Does amblyopia affect educational, health, and social outcomes? Findings from 1958 British birth cohort.

J S Rahi, P M Cumberland, C S Peckham
BMJ 2006;332:820-825, doi:10.1136/bmj.38751.597963.AE
Centre for Paediatric Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Institute of Child Health,London WC1N 1EH. j.rahi@ich.ucl.ac.uk
OBJECTIVE: To determine any association of amblyopia with diverse educational,health, and social outcomes in order to inform current debate about populationscreening for this condition.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Comparison of8432 people with normal vision in each eye with 429 (4.8%) people with amblyopia(childhood unilateral reduced acuity when tested with correction and unaccountedfor by eye disease) from the 1958 British birth cohort, with respect tosubsequent health and social functioning.
RESULTS: No functionally or clinicallysignificant differences existed between people with and without amblyopia ineducational outcomes, behavioural difficulties or social maladjustment,participation in social activities, unintended injuries (school, workplace, orroad traffic accidents as driver), general or mental health and mortality, paidemployment, or occupation based social class trajectories.
CONCLUSIONS: It maybe difficult to distinguish, at population level, between the lives of peoplewith amblyopia and those without, in terms of several important outcomes. Apressing need exists for further concerted research on what it means to haveamblyopia and, specifically, how this varies with severity and how it changeswith treatment, so that screening programmes can best serve those who have themost to gain from early identification.