Scoping review of vision services in Bradford

Background: Vision screening is recommended in children since very early years to detect potential disorders which can affect the child’s normal development and can result in impairments in later life. A recent study on referral uptake in Bradford found that a high number of children do not attend referral visit.

This research aimed to:

  • conduct a literature review on optimal models of care for childhood vision service and barriers to follow-ups and treatment
  • explore the perspectives of vision care professionals working in the Yorkshire and The Humber region on the current model of eye care for children and on the major barriers and facilitators to follow-up referrals and treatments

The findings should provide an evidence-base to support proposals aimed at designing and piloting optimal models of childhood vision care.

Methods: A comprehensive review of the published literature on vision services for children was conducted to explore current models of eye care and major barriers to service uptake and treatment compliance. This informed the interview’s guide in the second part of the study. Fifteen semi-structured interviews were conducted between November 2015 and March 2016 with eye health care professionals working in the Yorkshire area. Interviews were then transcribed and analysed thematically using the N-Vivo software.

Findings: The review of the literature found that most published research come from non-UK settings, namely from the United States, Australia and New Zealand. Very few publications focused on children eye care in the UK, and none on barriers to service uptake and treatment compliance.

From analysing the interviews, two major categories emerged. A first one represented eye care professionals’ views of the current model of care, and the perceived impact when treating children. Common barriers related to the differences in the roles of eye care professionals, work settings, collaboration and information sharing. A second category illustrated how eye care professionals’ perceive their relations and practice with children are mediated by parents’ and children’s attitudes towards eye care. Common barriers were identified in the lack of eye health education and negative attitudes to diagnosis and treatment.

By shedding lights on the perceived barriers in the current service model, these findings could inform the implementation of tailored interventions to promote eye health care literacy and propose changes in the current model of care.


  • Results will be published in a peer-reviewed journal and presented at relevant conferences.
  • Together with a study carried out by Dr. Alison Bruce at the Dept. of Health Science, University of York and at the School of Vision Science and Optometry, University of Bradford, which looked at parents’ perspectives on current eye care service, this research will contribute to the science and theory of implementation of optimal practices to improve children eye care services by considering both families’ and professionals’ needs and perspectives.
  • A paper reporting the findings of the thematic analysis has been written and pending submission for publication.