To the Editor:
The article “CPT Changes for 2000” [January 2000] missed a very important new CPT code: 99173, “Screening test of visual acuity, quantitative, bilateral.”
According to CPT, to use this code, the screening test “must employ graduated visual acuity stimuli that allow a quantitative estimate of visual acuity (e.g., Snellen chart). Other identifiable services unrelated to this screening test provided at the same time may be reported separately (e.g., preventive medicine services). When acuity is measured as part of a general ophthalmological service or of an E/M service of the eye, it is a diagnostic examination and not a screening test.”
This is a very important CPT code, especially for family physicians doing children's vision screening. A simple vision screening test can find common eye problems such as amblyopia, suppression and strabismus that can impede a child's development and performance if uncorrected.