Purpose: To collect data on refractive errors and visual impairment in adults with an intellectual disability (ID) in the Netherlands. Patients: A randomized sample of 2100 participants was drawn from a base population of 9000 adults with intellectual disabilities in the Netherlands. This article reports on the first 900 participants. Methods: All participants underwent a protocol-based on-site ophthalmological assessment carried out by skilled investigators. Results: Co-operation was classified according to the number of tests that could be carried out reliably and was good or excellent in 80% of subjects, average in 13% and poor in 7%. Refraction could be reliably assessed in 505/900 (56%) subjects. There was an increased risk of visual impairment in all subgroups compared to the general Dutch population. Visual acuity (VA) was related to the level of ID, but refractive errors were not. New spectacles were prescribed in 106 cases (12%). Of 374 people in whom both monocular VA and the refractive error of the right eye could be reliably assessed, 153 (41%) had a pretest prescription, 16 (10%) of which we found to be inadequate. Of the 221 participants without a pretest prescription, 41 (19%) benefited from correction. Only 38/84 (45%) subjects aged 50 years or older, who could benefit from correction for near vision, had near spectacles. New correction increased the mean distant VA significantly from 0.44 to 0.65 (p < 0.0005). Conclusions: With some adaptations, visual screening is feasible in a majority of adults with ID. Visual impairment and refractive errors are much more prevalent in adults with ID than in the normal population. Accurate spectacle correction resulted in significant improvement in distant VA.

Intellectual disabilities, Learning disabilities, Refractive error, Spectacles, Visual impairment
dx.doi.org/10.1034/j.1600-0420.2003.00035.x, hdl.handle.net/1765/67030
Acta Ophthalmologica Scandinavica
Department of General Practice

van Splunder, J, Stilma, J.S, Bernsen, R.M.D, Arentz, T.G.M.H.J, & Evenhuis, H.M. (2003). Refractive errors and visual impairment in 900 adults with intellectual disabilities in the Netherlands. Acta Ophthalmologica Scandinavica, 81(2), 123–129. doi:10.1034/j.1600-0420.2003.00035.x