“Prevention is better than the cure”
CooperVision’s director of global professional affairs, Elizabeth Lumb, spoke to OT at 100% Optical about myopia management, including the evidence and changes to its clinical guidance framework
“If we really want to make a difference and stop children progressing beyond and into higher levels of myopia, we have got to get them started sooner and aggressively, and get them into treatment as soon as possible,” CooperVision’s director of global professional affairs for myopia management, Elizabeth Lumb, told delegates during her lecture at 100% Optical 2023.
Lumb, who previously presented about myopia at the show six years ago, acknowledged that since then “the pace of myopia in the UK is changing rapidly and there is a lot to talk about in a short space of time.”
Addressing practitioners during an education session on the Main Stage, Lumb emphasised: “We know that myopia is insidious in its nature – children don’t know it’s happening, parents don’t necessarily recognise it taking hold, and it’s often somebody else, perhaps in the education system, who picks it up first.”
On the evidence about the effectiveness of myopia management, Lumb expressed: “This isn’t a fad, it’s not a transient moment in time – we are seeing that being reflected by amount and the volume of peer view publications… We are going from 120 papers in 2020, right the way through to over 300 in 2022.”
She noted that one of the biggest changes that the profession has seen recently regarding myopia is the change in the position from the College of Optometrists, which Lumb explained is “now operating under a framework of talking about myopia, rather than it being you don’t have to do it if you are not already doing it,” she shared.
Lumb highlighted that the framework update supports the profession to make sure that they are having the conversations with as many children as they need to.
She added that some of the other learnings experienced have been “thrown upon us through the life that we experienced during the pandemic,” including the importance of wearing an intervention compliantly. Using an analogy to highlight this, Lumb shared: “You don’t cure a headache by looking at a paracetamol in a box, you have to take the medicine for it to work,” adding: “Myopia control is exactly the same.”
She highlighted that a key message for optometrists is about fitting the child with the right product, and explained: “We are now really spoilt for choice when it comes to clinical useful interventions available with a strong evidence base that supports their effectiveness.”
Speaking to OT on the contact lens manufacturers’ stand during the show, Lumb labelled where the profession was on its myopia journey in the UK currently as a “really powerful moment for optometrists who have perhaps grown up in an educational system that is all about correcting, and then moving away from correcting and into now managing this particular condition.”
She added: “It’s a really exciting time to be in the driving seat for that. Optometrists have a really important role in being able to share and raise the awareness amongst the families that they see in their practices, and providing better vision for children both now but also in their future.”