December 7, 2022
ST. LOUIS, Mo. — The American Optometric Association’s (AOA’s) Research & Information Committee (RIC) surveyed optometrists throughout the United States about their experiences with myopia management. There were over 460 practitioners from 41 states surveyed, and the goal was to understand the extent to which ECPs are providing myopia management services.
Ultimately, the survey revealed that the majority of practitioners involved in the survey — nearly 70% — were providing myopia management services to their patients. Of those ECPs, nearly 95% practice in metropolitan cities, and more than 70% are independent practitioners.
“Myopia management is really a hot, hot topic right now, especially post-COVID-19,” said Mamie Chan, OD, AOA RIC chair. “With the world becoming more myopic, the topic is timely, and it’s also somewhat of a new area. We’re still learning about it.
“There’s also a question of how much research is out there,” Dr. Chan added. “So, we wanted to see a wide swath of what doctors of optometry are doing. As a private practitioner, I am sometimes in a bubble. I only see myself and my friends, so it’s good to get a snapshot of what other people are doing and how many people are doing it.”
When it comes to initiating treatment, 73% of practitioners surveyed said that an annual progression of 0.50D or 0.75D was warranted before beginning myopia management treatment. Additionally, refractive error was considered to be the most important risk factor in beginning myopia management treatment.
Nearly 90% of the practitioners said they begin talks of myopia management with parents when their child is between the ages of 5 and 8 years old. However, 33% said that those eligible for myopia management defer treatment, and 80% of them do so because of costs.
In terms of which myopia management treatment modalities practitioners lean toward, the survey revealed the ECPs’ preferences: FDA-approved soft contact lenses, off-label soft multifocal contact lenses, and low-dose atropine.
Moving forward, the doctors surveyed expressed an interest in having access to education related to the science behind myopia management. Currently, continuing education, research, and optometry school were the top three ways that ECPs gathered information on myopia management.
“I think there is an opportunity for the AOA — for the Contact Lens & Cornea Section and the Education Center Committee — to capitalize on educating the apparently large group that is not practicing it because they don’t feel the research is there,” Dr. Chan said. “We need to get that research out to more people.”
Access the complete results of the survey here.