Early Childhood Photoscreening Supports Better Eye Care in Rural Alaska – By Arwen Botz

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Photoscreening is an efficient and effective method of identifying kids at risk for amblyopia.

The Kodiak Area Native Association (KANA) serves a 12,000-member community located on a large, mostly uninhabited island in Alaska. I am a Developmental Specialist with the KANA Infant Learning Program. This is a part of the Alaska Early Intervention system that works with young children, who are experiencing developmental delays, or are at risk of developing such delays, and their families.

KANA collaborates with Alaska Blind Child Discovery (ABCD), a cooperative, charitable research project to conduct vision screening on every preschooler in Alaska. ABCD is the brain child of pediatric ophthalmologist Robert Arnold, MD. During his pediatric fellowship at Indiana University, Dr. Arnold became intrigued with detecting small-angle strabismus using the Brückner Test. After starting practice in Anchorage with Ophthalmic Associates in 1989, he began publishing clinical research around modifying the test. As his interest in photoscreening advanced, Dr. Arnold began working with public health nurses, and later various charities to launch screening clinics in urban and remote villages.

Plusoptix Blog - Early Childhood Photoscreening Supports Better Eye Care in Rural Alaska - Bob Arnold
Pediatric ophthalmologist Robert Arnold, MD

Originally, after photoscreening was conducted at the KANA-run vision clinics, Dr. Arnold had to review all the printouts to determine which kids needed a follow-up exam. For 15 years, this was a tedious and time-consuming process, with often poor picture quality complicating the situation. Then 3 years ago, KANA acquired grant funding to purchase a Plusoptix vision screener. Continue reading “Early Childhood Photoscreening Supports Better Eye Care in Rural Alaska – By Arwen Botz”