May 22, 2023
ROSEMONT, Illinois — On Sunday, May 21, leaders in the eye care field gathered here for the first live THE Myopia Meeting event of the year. THE Myopia Meeting featured four hours of COPE-approved continuing education courses interspersed with clinical reviews from some of the most influential companies and practitioners in the myopia management space.
The Ins and Outs of OrthoK
Following a brief introduction from Review of Myopia Management’s Chief Medical Editor Dwight Akerman, OD, MBA, FAAO, FBCLA, FIACLE, the meeting kicked off with Jennifer Harthan, OD, FAAO, FSLS, and Stephanie Fromstein, OD, FAAO. In their first of two presentations for the day, the pair dove deep into orthokeratology for myopia management, offering attendees a rapid-fire case discussion of the popular treatment method.
There were five primary goals of their presentation: review orthokeratology, discuss when and how to prescribe, review different instrumentation and lens designs that can be utilized for maximizing success, determine suitability of individual patients for custom lens designs. This included information on a recommended follow-up schedule for OrthoK patients, tips for OrthoK consultations, the ideal OrthoK treatment zone, and more.
Then, Drs. Harthan and Fromstein shared real-world examples from their patients who were prescribed OrthoK lenses. The patients ranged in age, gender, family histories, prescriptions, etc., and the doctors shared their thought process behind every step of the process — from consultation, to troubleshooting, to reordering different lenses, and even adopting combination treatments in certain cases.
The session ended with five key takeaways for attendees to bring back to their practices when thinking about OrthoK: optimize (lens design and fit), evaluate (post-treatment topography), review (proper lens care), monitor (axial length), and emphasize (the importance of follow-up care).
More Case Studies: Soft Contact Lenses and Low-Dose Atropine
Drs. Harthan and Fromstein followed up their discussion on OrthoK by turning to two other myopia management treatment options: soft contact lenses and low-dose atropine. This session started with a description of the benefits of both treatments, which patients are the best candidates, the research behind these therapies for myopia management, how they work to slow myopia progression, and the pros and cons of each therapy.
The conversation then shifted to include more real-world data from patients who had been prescribed soft multifocal contact lenses, low-dose atropine, and combination treatments, ranging in age from 8 to 13. The doctors were in agreement that for certain patients, a combined approach may maximize the treatment effect and improve their long-term visual outcomes.
Ultimately, every patient is different, and Drs. Harthan and Fromstein encouraged practitioners to take each patient’s (and their parents’!) unique circumstances into consideration when choosing a treatment modality. And, as always, follow-up care is key!
‘The Answer is Yes: Communication Skills That Boost Patient Acceptance’
Steve Vargo, OD, MBA, shared the next CE course entitled, “The Answer is Yes: Communication Skills That Boost Patient Acceptance.” Dr. Vargo started his presentation by discussing how we make decisions – everything from what we’re going to eat for dinner, to things we’re going to buy, and decisions about our health care.
He explained that curiosity is often the biggest driver for consumers — or patients — to make decisions, and there are five big questions that practitioners should consider when trying to pitch something such as myopia management to patients: How is this affecting you? Can you relate? Are you aware? Does this concern you? What if? Many patients already feel that doctors don’t ask them enough questions, so relating on this personal level can be an effective way to be connected and get more buy-in from patients.
Dr. Vargo concluded his presentation by encouraging attendees to be better communicators, which usually involves becoming better listeners — not necessarily becoming better educators. He left the audience with the knowledge that information conveyed via storytelling sticks with an audience far longer than presenting a simple list of facts with no context.
‘Myopia Management from A to Z’
The final CE course of the day came from Dr. Akerman, who presented “Myopia Management from A to Z.” He started the session with some audience participation, asking attendees which statements presented were true or untrue related to myopia management and the myopia epidemic. The surprise was that they were all true! He then shared information about the growing prevalence of the disease around the world and in the United States.
From there, Dr. Akerman broke down the basics of myopia, defining low myopia, high myopia, and myopia according to the International Myopia Institute. He also explained the importance of starting myopia treatment as early as possible, as the eye health risks are severe the longer that myopia goes untreated and the higher prescriptions get.
Dr. Akerman also discussed the genetic and environmental factors that can impact myopia progression, as well as the risk factors for faster myopia progression and for developing high myopia. The presentation also covered some of the latest myopia research, including the use of centile curves to assess the risk of myopia development and progression, the benefits of utilizing optical biometers to monitor axial length, and creating personalized myopia management treatment plans.
The presentation wrapped up with a discussion on the stabilization of myopia in the young adult years, and when practitioners should anticipate ceasing myopia treatment. Dr. Akerman ended the session with a call to action: “Myopia is the primary eye health threat of the 21st century. Let’s get proactive!”
In his presentation for Johnson & Johnson Vision, Daniel Press, OD, FCOVD, discussed the ways that practitioners can take charge of myopia with ACUVUE Abiliti. He shared details on the company’s OrthoK lens (ACUVUE Abiliti Overnight), including the safety profile and the unique design features, and the ways that practitioners can utilize the FitAbiliti Software to be as successful as possible with OrthoK patients. This includes recommendations for follow-up visits, resources to share with parents, ways to identify good OrthoK candidates, the tutorials available for practitioners, and more.
Then, Andrew Neukirch, OD, presented for CooperVision, explaining the importance of treating myopia as early as possible, and the benefits of utilizing MiSight 1 day contact lenses with myopic patients. As the top prescribing MiSight OD in the country, with more than 350 kids enrolled in a myopia management program, Dr. Neukirch has seen great success with this treatment, and he expressed that the ultimate goal for all practitioners should be to slow down the progression of myopia and help prevent long-term ocular health risks.
Lastly, attendees saw a video from GMAC, featuring insights from new Board Chair Lisa McAlister, Global Myopia Lead at Johnson & Johnson Vision. McAlister shared that GMAC will be kicking off its next myopia awareness campaign — Tech Timeout — in the coming weeks, and the organization plans to “meet parents where they are to drive awareness through the use of social media influencers and media outlets.”
THE Myopia Meeting Conference Speakers and Sponsors Share Event Highlights
To get more insight into the field of myopia management from the leading experts in the field, Review of Myopia Management went straight to the source. Listen to the short interview clips below with speakers and sponsors of THE Myopia Meeting to learn more about the latest myopia management topics.
Stephanie Fromstein, OD, FAAO, and Jennifer Harthan, OD, FAAO, FSLS
Daniel Press, OD, FCOVD
Andrew Neukirch, OD
David Morrison, Regional Sales Director, OCULUS
Steve Vargo, OD, MBA