“Menicon is focused on helping ECPs spread awareness of myopia with families”

OT  heard from Josie Barlow, head of professional services at Menicon, on increasing subscription models, raising awareness of myopia, and upcoming products

Pexels/Aline Ponce
Discussing how the contact lens market has changed in the years following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Josie Barlow, head of professional services at Menicon, told OT: “In the UK, we have seen a shift in eye care professionals moving to a subscription model for the supply of contact lenses.”

Josie Barlow
OT spoke with Barlow about how Menicon’s myopia management products have been received by patients and eye care professionals (ECPs) since the UK launch, and to reflect on changing market factors and upcoming product developments.

“Due to COVID-19, there was a general downturn in contact lens sales as practices closed and patients adopted a change in lifestyle and activities, for which lenses were not so much of a requirement,” Barlow highlighted. “However, we’re now pleased to see that the demand for contact lenses is increasing as we continue to recover and people revert back to a more active routine.”

In 2023, the company will be observing economic factors closely. Barlow shared: “As with other businesses locally, and indeed globally, economic factors are having an effect.”

“We continue to monitor the market closely as we look to further innovate and adapt to the current needs of ECPs in order to help them provide the highest standard of care to their patients,” she added.

Myopia management blooms

Spring 2023 marks a year since the company launched its Menicon Bloom treatment plan for myopia in the UK.

This has been received positively by practices, parents and children, with patient numbers increasing month on month, the company shared.

Each practice that onboards Menicon Bloom is offered ECP and front-of-house training. Barlow shared that this ensures “every member of the team can confidently discuss myopia management, before the patient even reaches the consulting room.”

A suite of marketing materials is also available to support conversations around myopia.

Two contact lenses, both CE-approved for myopia control, are available; an orthokeratology lens, Menicon Bloom Night, and an extended depth of focus soft daily disposable contact lens, the Menicon Day.

The contact lenses are available as part of a holistic treatment plan for myopia management that includes an app to support communication between the patient and their ECP, and to make it easier to monitor the patient’s progress through the treatment.

Menicon Bloom
Menicon’s holistic treatment plan

The Menicon Bloom app provides reminders on caring for the contact lenses, as well as tips for application and removal. Brief questionnaires are also sent to the patient at regular intervals, covering the patient’s vision and experience of wearing the lenses.

Barlow explained that this allows the ECP to “accurately monitor the myopia management treatment,” adding: “Furthermore, if the ECP detects any issue based on the results of the surveys, it can be easily tackled on the following visit. For parents, this removes the burden of trying to remember how the process is going between clinic visits, as the app collects all of the relevant information.”

Creating an avenue for communication and patient feedback through the app brings ‘peace of mind’ to patients and ECPs, the company said.

To help patients care for their ortho-keratology lenses, the company also introduced Menicon Bloom Care and Menicon Bloom Progent care solutions.

The multipurpose solution for cleaning and storing lenses, Menicon Bloom Care, is available in a bottle that has been specifically designed for children.

Asked about the decisions that went into this design choice, Barlow said: “The aim of our child-friendly assets is to make sure that our younger patients feel a part of their treatment, to promote commitment and compliance amongst them from the very beginning.”

The company aims to support practices to highlight the importance of myopia with patients.

“At this first stage, Menicon is focused on helping ECPs spread awareness of myopia with families,” Barlow said. “ECPs have the most direct access to the families of patients. Our main goal is therefore to secure their standing and enhance their trust as the primary eye care professionals.”

The company intends to target communications directly to the general population “in the near future,” she added.

Menicon launched a partnership with the Myopia Specialist Centre in Singapore in 2022.

“Research has been conducted over the last couple of decades to establish the safety and efficacy of orthokeratology lens wear in reducing myopia progression in children. Despite this, research seeking to understand the underlying mechanism of myopia, control its effect and improve treatment outcomes, is ongoing,” Barlow explained.

“Through partnering with the Myopia Specialist Centre in Singapore, our goal is to be able to answer these questions,” she added.

Outside of myopia management, Menicon also launched its Rose K2 XL Oblate lens earlier this year, offering a new product for patients with irregular corneas.

“Later this year, we are planning to launch a new range of soft MTO lenses which we’re really excited about,” Barlow said. “Work is also in progress to launch a range of LCP products, including a flat bottle.”

Read how Menicon partnered with singer-songwriter, Billy Lockett, to tell a story through contact lenses for a music video.