Patient Resources

AAPOS and Choosing Wisely


AAPOS has provided a list that identifies five targeted, evidence-based recommendations that can support conversations between patients and physicians about what care is really necessary in pediatric ophthalmology.

Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question

  1. Don’t recommend weak reading glasses for children who do not have vision problems.
    Low amounts of “farsightedness” is a normal finding in children. Most children can easily focus to see at near and distance because of their large accommodative (focusing) abilities, thereby making weak prescription glasses unnecessary – and often rejected by the child. Unless the eyes are crossing, a prescription of weak farsighted glasses is generally not necessary.

  2. Annual comprehensive eye exams (exams done in an eye doctor’s office) are unnecessary for children who pass routine vision screening assessments.
    Early childhood vision screening done as part of routine well-child care accurately identifies most children with significant eye problems who are otherwise asymptomatic. Annual comprehensive eye examinations increase financial costs, a child’s absence from school and parental time away from work, with no evidence that the comprehensive eye exams detect asymptomatic vision problems better than timely, methodical and recurrent screening efforts. Comprehensive eye exams are appropriate for children who do not pass a vision screening.

  3. Don’t recommend vision therapy for patients with dyslexia.
    Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability resulting in difficulties with written and oral language skills, particularly reading. Dyslexia is not due to a vision disorder. Children with dyslexia do not have any more visual problems than children without dyslexia. While it is important to rule out vision and eye problems, vision therapy is ineffective in the treatment of dyslexia because the eyes are not the cause of the reading problem.

  4. Don’t routinely order neuro-imaging for all patients with double vision.
    Many patients with double vision, or diplopia, request a CT scan or MRI fearing they have a brain tumor or other serious problem. Much of the time, results of a comprehensive eye evaluation determine that neither test is necessary. Other common causes of double vision are refractive error, dry eyes, cataract, and non-neurologic eye misalignment, all readily diagnosed by a complete exam, precluding the need for brain imaging. Only a minority of cases of diplopia result from problems within the brain.

  5. Don’t order retinal imaging for patients without symptoms or signs of eye disease.
    Retinal imaging, such as taking a photograph or obtaining an ocular coherence tomography (OCT) image of the back of the eye, is useful for documenting or following retinal or optic nerve disease, but these imaging studies should not be obtained routinely for documentation of normal ocular anatomy in asymptomatic people.

These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their physician.

About Choosing Wisely

What to Consider

There are many medical tests and procedures performed in America that may not be necessary, and this can be harmful.

  • Too much of health care delivered in the United States—some say up to 30 percent—is duplicative or unnecessary.[1]

  • When health care resources are wasted it threatens our nation’s ability to deliver the highest quality of care possible to all patients.

Doctors and patients need to have candid conversations about what care is appropriate and needed.

  • The Choosing Wisely campaign is leading a national conversation about doing the right thing at the right time for the right patient, and avoiding unnecessary care.

  • There are times when the recommendations on the Choosing Wisely lists will be appropriate, but it’s up to physicians and patients to have conversations about identifying the best course of care for their individual situation.

  • Choosing Wisely is not focused on avoiding tests or procedures as a way to lower health care costs, but instead is focused on improving quality, avoiding harm and eliminating waste.

  • A number of resources have been created for communicating with consumers, including patient-friendly brochures developed by Consumer Reports in partnership with specialty societies, an employer toolkit developed by the National Business Coalition on Health and Pacific Business Group on Health, and videos on

About the ABIM Foundation

ABIM Foundation LogoThe mission of the ABIM Foundation is to advance medical professionalism to improve the healthcare system. We achieve this by collaborating with physicians and physician leaders, medical trainees, health care delivery systems, payers, policymakers, consumer organizations and patients to foster a shared understanding of professionalism and how they can adopt the tenets of professionalism in practice.

Patients & Families Handout

This handout, created by the Public Information Committee, lists the AAPOS "Frequently Asked Questions," and directs patients to the AAPOS website, where they can find more information about the topics you select. Members may download this form and provide it to their patients.


  1. Donahue SP. How often are spectacles prescribed to “normal” preschool children? J AAPOS. 2004;8:224–9

  2. AAO/AAP/AAPOS/AACO. Eye examination in infants, children, and young adults by pediatricians. May 2007. Pediatrics 2007;120:683–4.AAO/AAP/AAPOS. Vision screening for infants and children: a joint statement of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus and the American Academy of Ophthalmology. 2007. Available from: AAPOS Vision Screening Recommendations.

  3. Shaywitz SE. Overcoming dyslexia: a new and complete science-based program for overcoming reading problems at any level. New York, NY: Knopf; 2003. Jennings AJ. Behavioural optometry—a critical review. Optom Pract. 2000;1:67–78. Barrett B. A critical evaluation of the evidence supporting the practice of behavioural vision therapy. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 2009;29:4–25. Fletcher JM, Currie D. Vision efficiency interventions and reading disability. Perspectives on Language and Literacy 2011;37:21–4. Handler SM, Fierson WM; Section on Ophthalmology and Council on Children with Disabilities, American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, American Association of Certified Orthoptists. Joint technical report—learning disabilities, dyslexia, and vision. Pediatrics. 2011;127:e818-56. Available at:

  4. Lee MS. Diplopia: diagnosis and management. American Academy of Ophthalmology Focal points module. 2007:12.

  5. Williams GA, Scott IU, Haller JA, Maguire AM, Marcus D, McDonald HR. Single-field fundus photography for diabetic retinopathy screening: A report by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Ophthalmology. 2004 May;111(5):1055–62.