My myopia practice is booming. I am thrilled to say that we have been in the myopia battle for the last 15 years, but I have never been so excited. Our current products have been amazing over the years, and there are several new products being launched. Awareness and education are on the rise, and implementation of myopia management into our practices has never been easier. However, the COVID-19 pandemic signaled that it is now time for us to double down on our myopia efforts.
As many of us have seen, children who spend less time outside and more time inside using digital devices progress in their myopia faster. Time and time again, we have seen that outdoor time will help our patients slow the progression of their myopia (Cao et al, 2020). COVID-19 restrictions and the associated increase in digital device use has accelerated this process for so many of our pediatric patients.
As you performed back-to-school exams this year, I expect that you encountered more nearsighted children than ever before. Are you ready to slow their myopia, or are you going to only focus on correcting their vision? Here are ways to get ready for the forthcoming myopia season.
Use digital sources to spread the word to patients who are looking for you. Some of our colleagues may not be doing myopia management yet. So, when it is time for children to have an eye exam and their parents search online or on social media, you want them to find you so that you can help them. Use key words such as myopia management, nearsightedness, children’s vision, children’s glasses, blurry vision kids, etc.
2) Target Your Own Patients
Run searches in your electronic medical records system for patients under the age of 15 who have prescriptions from +0.50D through any amount of myopia. If a child is showing hyperopia in this range before the age of 6 years, consider implementing some method of myopia treatment. And, of course, any kids who have myopia should be considered for treatment.
3) Get Certified or Trained
I suggest that you use orthokeratology, soft multifocals, and atropine in your practice. If you are outside of the United States and you have spectacle correction, do not leave that out. Get certified now, and start treating a few patients from the get-go so that you are comfortable now that back-to-school is in full swing.
4) Appoint a Myopia Master
Every new service or program that has been incredible in my practice has happened because my team has been excited about it. Implement team training, boost awareness, and get your team excited about what you can do for children. Find at least one staff person who can be your ambassador—a “Myopia Master.” This person will be able to share the process of myopia management with patients and their parents and can answer any questions about myopia treatments.
I predict that our prevalence of myopia is curving upward, and to be a part of the solution, we must act now. It’s time to double down on myopia. CLS
For references, please visit www.clspectrum.com/references and click on document #311.