December 1, 2020
By Ashley Wallace-Tucker, OD, FAAO, FSLS, ABO Diplomate
With innovations entering the contact lens market, it is such an exciting time to offer myopia management. Because we have successfully integrated a myopia management clinic into our private practice, I am honored to share three pearls that have helped us along the way.
- Value of a Consultation Visit
With the advent of virtual learning, parents have a heightened concern about their child’s myopia and the potential impact near work will have on their progression. Thus, it is imperative that parents get all their questions answered in an unrushed environment.
In our office, the consultation provides an opportunity for the parents and the doctor to get to know each other. If the child is present, we spend some time speaking directly to the child as well. Conversing with the child is especially important because it provides you with a sense of their maturity level, insight on interest in contact lenses, lifestyle and hobbies.
For the parents, we discuss each myopia management option for which their child is a candidate. No need to waste time on options for which their child is not eligible. This may ultimately create confusion and possibly frustration. The myopia management options we offer are orthokeratology, multifocals (including soft and hybrid designs), MiSight 1 day and atropine therapy.
At the end of the visit, we provide a packet of information customized for the patient. It includes written information about each myopia management option, along with pricing and research articles to support each option. By the end of the visit, in most cases, we have a plan in place and are ready to schedule the next appointment. If not, we follow up with the parents one week after the visit to answer any additional questions.
Lastly, I encourage you to resist the temptation to have the consultation in conjunction with the comprehensive examination unless your schedule will accommodate this. Frequently, this visit can be lengthy, and it’s crucial to create an environment where everyone, especially you as the doctor, is relaxed and able to devote your undivided attention to the child and family in your exam room.
- Create Myopia Management Advocates
To be a successful myopia management practice, I firmly believe that everyone on your team needs to have a solid understanding of this condition and why it is important to manage, not just treat, myopia. We routinely center our weekly staff meeting around education; myopia and the innovations in myopia management are a frequent topic in our office. It is imperative to equip your team with the knowledge they need to represent you and your efforts to offer this exciting program to your patients.
The front desk team is your front line; they will be triaging calls, answering general questions and scheduling appointments. Your tech team arguably spends the most time with each patient, giving them plenty of opportunities to plant seeds about the benefits of myopia management. Your optical team may also reinforce the benefits of contact lenses over spectacles, especially for patients who are opting for a spectacle option instead of a more effective myopia management option.
In our office, we have one designated staff member who is our key myopia management advocate. She has undergone more extensive training and has a more in-depth understanding than others. Her role is to provide more in-depth answers to patient inquiries. She can assist in the consultation visits when needed, is the point of contact once a patient has enrolled in our program and is in charge of managing patients’ contact lens orders and pharmacy prescriptions. In addition, our advocate periodically reaches out to nearby school nurses, pediatricians and colleagues to provide them with information and brochures about myopia management to provide to appropriate families.
- Maximize Your Patient Communication
We send out a quarterly newsletter to let our patients know of recent and upcoming happenings in our office and introduce new products or services. We also routinely use our social media platforms to educate our patients and followers. For example, we recently started a Daily Vision Vlog https://www.bfeye.com/tag/dailyvisionvlog/ to discuss several eye- and vision-related topics, including myopia and the benefits of myopia management.
When all four of our doctors were certified in the Brilliant Futures Program with MiSight 1 day contact lenses, we immediately announced this on social media to gain some momentum and excitement. We also added this program to the myopia management section on our website, sent out a newsletter featuring the program and diligently contacted patients we had on a wait list. Our wait list consisted of age-appropriate and prescription-appropriate patients who did not have success with orthokeratology or soft multifocal lenses either because of vision, comfort or both. Sharing information in this way generated even more interest in our practice’s myopia management offerings, allowing us to further implement these three steps toward a successful myopia management plan.
Ashley Wallace-Tucker, OD, FAAO, FSLS, ABO Diplomate, practices with Bellaire Family Eye Care in Bellaire, Texas. A summa cum laude graduate from the University of Houston College of Optometry, she is certified in fitting orthokeratology and MiSight 1 day contact lenses and has extensive experience and knowledge in myopia management.