Cycloplegia and spectacle prescribing in children: attitudes of UK optometrists

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Abstract

Purpose
To survey a large number of UK‐based optometrists, in a variety of settings, to determine current attitudes relating to the use of cycloplegia and spectacle prescribing in children aged ≤11 years.

Methods
One thousand randomly selected members of the College of Optometrists (UK) were invited to complete an electronic questionnaire. The questionnaire was comprised of 42 questions relating to respondent demographics, practitioner use of cycloplegia and attitudes to using cycloplegia to assess childhood refractive error and prescribing spectacles for children aged ≤11 years.

Results
Three hundred and eleven practitioners (31%) completed the questionnaire. Practitioners agreed that they are confident carrying out cycloplegic refraction (60%) and instilling cyclopentolate (77%); are not concerned about the time the procedure takes (69%); feel parents are receptive to its use (65%) and are not discouraged by side effects (72%). Most practitioners agreed that they would carry out a cycloplegic refraction in pre‐school children (aged 2–4 years) at their first eye exam (34% vs 27%), but would not carry out a cycloplegic refraction in a child of school age (5–7 years: 25% vs 47%, 8–11 years: 12% vs 45%). More recently qualified practitioners are more likely to be proactive in using cycloplegia (Mann‐Whitney, p = 0.003). Community practitioners prescribed at slightly lower levels of ametropia in non‐strabismic children than those working in a hospital setting both in the present study and in comparison to previously published hospital optometry values, particularly for hyperopia at 1 year of age.

Conclusions
This is the first study to report practitioner use of cycloplegia and attitudes to using cycloplegia to assess childhood refractive error and prescribing spectacles for children in a large number of UK‐based optometrists practising in a variety of settings. The majority of practitioners responded in a positive manner to the use of cycloplegia and reported patterns of use which adhere closely to available professional guidance. However, outcomes indicate practitioners may appreciate more comprehensive evidence‐based resources to inform their decision‐making relating to use of cycloplegia in paediatric examination.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-161
Number of pages14
JournalOphthalmic and Physiological Optics: the Journal of the College of Optometrists
Volume39
Issue number3
Early online date7 Apr 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019

Keywords

  • cycloplegia
  • cycloplegic refraction
  • spectacle prescribing
  • retinoscopy
  • optometry

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