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Paediatric Eye Care in the UK


1st supervisor: Dr Catherine Suttle

2nd supervisor: Dr Miriam Conway

3rd supervisor: Dr Irene Ctori

4th supervisor: Dr Rakhee Shah

Research Centre

Centre for Applied Vision Research

Project description

The proposed research study has 4 Phases.

The aim of Phase 1 will be to review current practice relating to paediatric refraction in the UK. Given the well-established need for normal visual stimulation during periods of visual development it is a concern that 1 in 50 practices would not carry out a test until 7 years of age (Shah et al., 2007). This is an important issue for optometry, and as part of this PhD research a telephone survey will be carried out with the aim of determining the current accessibility of state funded primary eye care for children. The Theoretical Domains Framework (French et al, 2012) will be used In Phase 2 to identify barriers preventing UK optometrists from carrying out sight tests on young children, and the corresponding enablers. The aim will be to find the means to bring about behaviour change in the form of increased optometric eye care for young children.

The aim of Phase 3 is to determine what age and levels of refractive error require spectacle prescribing in infants and children. Current sets of international guidelines will be evaluated using the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation (AGREE) II instrument (https://www.agreetrust.org). The Delphi methodology will then be used to turn opinion across our panel of experts into group consensus to inform future national guidance for paediatric prescribing in the UK. Since one factor that may deter patients and practitioners from eye examinations in early childhood is the well accepted need for cycloplegia, the aim of Phase 4 is to determine whether auto-refraction is a safe and effective alternative for infants and children under 7 years of age. In this phase, both techniques will be used in children at the City Sight Paediatric clinic, and patient/parent-reported outcomes as well as quantitative results will be compared.

If you would like to have an informal discussion please contact Catherine.Suttle.1@city.ac.uk.