February 15, 2022
By Janelle Davison, OD
As someone who struggled with myopia during childhood, I wish I had had these options when I was younger.
While my experience in the eye care field began nearly 16 years ago, my experience with myopia management is much more recent. I opened my practice, Brilliant Eyes Vision Center, cold in 2010, and I have successfully grown it to become a full-scope primary care practice focusing on dry eye, optometry aesthetics, specialty contact lenses, and now myopia management.
A Personal Connection to Myopia Management
Myopia management has been a hot topic in optometry for some time now. As a student at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University, I was first introduced to myopia management when I had the opportunity to gather data from participants enrolled in the COMET (Correction of Myopia Evaluation Trial) study. As a -4.00D myope myself (who had LASIK in 2008), I have always had an interest in the field and regularly kept up with the research and progress made over the last decade.
However, it wasn’t until 2020 that I decided to get off the sidelines and become an active participant in managing myopia. The major push came when I performed an annual exam on my 8-year-old daughter and discovered -0.50D on her manifest refraction. When it hit home, I had to act. I decided to become certified in the CooperVision Brilliant Futures Myopia Management Program, and I enrolled my daughter in the program as my first patient.
Getting Started with Myopia Management
I decided to start with the Brilliant Futures program because I thought this would be the easiest way to implement myopia management into my practice for my team, my patients, and their parents. After regular practice hours, I spent a few weeks taking the online certification course at home. The process was straightforward, and I felt well trained and ready to implement what I had learned into my practice once I had completed the certification process.
After my Brilliant Futures training, I reached out to one of my local colleagues, Jason Blowe, OD. For several years, he has been practicing myopia management in his private practice office. I reached out to him for advice, for some of his best practice pearls, and to learn more about other myopia management modalities.
It’s also important to me to stay up to date on the latest research and clinical pearls in the field of myopia management. This comes from reading cutting-edge publications, such as Review of Myopia Management, and attending webinars and educational seminars at conferences such as the American Academy of Optometry annual meeting.
Creating a Treatment Plan and Educating Parents
Currently, I only offer one myopia management therapy — MiSight 1-day contact lenses. However, I work hard to explain to parents of all children diagnosed with myopia that there are several treatment options available to their child besides traditional glasses. I also tell them my area of expertise is in prescribing MiSight contact lenses, and I explain the benefits of starting a treatment plan at an early age. After that initial conversation, we typically schedule interested parents for a free tele-consult where I can go into more depth on the disease state of myopia and the benefits of slowing progression. From there, those who are still interested can sign up and get started with treatment. When the patient is interested in other therapies that I currently don’t offer, I refer them to another optometrist who has more robust offerings as I continue to build my myopia management clinic.
Parent education is an essential component of the myopia management process. While I do my best to educate parents about what myopia really means in the exam lane, I also provide them with materials to take home to review after our time together. The Brilliant Futures program provides patient education brochures that are easy for parents to digest and understand. I make sure they always leave with a brochure, and if they want to learn more or seem interested in enrolling their child, I schedule them for a tele-consult. Most parents immediately understand the damaging impact myopia can have on their child’s future. The most challenging group of parents to reach are those who are emmetropic and don’t get regular eye exams themselves. It takes more to convince them to consider myopia management for their child.
The Future is Bright
I hope the field is headed to where myopia management is a viable and easily implemented option in practice. As someone who struggled with myopia during childhood, I wish I had had these options when I was younger. As I continue building and expanding my myopia management clinic, I think the future is bright.
|Janelle Davison, OD, is the owner and CEO of Brilliant Eyes Vision Center in Smyrna, Georgia, and the owner and Clinical Director of Premier Dry Eye Spa & Cosmetic Eye Care. She is also the Chief Visionary Officer at Paradeyem, a web-based retail optical solution, and the co-founder of S.C.O.R.E. Inc., a non-profit organization that works to provide tools, skills, and guidance in education, careers, and life for young women with interest in STEM.|