How do you manage a situation when a teenager is seemingly pretending to need spectacles?

29 October 2021
Autumn 2021

In each issue, Acuity poses a topical question to a panel of members.

Keyur Patel FCOptom

Doctor of Optometry, K3 Healthcare, Northamptonshire

In my experience, teenagers don’t often present wanting spectacles without reason. As much as spectacles have improved, there can still be a bit of stigma associated with them. With this in mind, it is important to make sure that they do not have an issue. Vision, binocular vision, ocular health (including tear film), cycloplegia and potentially visual field need to be assessed and abnormalities ruled out. Once these have been eliminated, have a frank conversation – with or without parents present – to determine why the teenager feels they need spectacles. Is there cause to involve other services?

If you’re confident there is no ocular issue, and no non-ocular reason, explain to everyone why you feel spectacles are not necessarily the appropriate solution at this time and get the patient back at a shorter-than-usual recall to re-assess.

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