Myopia management: education is key

OT  heard how Hoya, CooperVision and EssilorLuxottica are supporting practitioners with education in the quickly-evolving field of myopia management

girl running in grass

The field of myopia management has evolved rapidly in the past two years, with several new interventions introduced to the market and a wealth of research both published and underway.

Suppliers seem to agree that there is still work to be done in raising awareness of myopia and myopia management amongst the public, with campaigns launched throughout the year in an attempt to draw the attention of parents to the matter.

With the drive to increase public awareness, and the rapid developments in product and research, along with calls from the World Council of Optometry to make myopia a standard of care in practice, OT asked suppliers how they are helping practices to step into the field and keep abreast of the newest information.

Setting the foundations and engaging the whole team

Andy Sanders, professional services director for Hoya Lens UK and Ireland, told OT: “Education is key because the scenery is changing all the time. Everything is evolving.”

With new lenses coming onto the market, Sanders emphasised the need to keep on top of developments and look into the research behind them, whilst new guidance from the College of Optometrists, published in August, on the management of myopia has created an additional driver for optometrists to engage in this area. 

When Hoya launched its Miyosmart spectacle lens for myopia management, the company also introduced an accreditation scheme with presentations on myopia, the development of the Miyosmart spectacle lens, and broader management interventions.

Over 4000 practitioners have completed Hoya’s myopia management accreditation since it was introduced.

“We launched the accreditation to give eye care providers a good background, not only in our own lens, but also of what was out there in the market as we consider myopia management is a medical treatment,” Sanders explained.

Highlighting that it is important for practitioners to understand the variety of solutions available, Sanders noted: “For any myopia management to be successful, it is crucial that the child is fully on board. If the child doesn’t want a pair of glasses and isn’t going to wear them, it is just not going to be effective because we know the efficacy is dose-related.”

The company is exploring how to develop the accreditation scheme going forwards, Sanders shared, “because we are aware that optometry over the last two years has evolved and optometrists are more aware of myopia.”

Beyond the accreditation, Hoya runs myopia management webinars with leaders in the sector, along with roadshow events.

“We’re trying to get the message out there as much as possible,” he said. “It is all about educating everyone on the different products available, because you need to have a range of different interventions.”

Key to Hoya’s approach to educating practices on the topic of myopia is engaging the whole of the team in the conversation. For this reason, the accreditation programme is available for entire practice teams to participate in.

“The recommendation is likely always going to be optometrist-led, but it is about getting the rest of the practice on board,” Sanders said. “Communication is one of the core CPD domains, so we always say: work as a team.”

Asked what he would advise other eye care professionals, Sanders commented: “I would encourage all practitioners to take up myopia management. Professionally, I think it is the right thing to do.”

Honing the communication skill

Research commissioned by CooperVision in 2019 found that 69% of UK parents surveyed were unaware of anything that would slow the progression of myopia in children, while 92% indicated that they would expect their eye care professional to inform them of the options for myopia management.

Highlighting these findings, Christina Olner, head of professional affairs, UK and Ireland for CooperVision, said: “This is why it is really important that we get eye care professionals to have a conversation with all parents of myopic and pre-myopic children about myopia and myopia management.”

Recognising a key hurdle for many practitioners, Olner told OT: “We understand that one of the big challenges for eye care professionals (ECPs) is how to communicate myopia, its progression and its management to patients and their parents.”

“As a result, we have developed several CPD workshops which allow practitioners to hone their skills in a safe environment,” she explained. To support conversations around myopia, CooperVision also has guides for parents and children, along with an online vision simulator.

CooperVision also hosts a professional accreditation which can be registered for online, along with online workshops, and the company said it is also looking to expand its e-learning offer around myopia management.

Asked how practices can assess their readiness to offer interventions, Olner acknowledged the updated guidance from the College of Optometrists, which advises being able to discuss the evidence, benefits and risks of myopia management with patients. She told OT: “I see this as the precursor to practising myopia management.”

As a next step, she recommended reading CooperVision’s Action Plan for the Future of Managing Myopia, which was created by practitioners to highlight the importance of normalising myopia management.

Further steps would include establishing myopia management as a standard of care in practice, she added, to “ensure your front of house colleagues understand about myopia management," and to screen the diary each day for myopic patients under 18.

“As practitioners we now have the opportunity to make a difference to the eyesight and eye health of a generation,” Olner reflected.

Upskilling in myopia management

This autumn, EssilorLuxottica introduced a myopia management certification programme on its training platform, Leonardo. The programme, called Moving from Myopia Correction to Control, consists of five modules led by experts covering myopia management, the risk factors, and the Essilor Stellest lenses.

Charlotte Timbury, Stellest product manager for EssilorLuxottica North Europe, suggested the programme has been designed to “help upskill eye care professionals to the current global standard in myopia management and help them actively engage and guide patients in their myopia management journey.”

Timbury also highlighted new CPD-approved modules discussing myopia management across a variety of educational formats.

Reflecting on current levels of awareness around myopia, Timbury said: “It still feels like we are at the start of a long journey around supporting the eye care profession with communication to the public.”

To support this communication effort, Essilor introduced the Stellest passport in March to lens orders, as a resource designed to follow a patient’s journey and track any changes in their vision.

 The passport aims to remind parents to book in for regular appointments, and also emphasises the importance of myopia management in addition to correction, Timbury shared: “This helps to support communication between the practitioner, the patient, and their parents, by measuring what has been happening to the child’s myopia between their six-monthly visits.’

A partnership with Myopia Profile has also seen the development of educational content designed to support eye care practitioners’ knowledge and skills in prescribing spectacle lenses to young children.

Partnerships like this will continue to play a role in Essilor’s approach, Timbury added, “with a strong focus on education, awareness and advocacy, to help make a much-needed impact on children’s lives everywhere.”