Effectiveness of early spectacle intervention on visual outcomes in babies at risk of cerebral visual impairment: a parallel group, open-label, randomised clinical feasibility trial protocol

Raimonda Bullaj, Leigh Dyet, Subhabrata Mitra, Catey Bunce, Caroline S Clarke, Kathryn Saunders, Naomi Dale, Anna Horwood, Cathy Williams, Helen St Clair Tracy, Neil Marlow, Richard Bowman

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INTRODUCTION: Hypoaccommodation is common in children born prematurely and those with hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE), with the potential to affect wider learning. These children are also at risk of longer-term cerebral visual impairment. It is also well recognised that early intervention for childhood visual pathology is essential, because neuroplasticity progressively diminishes during early life. This study aims to establish the feasibility and acceptability of conducting a randomised controlled trial to test the effectiveness of early near vision correction with spectacles in infancy, for babies, at risk of visual dysfunction.

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: This is a parallel group, open-label, randomised controlled (feasibility) study to assess visual outcomes in children with perinatal brain injury when prescribed near vision spectacles compared with the current standard care-waiting until a problem is detected. The study hypothesis is that accommodation, and possibly other aspects of vision, may be improved by intervening earlier with near vision glasses. Eligible infants (n=75, with either HIE or <29 weeks preterm) will be recruited and randomised to one of three arms, group A (no spectacles) and two intervention groups: B1 or B2. Infants in both intervention groups will be offered glasses with +3.00 DS added to the full cycloplegic refraction and prescribed for full time wear. Group B1 will get their first visit assessment and intervention at 8 weeks corrected gestational age (B1) and B2 at 16 weeks corrected gestational age. All infants will receive a complete visual and neurodevelopmental assessment at baseline and a follow-up visit at 3 and 6 months after the first visit.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The South-Central Oxford C Research Ethics Committee has approved the study. Members of the PPI committee will give advice on dissemination of results through peer-reviewed publications, conferences and societies.

TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN14646770, NCT05048550, NIHR ref: PB-PG-0418-20006.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere059946
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number9
Early online date21 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished online - 21 Sept 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2022. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.


  • Neurology
  • 1506
  • 1713
  • Neuro-ophthalmology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Early Intervention, Educational
  • Eyeglasses - adverse effects
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Mydriatics
  • Brain Diseases - complications
  • Child
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Vision Disorders - etiology - therapy


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