August 1, 2020
By Dwight Akerman, OD, MBA, FAAO, FBCLA
Chief Medical Editor, Review of Myopia Management
The concept of the standard of care is often discussed among eye care professionals, and yet the definition of this term is frequently misunderstood. This is especially true when talking about myopia care for children, since this is an emerging area of clinical practice.
It is important to know how the legal system defines the standard of care and to what standards eye care professionals are being held. The standard of care is typically defined as the level and type of care that a reasonably competent and skilled health care professional, with a similar background and in the same medical community, would have provided under the same or similar circumstances.
In other words, the critical question in a medical malpractice case is, “Would a similarly skilled health care professional have provided the same treatment under the same, or similar, circumstances?” Clinical practice guidelines, i.e., preferred practice patterns from reputable organizations such as the International Myopia Institute and the American Academy of Ophthalmology, are being used more frequently in court cases as support for the standard of care.
What would be the minimum standard of care in the management of a 10-year-old child presenting with -1.00D of myopia? For example:
Since myopia management is quickly evolving, it is difficult to definitively say what the standard of care for myopic children is in your community. However, with many evidence-based treatments available, at a minimum, eye care professionals have an ethical responsibility to discuss myopia management options with all parents of children at risk for progressive myopia and prescribe the most appropriate care.
Best professional regards,
Dwight H. Akerman, OD, MBA, FAAO, FBCLA
Chief Medical Editor