By now, most eyecare practitioners understand that myopia is a global health concern, with prevalence increasing in a trajectory likely to find half of the world’s population myopic by 2050 (Holden et al, 2016). In addition to sight-threatening ocular comorbidities such as retinal detachment, high myopia has even been linked to increased stress during childhood and to an impact on quality of life that is similar to that of keratoconus (Katz and Berlin, 2014; Rose et al, 2000).
As eyecare professionals, we recognize many of the obvious benefits that myopia management can provide to our patients. But what are some of the unexpected benefits of mastering myopia?
Improved Patient Loyalty
From familiarizing yourself with new technologies to purchasing specialized equipment, implementing a proactive myopia management program requires an investment of both time and resources. In my experience, patients and families recognize this dedication, and it translates into increased loyalty. Engaging parents in a thorough discussion of myopia comorbidities and treatment options demonstrates that there is much more than “one or two” behind what you do; in addition, parents understand that you are more concerned with their child’s long-term vision and eye health than with selling a new pair of glasses and moving on.
Seeing the investment that you have made in myopia management encourages parents to become more involved in their children’s eye care, which often coincides with them becoming more involved in their own. At our office, we have found that families of myopia management patients are often our “early adopters” of new diagnostic and treatment technologies, seeing the value in the services that we provide and helping to grow our practice.
More Professional Satisfaction
While providing sight on a daily basis is rewarding in and of itself, learning a new skill is one of the best ways to reinvigorate your passion for eye care. As eyecare providers, we see firsthand the detrimental effects that myopia can have on our patients—from potential ocular comorbidities to quality-of-life implications.
With ample opportunities for high-quality continuing education and a growing community of eye-care providers practicing proactive myopia care, there has never been a better time to become proficient in managing myopia. Choosing to actively combat progressive myopia rather than passively observing as young myopes continue to progress provides unparalleled professional satisfaction for practitioners of all experience levels. As the field of myopia management continues to grow, seize the opportunity to become a local expert in this new discipline and to have a positive impact on the next generation’s vision.
Increased Referrals and Reputation
Referrals from patients are one of the surest signs that you are providing top-tier care and exceeding patients’ expectations. As a practice becomes known for offering myopia management, practitioners often see an increase in word-of-mouth referrals from families of young myopes. While parents may not be able to explain the intricacies of myopia management to others, they do understand when their practitioner takes a different approach to treating nearsightedness, and parents are often eager to share this with others. This helps to differentiate your clinic and positively impacts your practice’s reputation in your community.
Finally, love it or hate it, online reviews are a reality of modern eyecare practice. Families of myopia management patients have been some of our most vocal supporters on internet-based review platforms, further driving new patients of all ages into our practice.
A New Outlook
There are a plethora of reasons to practice myopia management, from practice-level benefits to the positive impact on future generations. If you have not taken the opportunity to incorporate proactive myopia care into your arsenal, take the plunge—you just might be surprised by some of the benefits. CLS
For references, please visit www.clspectrum.com/references and click on document #310.