AAOpt 2022: Navigating the 3 Ms in pediatric contact lenses: mom, maturity, and motivation

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Vitto Mena, Jr., OD, MS, shares highlights from his discussion titled, "Contact lenses for kids: concepts and methods for contemporary care," which he co-presented during the 2022 American Academy of Optometry meeting.

Vitto Mena, Jr., OD, MS, sports vision director with Optical Academy and advanced clinical director with Special Olympics, as well as a member of the international sports vision association and the AOA Sports performance vision committee, speaks with Optometry Times®' Kassi Jackson on highlights from his discussion titled, "Contact lenses for kids: concepts and methods for contemporary care," which he co-presented during the 2022 American Academy of Optometry (AAOpt) annual meeting in San Diego.

Editor's note: This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Jackson:

Hi everyone. I'm joined today by Dr. Vitto Mena, sports vision director with Optical Academy and advanced clinical director with Special Olympics, as well as a member of the International Sports Vision Association and the AOA Sports Performance Vision Committee.

He is here to share highlights from his discussion titled, "Contact lenses for kids: concepts and methods for contemporary care," which he is co-presenting with Dr. Susan Resnick during the 2022 American Academy of Optometry meeting held this year in San Diego. Thank you for being here. Dr. Mena.

Mena:

Yeah, for sure. Thanks so much for having me.

Jackson:

Would you please share with us some key takeaways from this presentation?

Mena:

Yeah. So as you mentioned, I'm lecturing with the great Dr. Susan Resnick out of New York, and she's a wealth of information. So we're tag teaming on a lecture with contemporary approach for kids.

And so pretty much the take home message really, again, is age is nothing but a number. And we want to really try to overcome the 3 biggest obstacles and there are 3 Ms.

The 3 biggest obstacles is number 1, mom. Mom says what everything goes, right? You know, you have those helicopter parents sometimes and those Alpha moms, they're the ones that make the decision. So how to overcome those objections at times.

The other one is the maturation and maturity rate for a child. You know, are they really old enough to handle a contact lens? Some can be done a little bit sooner than later.

And then the last one is motivation. So if the kid is actually motivated to wear contact lenses. That's the biggest component, in my opinion, is the motivation factor. Because if the kid wants it, he'll do everything in his power to try to get [the contact lenses] in or out of the eye.

And so, Dr. Resnick is going to chime in a little bit about different types of lenses when it comes to soft lenses, when it comes to ortho-k, [and] rigid gas permeable lenses. And again, we're dealing with the new generation now, before it was Generation Z, now we have Generation Alpha. And with Generation Alpha, that's the 8 and 12 year olds, and now myopia management is becoming a hot topic now. And so we're going to touch upon those things during the lecture.

Jackson:

And why is this so important for optometrists to discuss.

Mena:

So again, the hottest topic was myopia management. And the reason why is because of the pandemic. And even before the pandemic, just when the printing press came out, we're doing a lot of up-close activities, and these prescriptions are rapidly getting higher and higher and higher. And we want to slow this down as much as we can, because every diopter can cause myopic maculopathy, can cause glaucoma, can cause cataracts earlier on, and we want to minimize that as much as we can. And the higher the numbers go, the smaller the world that they live in. And we want to give them the best vision that we possibly can so that their future lives can can be more lively. That's why we want to preach more going outdoors. We want them to be playing sports at a young age so that they're able to interact with others, they have healthier bodies, and overweight and obesity is one of the problems. So just being outside at a young age is crucial.

Jackson:

Yeah, so you kind of touched on it. But what does this mean for patient care, then?

Mena:

Well, it's gonna bring more patients to the office because, again, we got to be tackling it in our school systems with the kids and we got to get them coming in for early exam. So what happened is if we don't have children getting seen early on, what's happening is we're missing a lot of amblyopia. We're missing a lot of other detrimental vision disorders that people can can be having, and binocular vision is one of them. So a lot of times teachers or parents are given ADHD medicines for children when they actually have a vision problem. And so by having them come to the office, diagnosing the right refraction for them is crucial not only for the classroom but for also sports.

Jackson:

Thank you, Dr. Mena, for your time today.