Tina Douroudian, OD, with MyEyeDr. in Leesburg, Virginia, has her eyes set on her goal for 2022: doubling the number of children for whom she provides myopia management care.. When Dr. Douroudian took over as the OD for this practice, no patients under 8 were being scheduled. But she has a passion for and experience with pediatric patients, so she hopes to not only admit more children into the practice but also help spread the word that myopia can and should be controlled.
“There are options that are available to help children not have progressively higher prescriptions and risks. Knowing that these options exist and not acting on them doesn’t fit in line with our optometric oath,” she says.
Dr. Douroudian notes that while some practices that specialize in myopia management are costly, part of her goal is to provide that same quality of care to everyone, regardless of price. “Myopia control should be the standard of care, so that means for all.” She is pleased that she is able to tap into some of the “OneTogether Family Fund,” created by MyEyeDr. initially to support employees during the pandemic. The fund is now being extended to help patients who aren’t able to cover all of the fees for services, including myopia control.
Dr. Douroudian discusses all of her treatment options for patients: atropine, soft multifocal contact lenses and orthokeratology. She and the families make their treatment choices based on which is the best fit for their specific needs, budgets and ability to stay with the treatment program. Many of her parents of young children select atropine drops because it is relatively easy and also the least expensive option.
SETTING NEW GOALS
Undertaking the task of doubling the amount of patients treated is an ambitious goal, which Dr. Douroudian breaks down into manageable and measurable timeframes. She and her staff review how many time slots are available for myopia consultations and how well they’re being used. She is reaching out to other providers in the region, some of whom may understand the rationale behind proactive myopia management but aren’t offering those services.
Parents who are referred to her tend to agree to start treatment right away. Because another provider referred them, they’re already in the mindset that there may be something more they can do for their child’s progressive myopia. “Nearly three-quarters of those patients tend to initiate treatment the day of the consult,” she says.
When children see her as their first provider, or for those returning for a routine eye exam, she often sets up a consultation with the family to review the risks of progressive myopia. She notes that it’s helpful to have both parents there, if possible, so that they have a chance to hear the same message and have all their questions answered. Parents who are themselves myopic may understand the conversation a little more quickly, but she has packets of information prepared to send home with them so that they can spend a little more time reading about myopia and its risks. “There really is no safe level of myopia,” she says. She is particularly keen to start treatment with any child under 10 who has myopia or those over age 10 whose myopia is progressing.
Dr. Douroudian says that she appreciates the support that MyEyeDr. has given her since joining the organization in 2019. She is developing a pediatric curriculum for the 1,200 doctors in the network, and the company has supported her myopia management outreach, too.
Find Dr. Douroudian on Instagram @idoctortina.
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