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P-05 The attitudes and clinical behaviour of eyecare practitioners towards fitting contact lenses for children and young people
  1. Sophie Coverdale1,
  2. Michael Bowen2,
  3. Teresa Lewandowski2,
  4. Matthew Cufflin1,
  5. Edward Mallen1,
  6. Neema Ghorbani-Mojarrad1,3
  1. 1School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of Bradford, Bradford, UK
  2. 2The College of Optometrists, London, UK
  3. 3Wolfson Centre for Applied Health Research, Bradford, UK

Abstract

Introduction In the UK, prescribing contact lenses (CLs) for children is undertaken by two groups of Eyecare Practitioners (ECPs): optometrists and contact lens opticians (CLOs).

Aims To explore the attitudes and prescribing habits of UK ECPs for fitting CLs in patients under 18 years of age.

Methods An online survey was conducted with UK registered ECPs in mid-2023. The survey comprised of 25 questions. Example questions included: the age from which different CL types and modalities were thought appropriate, and which patient factors or CL properties were thought to be most important when prescribing for children.

Results Complete responses were obtained from 248 optometrists and 68 contact lens opticians, having a median number of years qualified of 14.5 and 22.0 years, respectively. While all ECPs in the survey reported soft lenses are appropriate for children, only 39.6% would consider fitting at seven years of age, or earlier. ECPs also reported that, on average, only 2.4% of their CL fittings are for patients aged seven years or below. The most important factor when fitting CLs to children was the child’s motivation to wear lenses (rated at 9.1/10) and the least important was gender (1.8/10). The rating of importance given to the child’s age was different between optometrists (6.2/10) and CLOs (4.9/10; P<0.001). When choosing which CLs to prescribe, cost was rated the least important factor (5.9/10), while comfort was the most (9.0/10).

Conclusion ECPs appear cautious about fitting CLs to younger children, with some discrepancies in behaviour between optometrists and CLOs.

Acknowledgements Funded by the School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of Bradford

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