LAS VEGAS – “This category is about to explode, and you are so lucky to be at the forefront of myopia management,” Dr. Dwight Akerman, Chief Medical Editor of Review of Myopia Management told the Treehouse Eyes practitioners gathered for T.H.E. Summit held at Caesars during Vision Expo West.
As part of a panel consisting of leaders in the field of myopia management, Dr. Akerman shared his predictions for the category and credited Treehouse Eyes’ optometrists with having “first mover advantage.”
“Myopia management will be a $5 billion category, and by my estimates, there will be seven new FDA-approved interventions in three to four years, two of which have already received FDA fast track designation,” he said. However, “stay hungry,” he warned, “because you won’t have first mover advantage forever.”
The next panelist, Johnson & Johnson Vision’s Lisa McAlister, started with the why. “You are changing children’s eyes, for today and for the future. What we believe at J&J is every child matters.” She referenced the recent International Myopia Conference in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, as illustrative of the “incredible momentum in the space.” Still, there is much work to be done with 645 million myopic children in the world but only 2.3 million in treatment, according to McAlister.
One way she addresses this need is by sitting on the board of the Global Myopia Awareness Coalition, an organization of companies in the field devoted to raising consumer awareness around myopia management. “We are coming together as an industry. The new treatments are critical, and we are committed to making myopia management the standard of treatment.”
Michael Rowe of Eyenovia followed with a description of a “new way to treat myopia,” the Optejet, which his company is working with Bausch Health to develop. The device, which he later demonstrated for the group, enables patients to deliver a pre-measured low dose of atropine while also monitoring compliance for their doctor. It’s important that treatments “be designed in a way that people can actually use them.” He also predicted that treatments “will be in combination, and you are the front line to determine what that combination would be.”
The final panelist of T.H.E. Summit’s first morning session, Hoya’s Warren Modlin, agreed with Dr. Akerman that “we are seeing the commercial side of myopia management take off,” he said, adding, “We are coming into a very commercial and competitive environment.” While “Hoya does have a lens in FDA trials and available in Canada and in 22 other countries,” Modlin described the Treehouse Eyes group in attendance as “mentors to the heroes on the journey” of delivering myopia management to patients. “You are part of a journey and a staged experience,” he said. “The chains will not be on that journey. They are just selling a product.”