How do small things spread? How do we get a generation to shift? In The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, the author speaks about shifts, big movements, and how the smallest little things—like Hush Puppies footwear—can make huge impacts. A major part of these movements are the people who take the message to their peer group and lead small movements that merge and grow into larger movements.
With innovations happening around myopia, the profession needs a group of influential practitioners who can help us “tip” the myopia pandemic. Here are a few important steps that we need to take to make the tip happen.
- Believe that myopia is a disease that blinds or threatens to blind patients.
- Despise the disease so much that you’re repulsed by its progression.
- Implement strategies in your practice that slow the progression.
- Incorporate methods or technologies that measure the progression.
- Share your experience.
Believing that myopia is a disease that blinds or threatens to blind its victims and despising the disease so much that you are repulsed by its progression are not big stretches. Just read “Myopia Control: Why Each Diopter Matters” (Bullimore and Brennan, 2019). You should be convinced that each diopter is a very bad thing for kids.
Moving from belief to action is where we are going to lose some people. To implement a strategy, you are going to need to educate yourself and begin to plan for some treatment implementation. Think about costs of treatments, team implementation and training, and communication strategies.
Once you have started with one treatment method, start adding other treatments when needed. Determine the way you are going to measure your success. The great debate about refractive error and axial length will invariably come up. With time, you may advance to axial length, but to get your feet wet, start with refractive error.
Lastly, share your experience. This is where we as a movement need the most help. Share successes. Talk to colleagues about how you did it, what pitfalls you encountered, and how you overcame them. Begin talking to parent groups and Facebook groups, write an opinion piece for your local newspaper, talk to school groups—or even become the expert for your local TV station.
Get the word out about the disease you despise, sharing your repulsion, but emphasize that there is hope. Do this in a way that will grow more than your own eyecare practice; do it so our movement sees progress.
If we want to see things really tip, it’s going to take steps that are planned and purposeful. Who is joining the movement with me? CLS
- Bullimore MA, Brennan NA. Myopia Control: Why Each Diopter Matters. Optom Vis Sci. 2019 Jun;96:463-465.