Treehouse Eyes, a new company dedicated to managing myopia, announced it is collaborating with eight additional primary care practices across the country.
Co-founder Gary Gerber, OD, said Treehouse Eyes opened its first two flagship centers about 3 years ago in the Washington, D.C., area.
“During that time we validated and optimized our Treehouse Vision System (our patent pending clinical protocol) as well as our unique business model and are now starting our national expansion,” Gerber said in a press release from Treehouse. “By partnering with carefully vetted practices that meet certain predetermined requirements, we will rapidly accelerate myopia management within those practices and will continue our growth across the country and are currently lining up partners outside the U.S.”
The new centers are located in California, Florida, Texas and Michigan.
Matt Oerding, co-founder and CEO of Treehouse Eyes, told Primary Care Optometry News that Gerber regularly fit reverse geometry lenses for overnight wear for correction-free vision during the day when he was in private practice more than 15 years ago. While doing this, he noticed that the children that he fit saw no or limited myopia progression.
As he went on to work in his consulting business, Gerber encouraged doctors to fit these types of lenses, but many struggled with charging appropriately and incorporating the chair time into their full-scope practices, Oerding said. Combining today’s options for slowing myopia progression in children with the practice management need, the two developed a commercial model and clinical advisory board.
“Our plan has always been to offer two models: dedicated centers that just focus on treating myopic children (no optical, no primary care, no adults) and a licensing model where we partner with full scope practices (OD or MD) to help them offer this service as part of their practice via a branded approach,” Oerding told PCON.
He explained that Treehouse’s clinical advisors reviewed more than 400 papers on treating myopia and developed a protocol in flow chart form for the doctor.
“Key variables include ethnicity, age of onset, rate of progression, amount of myopia and genetic factors,” he said. “Currently our protocol includes custom-designed overnight lenses (we call them KIDS lenses for keratometric induced dioptric steepening), custom designed multifocal soft contact lenses and atropine (compounded to the concentration we require and delivered as an eye drop at night.)”
The protocol is flexible and can be updated as new approaches are proven.
Oerding said Treehouse Eyes plans to add 20 more practices next year in the U.S. with a potential launch outside of the U.S. – by Nancy Hemphill, ELS, FAAO
Disclosures: Gerber and Oerding are co-founders of Treehouse Eyes.