Q&A: Hamza Mussa on myopia management

From an appearance on Sky News to the potential of emerging management options, OT  talks with Hamza Mussa about why myopia matters

A man sitting next to a desk with optometry equipment smiles at the camera. He is wearing a tie and three-piece navy blue suit.
Hamza Mussa
Optometrist Hamza Mussa worked to raise awareness about myopia management among practitioners and the general public during the 2023 UK Sight Sanctuary campaign.

The campaign, which was organised by the Global Myopia Awareness Coalition (GMAC), encouraged families to take a break from their screens during the summer holidays to spend time outdoors.

OT spoke with Mussa about the rewards of myopia management and why he is committed to educating the public – and the profession – about its benefits.

Can you tell me about your experience in myopia management as a practitioner?

When I was studying at Aston University in 2014, researchers were conducting trials using dual focus lenses off-label for myopia management in children. I was exposed quite early on. Over the years more research has been published and more products have come to the market. This has made myopia management accessible to more children.

When I first heard about myopia management, it was exciting because previously when someone was myopic it was accepted that there was not much we could do about the situation. As children grow, their eyes grow and their myopia progresses. I am somebody who wore glasses from the age of three for myopia and high levels of astigmatism as well. If this was around when I was younger, then perhaps I wouldn’t be so reliant on my glasses.

One of the barriers I see in the field is that practitioners don’t necessarily recommend myopia management because they think patients will be put off by the price. They don’t realise that, especially for parents when it comes to the health of their children, cost is not the biggest factor.

Especially for parents when it comes to the health of their children, cost is not the biggest factor


Can you tell me about your involvement in the GMAC sight sanctuary campaign? Why was this something you wanted to take part in?

Myopia is something I am passionate about. I am active on social media and have previously produced practitioner-facing content, but when the GMAC reached out to me, I thought this was an opportunity to do something that was orientated towards the public. Through the campaign, we got the opportunity to go on Sky News and we did a lot of radio interviews. I got the opportunity to reach a much wider audience than I do in my day-to-day role as an optometrist.

Myopia management will be a key focus in the coming years. These types of campaigns bring optometrists to the forefront so we are seen as healthcare professionals. It helps to change public perception and I think that is a big step in the right direction.

How much awareness do you think there is of myopia management among patients?

For the general public, very little is known about myopia. Even amongst practitioners, the awareness of myopia management is still somewhat patchy. With the multiples adopting myopia management, it is becoming readily available to a wider range of people. That helps with the awareness because parents and patients talk to each other. I think in a few years it will be commonplace for patients to ask about myopia management, rather than us as practitioners raising it during the consultation. As the longer-term research outcomes are published, that will help with practitioner and public acceptance of the benefits that myopia management can offer.

These types of campaigns bring optometrists to the forefront so we are seen as healthcare professionals


How do you think myopia management will evolve in the short and long term?

In the short term, I think we will see more myopia management options emerging. That will encourage competition, and generally cause prices to stabilise. As more products come onto the market, hopefully we will see the range expand – for example, a greater number of myopia management options with toric capability.

I would like to see more research published on dual wear. So many people will say to me ‘I play sport three times a week, so can I get glasses and a contact lens?’ While some practices can offer that on an off-label basis, there is no evidence to support that at the moment. It would be interesting to see whether atropine becomes a viable option here in the UK too. There are also questions about where the prescribing of atropine would take place. It is not currently listed within the formulary of products that optometrists without additional qualifications can offer. Would atropine then need to be administered in a hospital setting?

I would like to see funding available for myopia management – even if it was subsidised, rather than fully funded. We are in a cost of living crisis, so it is understandable that for some patients myopia management is just not feasible at present. If General Opthalmic Services funding, or NHS funding, could become available, I think that would be really helpful.