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To assess the reliability of the hand held automated refractor Retinomax in measuring astigmatism in non-cycloplegic conditions. To assess the accuracy of Retinomax in diagnosing abnormal astigmatism in non-cycloplegic refractive screening of children between 9 and 36 months.Among 1205 children undergoing a non-cycloplegic refractive screening with Retinomax, 299 (25%) had repeated non-cycloplegic measurements, 302 (25%) were refracted under cycloplegia using the same refractor, and 88 (7%) using retinoscopy or an automated on table refractor. The reproducibility of non-cycloplegic cylinder measurement was assessed by comparing the cylindrical power and axis values in the 299 repeated measurements without cycloplegia. The influence of the quick mode on cylinder measurement was analysed by comparing the cylinder and axis value in 93 repeated measurements without cycloplegia where normal mode was used in one measurement and quick mode in the other. Predictive values of the refractive screening were calculated for three different thresholds of manifest astigmatism (≥1.5, ≥1.75, and ≥2 D) considering as a true positive case an astigmatism ≥2 D under cycloplegic condition (measured by retinoscopy, on table, or hand held refractor).The 95% limits of agreement between two repeated manifest cylinder measurements with Retinomax attained levels slightly less than plus or minus 1 D. The 95% limits of agreement for the axis were plus or minus 46°. The comparison of non-cycloplegic measurements in the quick and normal mode showed no significant difference and 95% limits of agreement plus or minus 0.75 D. The mean difference between non-cycloplegic and cycloplegic cylinder values measured by Retinomax reached 0.17 D and was statistically significant. Manifest thresholds of ≥1.5 D, ≥1.75 D, ≥2 D cylinder value diagnosed 2 D of astigmatism under cycloplegia respectively with 71-84%, 59-80%, 51-54% of sensitivity (right eye-left eye) and 90-92%, 95%, 98% of specificity.Without cycloplegia, Retinomax is able to measure cylinder power with the same reproducibility as cycloplegic retinoscopy. No significant difference was found in the cylinder values obtained with the quick and the normal modes. Therefore, the quick mode of measurement is recommended as it is more feasible in children. No difference, which is significant from a screening point of view, exists between the non-cycloplegic and the cycloplegic cylinder value (<0.25 D). Retinomax diagnoses abnormal astigmatism (≥2 D) in a non-cycloplegic refractive screening at preschool ages with 51-84% sensitivity rates and 98-90% specificity rates, depending on the chosen threshold of manifest astigmatism. If 2 D of manifest astigmatism is chosen as a positive test, the positive predictive value of the screening reaches 81-84% and the negative predictive value 91-90% (right eye-left eye).