Dr Victoria Ly on Vision Screening Follow-up Disparities Among Arkansas Students

Victoria Ly, MD, MPH, explains the results of her study on follow-up among students in Arkansas who failed their vision screening tests.

Throughout the 6-year study, 1 in 10 children failed their vision screening test, and of those who failed, 2 of 3 did not complete a follow-up, said Victoria Ly, MD, MPH, an intern resident physician at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in ophthalmology.


Can you introduce yourself and describe the work you do?

Hi, I'm Dr. Ly. I am an intern resident physician at UT Southwestern in ophthalmology.

Why did you conduct your study on follow-up rates for Arkansas students who fail vision screenings? Can you explain the main findings?

I had started the project last year while still in medical school; it was my capstone project for my master's degree in public health. I essentially was inspired while I was on my pediatric ophthalmology rotation. I saw a lot of these children coming into clinic; it was their first time seeing an eye doctor ever, only because they had failed their school vision screening. I got pretty curious about what exactly is entailed in the screening and one thing led to another, and I ended up having this project.

As far as the main findings for the project, I would say that it highlights that over the 6 years that I had the data, so from 2014 to 2019, there's almost 1 in 10 children who had failed their school vision screening. But then of those students that failed only, 2 of the 3 that failed did not get follow-up eye care as they should, and overall, most school districts had follow-up rates of less than 60%.

My study showed that the follow-up rates, they're all associated to the percent of students of Black race, percent of students receiving free and reduced lunch, and percent of students living in poverty. The rates are also associated with factors that reflects the access to care; in particular, the percent of students that were enrolled in the Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP.

Overall, my study just shows that Arkansas students who fail their vision screenings, they aren't getting very good follow-up eye care, and my study highlights that those rates are associated with racial and socioeconomic disparities.