August marks the beginning of a new school year, and it only makes sense for us to dub it the National Eye Exam Month! I know, you heard it many times already, but it’s never enough to bring awareness even among us, the eyecare professionals, of the importance of the eye exam especially in the school-age population. As back-to-school season gets underway, now is the time to get parents to schedule their child’s comprehensive eye exam. It is a fact well known that children with uncorrected vision conditions or eye health problems face many barriers in life, developmentally, academically, and socially. And what’s becoming even more worrisome now is the effect of the pandemic on children’s eyes as remote learning and increased screen time was ‘the norm’ since 2020. Researchers around the world are closely watching for a potential ripple effect of the COVID-19 pandemic as un uptick in vision problems in children. Myopia is one of those concerning conditions. In a Jama Ophthalmology article in January 2021, it was noted that “home confinement during the COVID-19 pandemic appeared to be associated with a myopic shift for children aged 6-8 years…increasing myopia prevalence up to 3 times” (Jama Ophtalmol. “Progression of myopia in school-aged children after Covid-19 home confinement”, January 14, 2021).
This statistic alone compelled me more than ever this year to promote children’s eye comprehensive examination as the new school year starts! And I hope you will do the same! The American Optometric Association has many resources helping us to educate the community on this topic. Check out their website here Children’s Vision | AOA to see how you can make it really easy to incorporate it into your practices without even speaking a word, but just with digital and/or printed content that can easily be displayed in your waiting rooms. Let’s be the best eyecare professionals out there and prevent unnecessary blindness!
On another note, I am not sure how many of you know, but COA together with AOA launched this summer, more exactly on July 1st, a membership pilot program that will test flat dues for new incoming members. After some surveys performed by COA, it was learned that the cost was the main barrier to membership, and they want to test if this is really true. Hence the pilot program. It will run from July 1st to December 31st, 2022. The COA’s pilot marketing campaign is “We’re Stronger Together”, and the main goal is to increase CA’s market share! It will also track indicators in the areas of recruitment, retention, engagement, and satisfaction. Marketing materials went out already to non-members, and there are some benefits for current members that attract new members under this pilot program! If you want more information about this, don’t hesitate to write to us at email@example.com!
Please note that our next LIVE event is Sunday, August 21st, for our first 5-hr CE in over two years! You can still register here SDCOS 5-Hour IN-PERSON August 21, 2022 – Diego County Optometric Society. The Sponsors are also eager to reconnect with the optometric community, so I hope I see lots of you on Sunday the 21st!
Enjoy the rest of the summer season!