“Our main aim is to help resolve all the barriers to engagement in myopia management”
Corrina McElduff, director professional affairs for Ocumetra, on supporting practices in delivering personalised myopia management, and the joy of designing tools for ECPs as a practitioner
29 December 2023
Ocumetra – behind the scenes
Can you give us a background on Ocumetra?Our co-founders, Professors James Loughman and Ian Flitcroft, have both been heavily involved in myopia research for many years in the Centre for Eye Research Ireland (CERI).
As part of their research, they began accumulating a significant amount of data on the eye growth and refractive development of children. They saw first-hand the benefits that children were getting with myopia control treatments.
But looking at what was happening in everyday practice, they were really surprised to see that the uptake of myopia management in primary practice was, at that point, and still is, very low despite the evidence of the benefits of those treatments.
Ocumetra launched its first tools, having founded the company in June 2020
They founded Ocumetra once they understood that the range of barriers that eye care professionals (ECPs) were struggling with includes communication and getting the message across to help parents make an informed decision.
Our main aim is to help resolve all the barriers to engagement in myopia management. We support that communication process and enhance decision-making so eye care professionals can feel more confident, through evidence-based advice and recommendations that are also meaningful to parents.
Our main aim is to help resolve all the barriers to engagement in myopia management
What are the tools Ocumetra offers?The two tools that we have at the moment are mEye Guide and mEye Gauge. We believe these tools transform the landscape for ECPs, providing them with comprehensive, evidence-based information to truly understand the myopia-associated risks for every child.
We’re providing a holistic solution that covers all those aspects of understanding myopia risk. We have extensive datasets, predictive models, a vision simulator, and treatment option explanations.
mEye Guide is our parent communication tool. It is set out to strike the perfect balance between clinical information relevant for the ECP, but in a parent-friendly presentation. The clinical information empowers the professional, while the visual representation resonates with parents to support their understanding of myopia risks and potential management strategies.
mEye Gauge is our flexible axial length analysis tool. Our tool employs a machine-based learning model to calculate an estimated axial length value with a 95% prediction range. By either using that estimate, or – if they have access to biometry – a measured value, mEye Gauge provides the clinical context and analysis. The tool provides normative values for children based on their age and sex, as well as predicted adult values and their vision impairment risk.
Location: Greenway Hub, Technological University Dublin
How does mEye Guide work?The mEye Guide tool features centiles and centile analysis which illustrate to parents how their child compares to others of the same age and sex. Following a recent update, launched this autumn, the tool also provides a predicted adult myopia level, both with and without treatment. This is calculated from our extensive dataset to help parents understand what a future may mean without treatment.
We hear time and time again from ECPs that the interactive vision simulator is a powerful feature, because it allows parents to experience their child’s myopic perspective. This aids ECPs in explaining the functional consequences of myopia and fosters better communication, particularly with non-myopic parents.
We also have risk calculation and disease features. These provide information on the short and long-term benefits of myopia management. It provides that extra bit of information for ECPs to have the evidence-based decision making on whether to treat.
We aim to eliminate the need for providing additional leaflets or signposting to external resources, to streamline the decision-making process. Using the most up-to-date research, we’re also offering actionable lifestyle recommendations for delaying myopia onset and progression.
It’s about striking that balance between offering valuable information without overwhelming parents. Information is instantly shareable through QR codes.
How does mEye gauge support ECPs in myopia management?The information will provide additional insights to ECPs to help them begin to integrate axial length into their myopia management routine. The tool provides specific eye growth expectations, both with and without treatment, so that ECPs can get a better understanding of how much eye growth is acceptable for a child on treatment, and but also how much is normal physiological growth that we would expect. That enhanced functionality will help them to gain a clear understanding of what normal eye growth looks like and that’s personalised to every single child that they see.
Have been planned out for Ocumetra’s tools. Currently seven are available, with four in active translation
Who are these tools for?Every eye care professional that sees children, whether that’s an optometrist, contact lens optician, dispensing optician, ophthalmologist, or orthoptist. What we’ve seen in practice is that a lot of the time the generation of these reports is usually conducted by the ECP, but we all know within myopia management you need to have that whole team on board. There’s absolutely no reason why a member of the practice team couldn’t be involved in helping to support question answering and going through the report.
