OBJECTIVES

To describe trends in vision screening based on insurance claims for young children in the United States.

METHODS

This cross-sectional study used administrative claims data from the 2010–2019 IBM MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters Database. We included children aged 1 to <5 years at the beginning of each calendar year. The primary outcome was a vision screening claim within 12 months for chart-based or instrument-based screening. Linear regression was used to evaluate trends over time in vision screening claims and practitioner payment.

RESULTS

This study included a median of 810 048 (interquartile range, 631 523 – 1 029 481) children between 2010 and 2019 (mean [standard deviation] age, 2.5 [1.1] years; 48.7% female). The percentage of children with vision screening claims increased from 16.7% in 2010 to 44.3% in 2019 (difference, 27.5%; 95% confidence interval, 27.4% to 27.7%). Instrument-based screening claims, which were identified in <0.2% of children in 2010, increased to 23.4% of children 1 to <3 years old and 14.4% of children 3 to <5 years old by 2019. From 2013 to 2018, the average of the median practitioner payment for instrument-based screening was $23.70, decreasing $2.10 per year during this time (95% confidence interval, $0.85 to $3.34; P = .009).

CONCLUSIONS

Vision screening claims among young children nearly tripled over the last decade, and this change was driven by increased instrument-based screening for children aged <3 years. Further investigation is needed to determine whether the decreasing trends in practitioner payment for screening devices will reduce the adoption of vision screening technology in clinical practice.

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