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Keywords:

  • Blindness prevention;
  • Congenital cataract;
  • Newborn examination;
  • Screening;
  • Well-baby clinics

Abstract

Aim

To study which eye-screening protocol prevails in Swedish maternity/neonatal wards, evaluate efficacy in a prospective study and compare results with earlier Swedish retrospective results.

Methods

Surveys were sent in 2006 to maternity/neonatal and women's health departments regarding screening policy. Response frequency was 96% (122/127). Data were derived from the Paediatric Cataract Register (PECARE), Sweden. All Swedish children diagnosed with congenital cataract and operated on before 1 year of age between January 2007 and December 2009 were included. Statistical comparison with earlier retrospective results was performed.

Results

Eye screening is a routine protocol at a rate of 90% of Swedish maternity wards. Sixty-one children were included in the study. An increase was shown in case referrals from maternity wards compared to 10 years ago (64% vs. 50%). Detection was performed within 6 weeks of age in 75% of the cases. A significant difference between the probabilities of early referral (0.38; p < 0.001, < 6 weeks of age) and early surgery (0.36; p < 0.001) (PECARE) was found in comparison with the historical data of no maternity-ward screening. Well-baby clinics were instrumental in early detection, as well.

Conclusion

Eye screening in maternity wards is effective. Clear Swedish directives are to be preferred.