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Is there evidence that the yearly numbers of children newly certified with sight impairment in England and Wales has increased between 1999/2000 and 2014/2015? A cross-sectional study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Catey Bunce, Antra Zekite, Richard Wormald, Richard Bowman

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e016888
JournalBMJ open
Volume7
Issue number9
Early online date1 Sep 2017
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Sep 2017

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To use routine data capture from hospitals in England and Wales to identify whether there has been an increase in the annual numbers of children newly certified sight impaired in England and Wales between 1999/2000 and 2014/2015 and to examine causes of certifiable sight impairment in children certified in 2014/2015.

DESIGN: A cross-sectional study including an analysis of all certificates of vision impairment completed in hospitals in England and Wales each year between 2007/2008 and 2014/2015 and all certificates completed in hospitals in England and Wales in 1999/2000.

PARTICIPANTS: Certificates for all individuals aged 16 years or less at the time of certification in England and Wales for each financial year between 1 April 2007 and the 31 March 2015 and for individuals aged 15 years or less for the year ending 31 March 2000. We obtained information on the main cause of certifiable sight loss for all children certified in 2014/2015. We estimated crude and sex specific incidence estimates with 95% confidence intervals computed by Byars method.

RESULTS: In 1999/2000, the estimated incidence (95 % CI) of certification was 8.2 (7.7 to 8.8) per 1 00 000. In 2007/2008, the estimated incidence was statistically significantly higher at 10.1 (9.5 to 10.7). Since then a trend of increasing incidence with time has been observed until 2014/2015 when an estimated incidence of 13.3 (12.6 to 14.0) was observed. Hereditary retinal dystrophies, cerebral visual impairment and nystagmus were the most common single causes of certifiable sight impairment in children in 2014/2015.

CONCLUSION: Our findings show that in England and Wales there has been an increase in the number of children newly certified sight impaired by consultant ophthalmologists since 1999/2000. This mirrors our previous findings based on data originating within social service departments.

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