What ambitions does Ocumetra have for the next 12 months?Our new version of mEye Guide launched in autumn. Our next tools will allow ECPs to plot each individual child’s progress over time while they’re on treatment. While mEye Guide, and mEye Gauge will look after those initial conversations to communicate the need for treatment, our next innovations will ensure that ECPs can illustrate the ongoing benefit of treatment to parents and children in need of continued care. We are also in the process of developing a parent app, which will allow parents to easily store their child’s personalised reports and recommendations over time.
I think those will probably arrive in mid-2024. At the moment, practices are still struggling to get the need for treatment across, but once you get parents on board, the next challenge is keeping them on it. So that’s why we’re trying to make sure that we’re resolving all barriers to parental engagement, regardless as to where they are in that myopia management journey.
Beyond the brand
Ocumetra’s vision simulator is embedded on the SightGlass Vision website. Could you tell us about Ocumetra’s approach to collaboration?Our goal is to remove all the barriers to uptake of myopia management treatments, and ultimately improve eye health outcomes for children and that means supporting businesses and industry partners, along with increasing awareness amongst parents and patients. This has been a crucial step towards us achieving that goal. Collaboration with treatment providers to better understand market needs is ultimately going to lead to optimised treatments and services that ultimately increase the size of that market, but also deliver better health outcomes for patients and society as a whole. Taking a holistic approach has the potential to make a significant positive impact on eye health in the future.
What are some of the external challenges you see facing the providers of myopia management solutions?Cost remains a significant barrier for many parents. Some simply can’t afford these new treatments. So, finding new ways to subsidise myopia management remains a key challenge. Once more options become available, the cost of some of these will inevitably begin to drop.
There is also a distinct lack of parental awareness about the risks of myopia and the opportunities provided by treatment to enhance quality of life and reduce that risk of eye disease and vision loss. Addressing that is a key challenge.
This is very much an emerging market. With new treatments becoming available, it can be quite difficult for ECPs to understand the latest developments and access the evidence relating to the benefit or the effectiveness of these new treatments.
Corrina’s favourite thing about Ocumetra
We will also see new copycat technologies emerge, such as new spectacle lens designs, which may not have the same level of evidence available to support their use. These could be an attractive option to parents and ECPs, potentially based on price point.
These developments provide both an opportunity to help myopia management become embedded into routine practice and more widely available and affordable to parents, but also potentially present a risk as a therapeutic form of management that require a robust evidence-based approach.
Developments such as the World Council of Optometry’s resolution for myopia management becoming a standard of care has influenced clinical practice and stimulated professional associations to put guidelines in place. But this does pose a challenge to ECPs, because that means they must remain up to date with these guidelines, and compliant with the requirements for personalised evidence-based care. It’s not just us who are trying to help address that challenge. We’re providing that one-stop resource for easy and ongoing compliance. But there are numerous ways of making sure that ECPs do that as well.
Finally, chair time is such a big barrier for ECPs in practice. It needs to be as easy and as seamless as possible for them to do it, and to do it well, in practice.
Are there any trends or developments you expect to see in myopia management in the coming years?A key development coming over the next few years will be new treatment options. Treatments like atropine will soon become available in Europe and the UK. Then there are other light and digital treatments currently in the pipeline. We’re going to have a range of optical, pharmacological and other treatment options, which brings the opportunity for combination therapy.
At the other end of that, we’re likely going to see developments in disease treatment and prevention. You now see scleral crosslinking as an option for long-term protection of retinal health in high myopes. There will be other developments in that space.
In terms of software and predictive models, we’re aiming to lead the evolution of that clinical space for myopia and other ophthalmic conditions. But there will always be constant innovation to help ECPs deliver better health outcomes to their patients. We will see more artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning based software that’s capable of analysing patient data to guide ECPs in the best treatment options available in their region for each individual patient.
What are the biggest opportunities that you see currently for practices in this space?
I think the biggest opportunity here is improving health outcomes for every single child at risk. It is likely that ECPs now are not going to be examining these children when they are in their 70s and beyond. But what they do right now may possibly influence their ocular health and the social opportunities for these kids in the future. After all, improving sight and providing excellent patient care is the reason why many of us are in this space. Improving sight doesn't just mean providing them with an up-to-date pair of glasses. Improving their sight also means protecting their sight for the long term.
Three facts about Ocumetra
- Ocumetra’s leadership is mostly comprised of optometrists and medical doctors
- Though relatively small, Ocumetra’s team represents more than 10 nationalities
- Accessibility is a key focus, so Ocumetra’s tools are freely available to universities around the world, to encourage students to integrate them into clinical practice from the outset.