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Purpose and background

In this project, the College collaborated with Cochrane Eyes and Vision to undertake reviews of the evidence around two clinical areas relevant to optometry.

Cochrane Eyes and Vision is an international network of individuals working to prepare, maintain and promote access to systematic reviews of interventions to treat or prevent eye diseases or visual impairment. They also do systematic reviews of the accuracy of diagnostic tests for common ocular diseases or conditions.

This collaboration was designed to increase the engagement of optometry with Cochrane Eyes and Vision and the participation of UK optometrists in systematic reviews in key areas of eyes and vision research.

Two reviews were undertaken, on vision screening for correctable visual acuity deficits in school-age children and adolescents, and on reading aids for adults with low vision. The College provided funding to allow this work to be undertaken by review teams, each of which included at least one College member.


The review updates have now been published in the Cochrane Library and are available below:

Vision screening for correctable visual acuity deficits in school-age children and adolescents

Reading aids for adults with low vision

They produced the following key findings:

Vision screening 

  • There are no studies comparing vision screening with no vision screening, highlighting a gap in the evidence.
  • Vision screening with the provision of free spectacles results in more children wearing spectacles after screening compared with giving the children a prescription on its own. Children in the free-spectacle group had better educational attainment, although this evidence was not as strong. 
  • Ready-made and custom-made spectacles appear to give similar visual results and similar spectacle wearing compliance levels.

Reading aids for adults 

  • There is insufficient evidence supporting the use of a specific type of electronic or optical device for the most common profiles of low-vision aid users. However, there is some evidence that stand-mounted electronic devices may improve reading speeds compared with optical devices.
  • There is less evidence to support the use of head-mounted or portable electronic devices; however, the technology of electronic devices may have improved since the studies included in this review took place.
  • There is no good evidence to support the use of filters or prism spectacles.

We also wrote a blog about why we did the project, which is available here.

Other resources of interest