Ophthalmologic screening of deaf students in Oregon

M. V. Brinks, W. H. Murphey, W. Cardwell, M. Otos, R. G. Weleber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine the frequency of Usher's syndrome and other ocular disease in students receiving special education services for the deaf in Oregon and to assess the amount of existing ophthalmologic surveillance of this population. A special emphasis was placed on screening for Usher's syndrome. Methods: From 1980-1990, a prospective two-center visual screening program of 231 deaf students in schools throughout Oregon was conducted using an ophthalmic questionnaire, complete eye examinations, and electroretinography. Students were between the ages of 10 and 21 years and participated on a volunteer basis. Findings for etiology and severity of visual loss and the scope of ophthalmologic surveillance within this population were analyzed. Results: Two hundred seventeen of the 231 students examined received electroretinograms. Significant ocular pathology was found in 111 (48%) of the students. The most common diagnoses were congenital rubella (21%), significant uncorrected ametropia (16%), and ocular hypertension (9%). Five students were diagnosed with Usher's syndrome. Of the students with significant ocular pathology, only 37% were actively followed by an ophthalmologist. Conclusion: Deaf students in Oregon's schools had a high frequency of eye disease. Early diagnosis and treatment of eye disease in this population could benefit the quality of life of these students. This study alerted the providers of special education services for the deaf and the ophthalmologic community in Oregon of the need for better eye care for these students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-15
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of pediatric ophthalmology and strabismus
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 8 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Ophthalmology


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