults, the evidence is currently insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for impaired visual acuity (I statement). This recommendation applies to asymptomatic adults aged 65 years or older presenting in primary care.

The draft recommendation statement and evidence review have been posted for public comment. Comments can be submitted from Oct. 26 to Nov. 22, 2021.

Draft Evidence Review

Draft Recommendation Statement

Comment on Recommendation Statement

Physician's Briefing