Most patients don’t proactively seek treatment, assuming that glasses or contact lenses are sufficient for correcting blurry distance vision.
Myopia management has become a central focus in eye care, dominating discussions at conferences worldwide. This emphasis is well-founded, given projections that predict nearly half of the global population will be myopic by 2050.
Today, we possess the tools and evidence to slow or halt myopia progression in children. Yet, our experience at Treehouse Eyes, operating in over 70 locations dedicated to myopia management, suggests that the clinical aspect is not the greatest challenge. The true hurdles lie in marketing, practice implementation, and effective communication. Practices that master these elements can establish a thriving myopia management specialty.
The reality is that parents often lack awareness of the treatments available to slow or stop their child’s myopia progression. Most don’t proactively seek treatment, assuming that glasses or contact lenses are sufficient for correcting blurry distance vision. Thus, the first step is to create awareness and generate interest in myopia management. This article will focus on two critical components: marketing (for creating awareness) and patient communication (for generating desire and action).
In marketing, two fundamental steps are essential. First, ensure your practice website prominently features myopia management information in a consumer-friendly format. Second, maintain an active presence on social media platforms. These elements help parents find your practice if they are actively seeking myopia treatment and remind them that you offer this service if they aren’t actively searching. Avoid the common mistake of creating a clinical and technical myopia management page on your website. Most parents aren’t interested in the intricate details; they want to know that you can halt their child’s vision deterioration. Think of orthodontists, whose websites emphasise straightening teeth to improve smiles rather than explaining the technical aspects of braces. Additionally, your website should include a clear call to action, typically encouraging visitors to schedule an appointment.
“The true hurdles lie in marketing, practice implementation, and effective communication. Practices that master these elements can establish a thriving myopia management specialty.”
Social media is a trusted source of information today. Your practice should, at minimum, maintain active Facebook and Instagram accounts and post regularly about myopia management. Video content is shown to be five to 10 times more engaging, so consider sharing team videos and, if possible, testimonials from parents with children undergoing treatment. Aim for weekly posts and assign a social media savvy staff member to manage this task.
Once the foundation is in place, it’s marketing that drives consultations. Two marketing investments offer a favourable return on investment if executed correctly:
Pay Per Click (PPC): These ads appear on search engines like Google. Target specific keywords like “myopia management” or “childhood myopia” instead of generic phrases like “eye exam.” Be patient, as optimising your PPC efforts can take two to three months to yield results.
Paid Social: These are paid ads inserted into social media feeds. They allow precise targeting, such as reaching parents aged 30-50 with school-age children within a specific radius of your practice. Collaborate with a marketing agency to craft a simple message, run ads, and continually optimise them.
Both investments can start small and scale over time. Understand that they take time to optimise and generate results, so be patient; these are long-term investments.
Effective communication is vital to spark interest once parents are aware of myopia management. Providing excessive technical details or showing uncertainty during recommendations can quickly blunt interest. Effective communication is needed at several critical points in the patient journey:
Initial Contact: Respond promptly to inquiries with simple, parent-friendly answers. The goal is to secure a consultation, so avoid delving into clinical specifics. Be ready to address basic questions about cost, types of treatment, and insurance coverage.
Pre-Test: Start the education process early. When measuring axial length, explain its significance. Use language like: “Your child’s eye is growing too long from front to back. We measure this, and it’s why they have blurry distance vision.”
Consultation: Communicate risk factors for myopia progression, use tools like the BHVI calculator to project progression, and make a strong treatment recommendation. Parents expect you to be the expert; avoid presenting multiple options. If needed, have a staff member discuss fees.
Follow-Up: Many parents need time to discuss treatment with their partners or families. Develop a clear follow-up process. Ideally, a staff member should reach out to parents who don’t commit to treatment and answer questions. Parents, especially those with busy schedules, may need two- to-three weeks.
Our obligation is to offer treatment to every child at risk of myopic progression. Clinical acumen is essential but insufficient. In this evolving field, practices must plan to raise awareness and generate interest. These are skills that many practices lack, but by partnering with others can accelerate the integration of myopia management into your practice.
About the author
Name: Matt Oerding
Affiliations: Co-founder and CEO, Treehouse Eyes; past Board Chair of Global Myopia Awareness Coalition
Location: Boulder, Colorado, US
Years in industry: 22