Researchers at the University of Waterloo have underlined the value of routine eye examinations in asymptomatic patients.

Creating a database from a review of 6,397 patients seen at the university’s optometry clinic, the researchers found that in asymptomatic patients, comprehensive routine eye examinations detected a significant number of new eye conditions or resulted in management changes.

The number of new eye conditions detected increased with age and assessment interval, they concluded.

Elizabeth Irving, the lead author of the study published in the journal Optometry and Vision Science, said ophthalmology tended to recommend routine eye examinations less frequently than optometry did.

‘This difference could arise from ophthalmology recommendations being based more on disease detection whereas optometry may also consider non-disease conditions such as refractive error,’ she said.

The study concludes that given the basis of current recommendations, the discrepancies between them and the potential for conflict of interest, empirical evidence on how routine eye examinations frequency influences eye disorder detection is needed.

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