Editor’s Perspective

Ask Yourself Why

April 1, 2024

By Dwight Akerman, OD, MBA, FAAO, FBCLA, FIACLE

Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why aims to help individuals and organizations discover their purpose and find their why. Sinek argues that great leaders and companies do not just focus on what they do or how they do it but on why they do it. He believes that by starting with why, people can inspire themselves and others, build trust, and create a powerful sense of purpose and loyalty. Any person or organization can explain what they do; some can explain how they are different or better. But very few can clearly articulate why they do it. Why is not about money or profit — those are results. Why is the concept that inspires us and inspires those around us. If you want to achieve greatness and make a meaningful impact in the world, start with why.

Whether you are an established clinician in myopia management or just beginning to incorporate myopia management into your practice, it is crucial to ask yourself: what is my why? How you internalize and implement your answer will have a profound effect on how you manage juvenile-onset myopia and how your staff interacts with myopic children and their parents.

The prevalence of myopia is increasing at an alarming rate globally, and it poses a significant threat to eye health worldwide. This pandemic has been linked to a disproportionate increase in high myopia, associated pathology, and vision impairment. It is essential to understand that myopia is not a benign condition. Over one-third of all cases of myopic macular degeneration are observed in individuals with low or moderate myopia. Besides the pathological manifestations, myopia can have adverse effects on the quality of life and can lead to escalating direct and indirect costs. 

The rise in myopia prevalence can be attributed to lifestyle changes over recent decades. With the increase in the use of digital devices and the decreasing amount of time spent outdoors, the incidence of myopia has been rising exponentially. While genetics play a role in the development of myopia, lifestyle factors have been shown to be significant in determining the incidence and progression. 

The rise of myopia prevalence is a significant public health issue that requires immediate attention. The problem affects people of all ages and can lead to significant eye health consequences. Correcting the vision of a young myope with single-vision spectacles or contact lenses is no longer enough, and delaying treatment to see if myopia progresses is of little use. By increasing outdoor time, prescribing specialized contact lenses, spectacles, and pharmaceutical agents, and educating the public on the importance of regular eye exams and eye health, we can slow the progression of myopia and prevent a future where millions of people suffer from vision impairment. 

It is vital to understand your motivation behind myopia management. Whether it is to prevent a future where millions of people suffer from vision impairment or to improve the quality of life of your patients, knowing your why will help you stay focused and inspired. Take the time to reflect on your purpose by asking yourself: what is my why?

Best professional regards,

Dwight H. Akerman, OD, MBA, FAAO, FBCLA, FIACLE
Chief Medical Editor

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