Prescribing philosophies for hyperopic refractive error in symptom-free children vary widely because relatively little information is available regarding the natural history of hyperopic refractive error in children and because accommodation and binocular function closely related to hyperopic refractive error vary widely among children. We surveyed pediatric optometrists and ophthalmologists to evaluate typical prescribing philosophies for hyperopia.
Practitioners were selected from the American Academy of Optometry Binocular Vision, Perception, and Pediatric Optometry Section; the College of Vision Development; the pediatric and binocular vision faculty members of the colleges of optometry; and the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus. Surveys were mailed to 314 participants: 212 optometrists and 102 ophthalmologists.
A total of 161 (75%) of the optometrists and 59 (57%) of the ophthalmologists responded. About one-third of optometrists surveyed prescribe optical correction for symptom-free 6-month-old infants with +3.00 D to +4.00 D hyperopia, but fewer than 5% of ophthalmologists prescribe at this level. Most eye care practitioners prescribe optical correction for symptom-free 2-year-old children with +5.00 D of hyperopia, and this criterion for hyperopia decreases with age. Most ophthalmologists (71.4%) prescribe the full amount of astigmatism and less than the full amount of cycloplegic spherical component, and most optometrists (71.6%) prescribe less than the full amount of both components. When prescribing less than the full amount of astigmatism, eye care practitioners do not tend to prescribe a specific proportion of the cycloplegic refractive error.
Pediatric eye care providers show a lack of consensus on prescribing philosophies for hyperopic children.