Simon Jones: It’s good to talk
Author: Simon Jones
It wasn’t too long ago that products used to treat myopia progression in children were referred to as ‘control’ and dispensing such a product would be seen as an ‘intervention’.
As the suite of products in this segment has increased, the language and terminology has gradually softened. For example, myopia is now managed.
Management must go beyond products, though, and include the management of parents. And all that comes with them, such as fear, expectations and sometimes disgruntlement.
But having that initial conversation can be problematic. Do you raise the subject with every parent of a myopic child, and how do you explain untreated myopia without frightening parents?
There are no easy answers, but having more conversations with each other and with parents seems like a good way of at least accelerating things, so the newly-launched #MyopiaChat initiative (News, page 6) is incredibly timely. Better conversations among professional peers and parents is likely to create better conversations among parents, and that’s likely to be the real accelerator of growth, as school gate conversations take in a child’s new specialist contact lenses or new frames with fancy lenses. That will generate conversations from parents back to practitioners and should take the sting out of any awkward conversations about untreated myopia.
Expectations of parents must be managed, though. Myopia management is a burgeoning sector and while there’s a growing portfolio of products and treatments, success won’t be an easy thing to define, especially when parents have just spent £200 on spectacles or a high monthly payment for contact lenses and professional fees. The sector has been burned by overstatement in the not-too-distant past with blue light coatings, so it’s important to avoid making the same mistake with myopia management. Being better at talking about it will prevent that from happening.