Myopia Guide: Family communication

Bill Harvey highlights resources for introducing myopia management to at-risk patients

Most readers will be more than aware that there is a solid body of evidence showing how a number of interventions, such as the use of specially designed contact lenses, spectacle lenses, cycloplegic agents and corneal remodelling, are able to slow down the progression of myopia. Importantly, this slowing down means so much more than just the opportunity to let paediatric patients (and their parents) know that there will be less need for stronger spectacles as they grow. The association of myopia with a whole raft of potentially sight threatening conditions, such as maculopathy and glaucoma, means that there are quantifiable long-term benefits for every dioptre of myopia averted.

Being aware of the theory is one thing, taking the first step to put it into practice, however, is another. Obvious pitfalls include the potential for overstating the benefits of myopia management. An eye care professional (ECP) may carefully explain how therapy may reduce the gradual progression of myopia over many years; worried myopic parents may instead hear how spectacles might not be needed by their child who will ‘be cured’ and so will not have to suffer the inconveniences they have had to. The ECP may carefully explain how, by limiting the myopia progression, the risk of developing many of the common age-related causes of sight loss, for which myopia is a risk factor but to which most of us succumb to with age, will be reduced; worried parents will hear how their child will not develop maculopathy, detachment, glaucoma or cataract.

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