A spectacle-based myopia control intervention has closed the loop on treatment options available in OPSM and Laubman & Pank stores. Now, optometrists within the network will be able to access a range of myopia control options for children and share best practice, driven by a newly established Myopia Leaders advisory panel.
Early in her career, Ms Tegan Matheson upskilled in orthokeratology (orthok) that set her up for one of her more memorable moments as an optometrist. One day, a -20.00D mother brought her myopic six-year-old son to an OPSM practice where – over a three-year period – the orthok Matheson prescribed limited his progression to just -0.50D.
“I remember the moment I told the mother that we have options to combat myopia progression, she broke down. It’s moments like these where our expertise can make a meaningful difference for children with myopia that sparked my passion in this field,” she says.
“It’s great we now have the tools to slow myopia progression. Progressive myopia can impact a child’s learning and social development, while increasing their lifetime risk of pathologies including retinal tears, glaucoma, myopic maculopathy and more. For every increase of -1.00D, this increases the lifetime risk of myopia maculopathy by 40% – a staggering statistic that highlights the importance of being proactive with myopia management.”
Another alarming figure is that 50% of the world’s population will be myopic by 2050 – if current trends continue – and that 10% will have high myopia (-5.00D or more). With this in mind, EssilorLuxottica has made myopia management a priority across its global business.
At the local level, this has taken shape in the form of a new Myopia Leaders group, a panel of 22 optometrists across Australia and New Zealand leading the way with myopia management practice across the OPSM and Laubman & Pank network.
Matheson heads the group, in addition to her role as the country eyecare manager for OPSM in New Zealand.
Six years ago, when she started her optometry career with the business, Matheson noticed opportunities in the myopia management space. This became evident when, as an adopter of orthok early in her career, she soon became the go-to optometrist when another practitioner went on leave. Receiving referrals from other optometrists, she sought to train as many colleagues as possible. But what if all optometrists in the network could prescribe an effective myopia management intervention?
This was the premise of the Myopia Leaders group that launched in July 2023. A partnership with CooperVision is supporting the committee that has already held its first meeting in Sydney, featuring global myopia authority and Australian Dr Kate Gifford.
A key domino that needed to fall was the introduction of the Essilor Stellest spectacle lens in October 2022. Prior to this, optometrists in the network could prescribe CooperVision’s MiSight 1 day soft contact lens, orthok (if skilled in this area), atropine eye drops, bifocal or multifocal spectacles for myopia control.
“Now with Stellest, every patient has a myopia control option, and every optometrist can prescribe myopia control. Across the ANZ network, we have therapeutic and non-therapeutic optometrists, as well as varying levels of experience with different treatment modalities, but every optometrist is able to prescribe a pair of spectacles that serves as the traditional optical correction while at the same time controlling for myopia progression.” she says.
“The great thing about Stellest is that it’s very easy to adapt to.”
A top priority for the Myopia Leaders group has been to develop a new framework for best practice myopia management based on the latest evidence. These have been converted into resources to support optometrists in-store, including patient facing educational content and consent forms. These resources have been made available in different languages and will also support a more consistent approach to myopia control across the network.
“The Myopia Leaders group consists of highly engaged optometrists across the EssilorLuxottica network with a strong passion for myopia control. We are also expanding the capability to measure axial length across our network to support our optometrists in monitoring treatment efficacy.”
The greater emphasis on myopia management will allow EssilorLuxottica Retail ANZ to identify knowledge gaps across its network through Stellest prescribing data.
Working alongside ‘myopia celebrities’
Mr Brian Peng only graduated from the UNSW optometry school in 2020 but has already built an impressive resume in the field of myopia.
Peng, who practises primarily at Erina OPSM on the NSW Central Coast and was selected for the Myopia Leaders group, was awarded his university’s prize for a thesis on myopia published in a scientific journal. Upon graduating, he continued this work investigating the relationship between the prevalence of myopia and the amount of green space across different regions globally. He was then invited to the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) conference to present his findings.
As he was signing the contract to begin working at OPSM, he found himself accepting a dual role as a content writer for Dr Kate Gifford’s Myopia Profile platform.
Working alongside Gifford – as well as former International Myopia Institute executive director Dr Monica Jong for his research paper – have fuelled his myopia interest, making him an ideal candidate as a Myopia Leader.
“For me, the Myopia Leaders group is an avenue to collaborate with my peers and share knowledge with optometrists who might not be so confident in the myopia management space, but it’s also a chance to bounce ideas off people more knowledgeable than I am,” he says.
“This communication channel allows us to spread awareness and upskill our network. Often optometrists can find themselves spending a lot of time within their consult room, so being able to explore what lies beyond and connect with other like-minded people has been a great opportunity.
Peng currently prescribes MiSight 1 day, atropine and the most popular option among his patients, Essilor Stellest.
“The familiarity, dual benefit of vision correction and myopia control, and flexible prescription range makes Essilor Stellest an ideal myopia control option that patients understand, and is easy-to-prescribe,” he says.
“From the perspective of a practitioner and researcher, it’s great to see how the evidence is quickly being translated into innovative myopia control options for patients. I love that I can now explain to patients that this is a product designed specifically for myopia control that has been shown to be effective through research. And when there’s more confidence from us as practitioners, that transfers to parents and patients.”
A vested interest
OPSM Castle Towers optometrist Mr Daniel Wong has skin in the game when it comes to myopia. Short-sighted himself (-1.50D and -1.75D), his wife is -10.00D myopia – and they have two children aged two and five.
When starting out in 2011, he discovered many in the industry were prescribing single vision lenses and advising against persistent up-close work. But he took his first step towards myopia management in an orthok workshop in 2013, and since then has been gradually building his practice to offer the full suite of interventions.
As a Myopia Leader member, he’s part of an orthok focus group and is excited to see myopia becoming a key focus for EssilorLuxottica.
“In the past, there might have been an optometrist here-or-there invited to an orthok workshop who would be left on their own to start building this within their practice, leading to different approaches,” he says.
“It’s important that we continue to lift the standard of care for myopic children. The introduction of effective myopia management options that don’t require a great deal of specialised training such as the Essilor Stellest has democratised myopia management. As research in this field continues to evolve, we’re working on creating a unified approach so optometrists within our network can readily provide up to date, evidence-based myopia management