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Spectacle prescribing in childhood: a survey of hospital optometrists
  1. J E Farbrother
  1. Optometry Department, Oxford Eye Hospital, Oxford, UK
  1. Dr J Farbrother, PhD, Optometry Department, Oxford Eye Hospital, West Wing, John Radcliffe Hospital, Headley Way, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK; janefarbrother{at}


Background/aims: To determine the spectacle prescribing practices of hospital optometrists for infants and young children.

Methods: A two-part survey relating to the prescribing of spectacles for non-strabismic children aged one to five years was distributed to all delegates at the 2006 Annual Hospital Optometrists Conference.

Results: A total of 93 of the 149 optometrists returned the survey. The threshold level at which 50% of the respondents would consider prescribing spectacles in non-strabismic children at ages one, three and five years were for hyperopia 4.50 DS, 3.00 DS and 2.50 DS, for myopia −3.00 DS, −1.50 DS and −1.00 DS, for anisohyperopia 2.00 DS, 1.00 DS and 1.00 DS and for non-oblique astigmatism 2.50 DC, 1.50 DC and 1.00 DC. For hyperopic children in the three to four-year age group at least two thirds of those recommending spectacles would give a partial correction, with an average reduction of 1.69 DS from the cycloplegic refraction.

Conclusions: Delegates of the Hospital Optometrists Annual Conference recommend spectacles to correct lower levels, on average, of myopia and hyperopia in young children than members of the American Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus or those suggested in the American Academy of Ophthalmology preferred practice patterns guidelines. There is, however, broad agreement for the management of astigmatism and anisometropia and the prescription of partial corrections in hyperopic children in the absence of strabismus.

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  • Competing interests: None declared.