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New Canadian guidelines recommend against vision screening for over 65s

A task force found no evidence of benefit from screening for visual impairment among older adults in primary care

Elderly women

The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care has recommended against screening of those aged 65 and older for visual impairment.

A new guideline, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, considers the benefits of screening older adults within primary care and referring patients to optometrists for formal vision testing.

Dr Brenda Wilson highlighted that there was no evidence of benefit to patients from screening as a way to prevent limitations on daily living.

At present, people must make their own appointments for regular vision screening in Canada. Most provinces in the country cover comprehensive eye examinations for adults aged 65 years and older.

The new guideline updates the 1995 guideline, which recommended screening for visual impairment in elderly patients with diabetes of at least five years’ duration.

Task Force chair, Dr Brett Thombs, emphasised that while screening does not appear to be effective, there is a need to for look for ways to effectively support older people who experience visual impairment so they get the services they need.