July 2019
Volume 60, Issue 9
Free
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2019
Attitudes, Beliefs and Perceived Barriers toward Myopia Management in Clinical Practice
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Saoirse McCrann
    Optometry, Technological University of Dublin, Dublin 9, Ireland
  • Ian Flitcroft
    Optometry, Technological University of Dublin, Dublin 9, Ireland
    Childrens University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  • Catriona Barrett
    Optometry, Technological University of Dublin, Dublin 9, Ireland
  • James Loughman
    Optometry, Technological University of Dublin, Dublin 9, Ireland
    African Vision Research Institute, University of KwaZulu Natal, Durban, South Africa
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Saoirse McCrann, None; Ian Flitcroft, None; Catriona Barrett, None; James Loughman, None
  • Footnotes
    Support  None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science July 2019, Vol.60, 5821. doi:
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      Saoirse McCrann, Ian Flitcroft, Catriona Barrett, James Loughman; Attitudes, Beliefs and Perceived Barriers toward Myopia Management in Clinical Practice. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(9):5821.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Purpose : There is growing interest in active myopia control. However, the majority of progressive myopes are still prescribed single vision spectacles, especially outside Asia. This prospective study aims to elucidate the knowledge and attitudes of optometrists in Ireland toward myopia control, and to identify perceived barriers to myopia control practice.

Methods : A series of focus groups were conducted involving optometrists in different settings and career stages. One focus group involved academic optometry faculty (n=6), two involved clinicians in practice (n=6 at each) and one involved final-year optometry students (n=11) at the Technological University of Dublin. Focus group discussions were transcribed and a thematic analysis conducted.

Results : The clinical practice experience of the clinic-based participants ranged from 1 to 11 years, while academic participants were more experienced overall (10 to 33 years since graduation).
The key finding to emerge is a clear disconnect between academic optometrists, optometry students and clinicians in practice. Academic faculty considered themselves competent in managing progressive myopia and believed the optometry curriculum provides undergraduates with the clinical skills and knowledge to practice myopia control. The majority of clinicians, however, considered myopia control beyond their scope of practice and do not offer myopia control treatment, other than lifestyle advice to modify myopia progression risk. Clinicians alluded to a lack of availability of myopia control interventions and implied a lack of education and training as the perceived barriers to implementing such interventions. Final-year students regarded themselves knowledgeable about myopia control but lack confidence in their ability to practice myopia control, with only one student indicating they would initiate myopia control therapy for a child exhibiting progressive myopia.

Conclusions : Although these focus groups cannot assume to be entirely reflective of clinical practice in Ireland, it appears optometrists have yet to embrace myopia control as a core element of clinical practice. Academia should be a driving force for clinical practice reform so there is a distinct need for alignment between optometric training (undergraduate & postgraduate) and the public health need for effective myopia control. Community optometrists can thereby become empowered to advocate for and provide myopia control

This abstract was presented at the 2019 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Vancouver, Canada, April 28 - May 2, 2019.

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