Website aiming to raise awareness of myopia launched
Optometrist, Jason Higginbotham, has established a public-facing website and launched a petition for myopia management to be funded by the NHS
“My concern was, and is, that there is no knowledge of myopia out there in the general public,” Higginbotham explained when talking to OT about the establishment of the new website, which he said aims to “tackle this.”
The website, which is primarily designed for parents of children with myopia, contains information on the causes of myopia, as well as the current management options. It also includes functionality allowing the user to find an optical practice that provides myopia management locally.
“I hope optometrists will use the website as a tool to educate parents and patients with myopia, as well as those at risk of myopia,” he said.
“It may be a way for them to get more people into their practice, but it may also be a useful tool for their existing patients as well,” he added.
Alongside the website, Higginbotham has launched a petition on Change.org, calling for myopia management to be funded by the NHS.
Acknowledging that the petition is “probably rather ambitious,” Higginbotham told OT that he hopes to “at least start a dialogue, but hopefully to change the way the Government funds children’s eye care,” which, he added, is, “frankly appalling at the moment.”
“The cost of the consultations for myopia management, and the cost for the therapeutic lenses and contact lenses and other treatments, are way beyond what the NHS provides for. We hope that [the petition] has an impact directly with the Government so it has to listen,” he shared.
Higginbotham is concerned that if myopia management remains unfunded, there is a risk of the development of a two-tier system “where children from lower income backgrounds won’t have access to myopia management and therefore, they may end up with much higher myopic prescriptions in later life,” he said. “It would seem really unjust to me that because of their parents’ income, they will have a higher risk of sight impairment in later life. That to me is totally wrong,” he added.