Children With Autism Less Likely to Receive Vision Screening

Among those with autism spectrum disorder, Black children have lower rate of vision screening than White, other/multiracial children.

HealthDay News — Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are less likely to receive vision screening at well-child visits at ages 3 and 5 years than those without ASD, according to a study published online March 21 in Pediatrics.

Kimberly Hoover, M.D., from the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, and colleagues obtained data from 63,829 well-child visits for 3- to 5-year-olds between January 2016 and December 2019 to examine the rate of vision screening among children with and without ASD. Billing codes for vision screening were a proxy for screening completion.

The researchers found that children with ASD were less likely to have vision screening than those without ASD (36.5 versus 59.9 percent). The rates of screening were lowest during the 3-year visit. Among those with ASD, the rate of screening was lower for Black versus White and other/multiracial children (27.6 percent versus 39.7 and 39.8 percent, respectively). Hispanic children had higher use of photoscreening, resulting in a higher overall rate of vision screening than non-Hispanic children. For children with ASD, practice region influenced the rates of vision screening because of more photoscreening.

“Children with ASD are significantly less likely to receive a vision screening at well visits compared with typically developing children. This disparity was even greater among younger children and Black children,” the authors write. “Instrument-based screening is a useful tool to decrease disparity, especially among high-risk patient groups.”

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