100% Optical

How dispensing opticians should handle myopia management conversations

Myopia communication for dispensing opticians was the focus of the first peer discussion at 100% Optical 2024

A city centre is more clearly seen through myopia lenses with a black frame

Practitioners discussed how dispensing opticians (DOs) can best communicate myopia management options to patients during the first peer discussion of 100% Optical 2024 (24–26 February).

Gathering in the Dispensing Workshop on Saturday morning, practice team members shared their thoughts on the risks of myopia, including the professional responsibility as DOs, the patient journey, and how myopic parents with children under the age of 18 are currently communicated with in their practices.

Practitioners highlighted that, as a DO might be the first staff member a walk-in patient encounters in practice, myopia management should not be left purely to the optometrist.

Parental risk and the importance of giving holistic advice was also considered by attendees.

The fully-booked session was led by Dr Alicia Thompson, director of education, research and professional development at the Association of British Dispensing Opticians.

Thompson emphasised that myopia management in within the Standards of Practice for dispensing opticians.

“We do have this duty, because it’s in the Standards of Practice that we share,” she said. “We know to conduct an adequate assessment for the purposes of optical consultation, getting the family history, and all the information about that child and their lifestyle, so that we can properly explain the reasons behind it and the benefits, and how we need to care for that particular patient.”

“You have got to do what is professionally right for your patients,” she added.

The second part of the discussion covered evidence, consent, and the importance of giving parents an informed choice.

Thompson noted that consent should be reestablished at every visit.

“Everything we do, in practice, we need consent for,” she said, “and we need to record that consent. Don’t assume, because you have had consent at one visit, you will always have consent. Always make sure you reaffirm that consent is there.”

Attendees went on to share how they provide information to patients, whether the messages given around myopia are consistent across the entire practice team, and how their practices obtain and update consent.

The fact that patients might not be aware of myopia management options if they have never previously been presented with them was considered, as was the value of parents conducting their own research in order to make an informed choice for their children.

Thompson acknowledged that there is likely to be an added complexity for locum dispensing opticians, who are likely to find themselves working across practices offering different levels of myopia management.

The final part of the discussion focused on lens options, fitting criteria, frame considerations, wear time, and how DOs can influence patient compliance.

Thomson noted that “you could change a patient’s life by talking about myopia management.”