Be positive, Jake.  Say nice things to your darling readers, today.  Deep breath! 

So there’s the Brien Holden Instiute, which for those of you not keeping track is another one of these organizations who “develop innovative vision correction products for the treatment of the most common eye conditions.”  (according to their own Website)

You see where this is going, I bet.  

Brien Holden’s CEO, Kovin Naidoo recently expressed his concern (?) about the growing myopia epidemic:

“Addressing a full theatre as keynote speaker at 100% Optical, CEO of the Brien Holden Vision Institute, Professor Naidoo, highlighted the growing issue of myopia globally.

“There are two billion myopes in the world right now, but by 2050 there will be five billion,” he warned, adding: “That represents 50% of the world’s population.”

Identifying myopia as the “likely biggest future public health challenge that the profession of optometry has ever faced,” Professor Naidoo discussed the growing global prevalence of the condition, as well as the interventions that are available and how myopia can be addressed by the profession.”

Meh, source.

Thing is, Naidoo is in charge of this “institute”, which is developing products.  Products that are licensed and sold, for which more demand is created exactly by the increasing prevalence of myopia.  What are the odds that the people listening to this guy’s speech are counting the money in their heads, the increase in customers they can expect?

Now Despina might say, hey Jake.  Not everybody is licking their chops, looking at the myopia numbers exploding.  Some actually would love to help people.

Fair enough.

So I reached out to the Brien Holden Institute.  Science, explaining the progression of myopia, from pseudo myopia to progressive, lens induced myopia.  Science, discussing eye growth.  I invited them to look at progress reports of literally hundreds of natural myopia control participants, most recently including our contributing optometrist’s experience.  An extensive site discussing the topic, even a notable social media following (more than can be said of Brien Holden).  

All out there, on a platter.  Science, causes, and a way out of myopia, for those concerned licensed professionals to explore.

You know what I got back?

cricketsyo

Yea that’s right.  A whole buncha nothin’.

So excuse me while I go over in this corner over here and swear for a moment … you bunch of hypocritical [email protected]^##$#[email protected]  Looking all smugly concerned at your filled up gatherings, feeling oh so terrible about the myopia.  Hey you know what?  Make sure you bring your kids in for those optometrist checkups!  

And before you say that I”m just too jaded and cranky:

brien-holden-institute-hypocrites

Great plan, Kov.

You know what you’ll get, if you take that advice?  That’s right, minus prescription lenses after a 10 minute “exam” (call it what it is, a lens sales consult), zero optometrist education about causes, prevention, and consequences of putting minus in front of a child’s developing eyes.  Is the optometrist going to ask one single, solitary question about the child’s close-up habits?  

I dare you, go find one who does.  

Is the optometrist going to say, hey, there is some risk that minus lens wear could increase myopia.  Is he/she?  Is the optometrist going to discuss how using minus lenses where they aren’t needed (close-up) has shown to create hyperopic defocus, which a lot of supporting science suggests to cause axial elongation?

But let’s not make this just another rant piece.  Let’s consider meaningful opportunities.  Let’s look at the upside of natural myopia control, for the optometry professional.  Because it is a business, and we can support that!

Hey Brien Holden.  Natural myopia control can sell lots of product for your optometrists.

Let’s look at some more of the business benefits in a little detail.

  1. You get a competitive differentiator (and I’ll gladly license you the Steiner Method, just ask).  Instead of just selling lenses, you’re now actually helping your clients look at their eyesight health, and make informed choices.  
  2. You’ll sell way, way more lenses than you would by traditional, old-timey, cause-and-consequence-ignoring “treatment” methods.  Giving up on the 16th century single prescription paradigm means lenses for distance, and for close-up, and new lenses 3-4 times a year, as the participant reduces their myopia.  
  3. Did I say, way more lenses?  So many lenses!
  4. Sell other merchandise!  You can sell eye charts, you can make catchy t-shirts,  you can sell test lens kits, you can sell log books, you can sell break time reminder timers.  The sky is the limit.  Be creative!
  5. Great PR, be the good guys.  Hey, you’re actually really working on reducing the myopia epidemic.  Customers will be banging down your door, you’ll be building relationships, the community will love you.  And you’re making money, too!

Compare that list of benefits, to the traditional, old-timey optometrist shop business plan.  Selling lenses, and shrugging when they come back next year, wondering why they need stronger lenses.  That’s not really a forward looking business.  That’s the sort of old-timey business that’s just begging to be made obsolete by something more forward looking, and inclusive of patient needs.

Right?  Right.  So, dear Brien Holden Institute.  Whenever you’re ready to get on board of future-train, rather than stand around and watch others take that leap, you know where to find us.

Cheer,

-Jake