How Optometrists Help in the Battle Against Myopia

CarmenIn 2005 I started Ortho Keratology – the wearing of contact lenses overnight to flatten the cornea – and produce a myopic defocus – thereby making it possible to control the progression of nearsightedness .

Since it was something novel at that time , patients and even colleagues in the profession raised their eyebrows and questioned the efficacy of Ortho K. Fast forward to 2020, now there is a big noise in the organization and industry in the Philippines preaching about the epidemic of myopia to the community  and how it can be addressed . Even patients have heard about it either on radio, tv, print or social media and have asked their optometrists if they are good candidates.

In 2019, a series of Myopia Management Workshops were held in 8 different cities in the Philippines – we called it the Myopia Management Roadshow. One of the biggest optical chains in the Philippines – Ideal Vision Center – called on us – to educate their 350 Optometrists on the urgency of recognizing the need for myopia management – and control.

Optometrists went as guests in television shows and spoke about the epidemic and how to combat the ill effects of high myopia.

In our practice we have modified our case history form for myopic patients to include the following questions:

  1. When was the first time you wore glasses/or contact lenses?
  2. Are any of your siblings nearsighted like you?
  3. Are any of your children nearsighted like you?
  4. Are any of your parents nearsighted like you?
  5. What was the grade or prescription of your very first glasses/contact lenses?
  6. How much time do you spend outdoors every day?
  7. How much screen time do you spend daily on your computer? Laptop? Mobile?
  8. Do you take any vitamins or food supplements?
  9. When was the last time you had a comprehensive eye exam?
  10. How old are your current glasses/contact lenses?
  11. Any history of retinal detachment in your family?
  12. Any history of glaucoma in your family?
  13. Any history of cataract in your family?
  14. Have you heard about myopia control lenses?

Optometrists are actively doing myopia management through myopia control – they can explain to patients its efficacy and the different ways to manage or control the condition from progressing. In the Philippines, we have just dipped our fingers into myopia management very recently, but I still believe that “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.

Carmen Abesamis-Dichoso, OD, MAT, FIACLE, FPCO, FAAO