A one-stop community ophthalmic service for the management of paediatric refractive eye problems

Children with refractive problems should be offered an alternative one-stop and easy-access community service, tailored to local needs and with set standards of care and expected outcomes.

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Introduction

Uncorrected refractive error is the main cause of visual impairment throughout the world (Dandona & Dandona 2006, Resnikoff et al. 2008). Recent work in the UK confirms that many children have not had their refractive error, especially astigmatism, corrected (Saunders et al. 2008). Spectacles correct blur, improving visual acuity and/or balancing the accommodation convergence system. Vision is not just reading symbols: it also involves processing a complex mix of visual information, integrated with the other senses, and providing us with the illusion that is sight. Sight drives development and aids access to education. Thus children with a significant refractive error should be corrected with spectacles earlier rather than later, reducing problems and providing subsequent remedial action.

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