Purpose:To examine the diversity in paediatric vision and hearing screening programmes in Europe, in preparation for the development of a comparative cost-effectiveness model.Methods:A questionnaire on vision, hearing and public health screening was developed by a focus group using literature and expert opinion. Questions were structured as multiple-choice with comments in 9 domains, including tests used, professionals involved, age and frequency, which can influence screenings cost-effectiveness. Questionnaires were sent to ophthalmologists, orthoptists and otolaryngologists in all 41 European countries. They were selected based on their expertise and involvement in paediatric screening.Results:Representatives of 18 countries have filled out the questionnaire thus far. Vision screening content is mostly decided by the Ministry of Health or Public health organisations. Prevalence’s of amblyopia and strabismus at the age of 7 range between 1.4-3.5% and 1.6-5% respectively. Screening professions varied (9); most were ophthalmologist, nurses or general practitioner. Most of them receive no additional training. Target condition was amblyopia, strabismus and refractive error. Visual acuity (VA) is measured at age 3 to 5. Thirteen different VA charts are used. Snellen chart is most used. Inspection, fixation and Fundus red reflex are the most used vision screening tests before the age of 3. Treatment for amblyopia and strabismus is available in all countries, but sometimes limited due to economic or capacity problems. Funding is mostly by health insurance or state.Conclusions:The results revealed large differences in VA charts used, professions involved in vision screening, their training, and funding sources.
- paediatric vision hearing screening Europe