Best practice: How to perform vision screenings amid COVID-19

It seems like many people avoid going to the doctor for well check visits amid the Covid-19 pandemic. But don’t forget that instrument-based vision screening is very important! 1 of 5 children has visual disorders which may lead to amblyopia, often referred to as “lazy eye,” if not treated early enough. Thus, we would like to answer the following question: How to perform vision screenings amid COVID-19?

Well, how to perform vision screenings amid COVID-19? A contact-free and safe way of vision screening amid COVID-19 is more important than ever before. Plusoptix devices can detect the most prevalent visual disorders within less than 1 second from 3.3ft (1m) distance – even through sneeze guards. The earlier visual disorders are being detected, the easier the development of amblyopia (lazy eye) can be avoided.

How the Covid-19 pandemic affects vision screening

According to WHO the aim is to stop the transmission and to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, the standard recommendation is to wash hands regularly and to cover mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. Further everyone should avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness, such as coughing and sneezing.

However, for the time being, any patient in an eye clinic can be an asymptomatic carrier of COVID-19. “A screaming child after dilation is a real risk to staff” according to David Silbert, MD and President of the Pennsylvania Academy of Ophthalmology.

Early vision screening eases the way for a child

Although nobody wants to take risks amid these uncertain times, early vision screening is very important. If visual disorders are not found and treated within the first years of life, amblyopia, often also referred to as “lazy eye” can be developed.

Good vision is crucial for the well-being of a child. A “lazy eye”, amblyopia, may cause problems in school, restrict the choice of potential jobs and puts the child at risk on the street. Hence, vision screening should not be neglected amid the Covid-19 pandemic – vision screening is possible in these times.

You are not sure if your child has good vision? – it only takes a contact-free, 1 second measurement  to find it out.

Plusoptix devices enable users to perform contact-free vision screenings amid COVID-19

Separate initial visits from dilation visits with help of a Plusoptix refraction measurement

In order to protect his staff Dr. Silbert has implemented a COVID-19 protocol. He separates initial visits of new patients from their dilation visit. Much of the screening for the visit is done by staff on their telemedicine platform prior to the patient’s arrival at the office.

Plusoptix may replace cycloplegic refraction in select pediatric ophthalmology patients

The initial visit includes an un-dilated Plusoptix refraction, a cover- and an acuity-test. Furthermore, patients may be offered a non-mydriatic fundus photo, which is typically self-pay. In a previous study Dr. Silbert found that yield of a cycloplegic exam is extremely low if patient has a normal refraction, no strabismus and good acuity (see: “Plusoptix photoscreening may replace cycloplegic refraction in select pediatric ophthalmology patients” in J AAPOS, 2013; 17(2):163-5;

Dilation only after unusual measurement results

If there is evidence of refractive error, amblyopia or other pathology noted, a dilated fundus exam is scheduled at a later date. Parents will be asked to dilate the child with cyclopentolate 1%, one hour and half an hour before the visit.

Plusoptix device measures refraction through sneeze guard
Did you know?
Plusoptix measures through sneeze guards.
Dr.-Bob-Arnold is doing Vision Screening in a Drive-in
Eradicating Amplyopia in Alaska:
Robert Arnold, MD reinvented the drive-in

Cleaning and disinfecting a Plusoptix device and measuring through sneeze guards

Actions to keep the Plusoptix devices clean and free from bacteria are important topics for users. Here is our tip for you: use a slightly damp microfiber cloth to clean any Plusoptix device. Plusoptix has approved the following products for disinfection (please observe manufacturer guidelines):

  • Bacillol 30 Tissues
  • Clorox Healthcare Bleach Wipes
  • Teccare Control Tissues

Reducing the risk of infection for users

Plusoptix devices take measurements from 3.3 ft (1 m) away, also through sneeze guards. Measuring through a sneeze guard can reduce the risk of infection and thus increase the user’s safety while screening. If you have further questions or comments, feel free to contact us.

We hope you like this blogpost about vision screenings amid Covid-19. More information about the Plusoptix devices are available under

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2 Replies to “Best practice: How to perform vision screenings amid COVID-19”

  1. Imperial Lions Club screened almost 35,000 kids in each of the last 4 school years. We have 4 of the plusoptic machines and a very good team of volunteers. We do all the schools in Imperial Valley head start programs and K thru 8th grade.

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