Vol 9 (2024): Continuous Publishing
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Published online: 2024-04-29

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Knowledge, attitude and practice of eye care professionals in Kenya on atropine prescription for myopia progression in children aged 4–12 years

Shadrack Muma1, Rekha Hansraj1
Ophthalmol J 2024;9:77-86.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Myopia has predominantly been shown to negatively impact ocular health and quality of life. However, with a variation in the scope of practice for eye care professionals destined to address myopia, this study intended to assess the knowledge, attitude, and practice of different eye care professionals in Kenya regarding atropine prescription for the management of myopia progression in pediatric patients aged 4–12 years.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: A cross-sectional mixed-method study was conducted among ophthalmologists, optometrists, and ophthalmic clinical officers practicing in Kenya’s private and public health sectors. Initially, purposive sampling and then snowball sampling were used to recruit the participants. Data was collected via an online survey which consisted of closed-ended questions aiming to explore the eye care professional’s knowledge, attitude, and practice regarding prescribing different concentrations (0.01%, 0.025%, and 0.05%) of atropine for pediatric myopes. In addition, a semi-structured interview was conducted telephonically from April to June 2023.

RESULTS: All participants (100%) were aware of 1% atropine and utilized it often for pediatric refractions. A composite awareness score revealed ophthalmologists specializing in pediatrics at the top in terms of having good knowledge of atropine prescription for children with myopia progression, followed by general ophthalmologists, optometrists, and ophthalmic clinical officers. The attitude of all pediatric ophthalmologists towards the prescription of atropine for pediatrics with progressing myopia was better when compared to optometrists, ophthalmic clinical officers, and general ophthalmologists. All pediatric ophthalmologists prescribed atropine for children with myopia progression, while other cadres, such as optometrists and general ophthalmologists, utilized atropine primarily for pediatric refraction.

CONCLUSION: Atropine is predominantly used by eye care professionals in Kenya for pediatric refraction, with minimal usage as a management option for myopia progression. Continuous medical education is thus desirable among eye care professionals on the use of atropine to monitor and manage myopia progression in children. Furthermore, developing a pediatric refraction guideline integrating a clinical-based utilization of low concentrations of atropine is desirable.

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