100% Optical

Paediatric designs: the Star Fit collection 

OT  heard from Millmead Group’s James Conway, and Dr Alicia Thompson, about the data behind Continental Eyewear’s new collection for children

Continental Eyewear launched its new Star Fit collection for children between the ages of one and eight at 100% Optical.

The manufacturer, part of the Millmead Optical Group, utilised data from research by Dr Alicia Thompson, ABDO director of education, research and professional development, to improve the fit of paediatric eyewear.

James Conway, CEO of Millmead Optical Group, told OT that, while the manufacturer has sold children’s eyewear for a long time, after speaking with Thompson three years ago, he realised: “That a lot of the eyewear we made were smaller adult frames – they weren’t specifically designed to fit children’s head shapes.”

Discussing the background to her research, Thompson shared: “From years of frustration in practice about not having paediatric frames that are fit for purpose, I decided to look at what data frame manufacturers used to make their frames. This wasn’t based on evidence, it was basically based on taking an adult frame, of adult proportions, and scaling that down.”

This led Thompson on a seven-year part-time PhD journey which involved measuring 1300 children aged from birth to 16 years old, capturing their ethnicity, gender, and whether the child had Down syndrome. The data from this research is open access.

“Millmead are one of the companies that picked up the data very early,” Thompson explained, adding that her work with the group included educating the design team on the needs of dispensing opticians, such as providing adjustment properties.

The fit of frames is more important for children than ever before, Conway suggested, with the introduction of lenses for myopia management.

“It was a real mission for us,” he said. “We’re always trying to balance the technical requirements of the frames with aesthetics and comfort. It’s never just one thing to worry about, it’s the whole package that has got to look right.”

Thomson presented on myopia management conversations for dispensing opticians at 100% Optical. See the key takeaways here.


The collection includes 16 SKUs of eight models in two colours, with a mixture of eco-acetate and recycled metal designs, all with flex hinges.

Sharing insight from her research, Thompson explained that, as a child develops their bearing surface is very low and wide.

“The idea that a child has a small, cute nose is actually not quite true,” she shared. “The bridge position needs to be much lower, and we need to have the wider angles and wider linear measurements from that.”

“We now know more about children’s head widths, across at the ear points and the temple width, and what ethnic variations we have,” Thompson said, adding that the designers worked on providing adjustability to fit the frames to more of the population.

All of the frames have flex hinges, while the cores are cylindrical to make it easier to cut, and the tips of the frames have notches for this purpose.

Reflecting on the benefits of incorporating this data into paediatric eyewear design, Thompson shared: “The important thing is that we’ll get frames that will sit in a stable and more comfortable manner on a child’s face.”

“I think it’s all too much of a common sight to see frames that slide down a child’s nose because the nasal profile that used to be produced is that of an adult, and the frame will then naturally slide,” she explained. “This will hopefully counteract that with all the dimensions, and data, they’ve incorporated into the design.”