Purpose: The purpose of this assessment is to evaluate the accuracy of autorefraction compared with cycloplegic retinoscopy in children. Methods: Literature searches were last conducted in October 2019 in the PubMed and the Cochrane Library databases for studies published in English. The combined searches yielded 118 citations, of which 53 were reviewed in full text. Of these, 31 articles were deemed appropriate for inclusion in this assessment and subsequently assigned a level of evidence rating by the panel methodologists. Four articles were rated level I, 11 were rated level II, and 16 were rated level III articles. The 16 level III articles were excluded from this review. Results: Thirteen of the 15 studies comparing cycloplegic autorefraction with cycloplegic retinoscopy found a mean difference in spherical equivalent or sphere of less than 0.5 diopters (D); most were less than 0.25 D. Even lower mean differences were found when evaluating the cylindrical component of cycloplegic autorefraction versus cycloplegic retinoscopy. Despite low mean variability, there was significant individual measurement variability; the 95% limits of agreement were wide and included clinically relevant differences. Comparisons of noncycloplegic with cycloplegic autorefractions found that noncyloplegic refraction tends to over minus by 1 to 2 D. Conclusions: Cycloplegic autorefraction is appropriate to use in pediatric population-based studies. Cycloplegic retinoscopy can be valuable in individual clinical cases to confirm the accuracy of cycloplegic autorefraction, particularly when corrected visual acuity is worse than expected or the autorefraction results are not consistent with expected findings.
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