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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

BMJ Open


Objectives This study reports the prevalence of persistent amblyopia (post-traditional treatment age) in schoolchildren in the Republic of Ireland (henceforth Ireland) and Northern Ireland (NI), UK; populations with broadly similar refractive and genetic profiles but different eye-care systems. Design This is a population-based observational study of amblyopia and refractive error. Setting Recruitment and testing in primary and postprimary schools in Ireland and NI. Participants Two groups identified through random cluster sampling to represent the underlying population; Ireland 898 participants (12–13 years old) and NI 723 participants (295 aged 9–10 years old, 428 aged 15– 16 years old). Main outcome measures Monocular logMAR visual acuity (presenting and pinhole), refractive error (cycloplegic autorefraction), ocular alignment (cover test) and history of previous eye care. These metrics were used to determine prevalence and type of amblyopia and treatment histories. Results Children examined in NI between 2009 and 2011 had a significantly lower amblyopia prevalence than children examined in Ireland between 2016 and 2018 (two-sample test of proportions, p


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