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Ophthalmology, Health care sciences and services
Treatments for myopia progression are now available, but implementing these into clinical practice will place a burden on the eye care workforce. This study estimated the full-time equivalent (FTE) workforce required to implement myopia control treatments in the UK and Ireland.
To estimate the number of 6- to 21-year-olds with myopia, two models utilising separate data sources were developed. The examination-based model used: (1) the number of primary care eye examinations conducted annually and (2) the proportion of these that are for myopic young people. The prevalence-based model used epidemiological data on the age-specific prevalence of myopia. The proportion of myopic young people progressing ≥0.25 dioptres (D)/year or ≥0.50 D/year was obtained from Irish electronic health records and the recommended review schedule from clinical management guidelines.
Using the examination and prevalence models, respectively, the estimated number of young people with myopia was 2,469,943 and 2,235,713. The extra workforce required to provide comprehensive myopia management for this target population was estimated at 226–317 FTE at the 0.50 D/year threshold and 433–630 FTE at the 0.25 D/year threshold. Extra visits required for myopia control treatment represented approximately 2.6% of current primary eye care examinations versus 13.6% of hospital examinations.
Implementing new myopia control treatments in primary care settings over the medium-term is unlikely to overwhelm the eye care workforce completely. Further increases to workforce, upskilling of current workforce and tools to reduce chair time will help to ensure sustainability of the eye care workforce into the future.
Lingham, G, Loughman, J, Kuzmenko, S, Biba, M, Flitcroft, DI. Will treating progressive myopia overwhelm the eye care workforce? A workforce modelling study. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 2022; 00: 1– 11. DOI: 10.1111/opo.13019