Maturity is key for prescribing CLs for children

A survey investigating the practice of prescribing contact lenses for children and young people found that the level of maturity of a patient was more important than their age when considering them for contact lenses. 

A total of 748 practitioners took part in the research, which was co-funded by the College of Optometrists and Johnson & Johnson. 

Other factors optometrists took into account when considering prescribing contact lenses included the child’s interest in and motivation to wear contact lenses, personal hygiene habits and their ability to look after their lenses. 
While more than half of respondents stated that their criteria for fitting a patient with contact lenses had not changed over five years, the results indicate that practitioners are more likely to fit contact lenses than they were five years ago. 
In addition, the research confirmed that spectacles remain the main form of recommended vision correction for children and young people. However, the frequency of practitioners recommending contact lenses as the primary or secondary mode for vision correction increased with the patient’s age. 
Over 76% said they would recommend contact lenses as part of a patient’s vision correction for children aged between 10 and 12 years old. This increased to more than 44% recommending contact lenses as the primary method of correction by the age of 15. In addition, just 1% stated they would routinely only recommend spectacles for those aged 15 years and over. 
Director of Research at the College of Optometrists, Michael Bowen, commented: “This research is the first to provide organised and published information relating to current practitioner-reported attitudes and behaviours relating to contact lens use by children/young people in the UK,” 
He added: “This research allows practitioners to compare their practice against a number of their peers, and to consider their level of confidence in their current approach.”
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