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Australians leave mark on international myopia white paper series

03/04/2019By Myles Hume
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Two Australian myopia experts have been influential figures in the publication of a series of eight white paper reports by the International Myopia Institute (IMI).

Australian expatriate Professor Christine Wildsoet, from the University of California at Berkeley, and Brisbane optometrist Dr Kate Gifford led two of the eight committees tasked with authoring the new IMI series, which features in a special edition of the Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science journal and is now freely available for download online.

Drawing on the knowledge of 86 global myopia experts, the papers have summarised evidence from hundreds of reports and peer-reviewed studies to provide eyecare professionals, researchers, industry and policymakers with the most up-to-date guidance in addressing the myopia epidemic.

Wildsoet’s committee investigated interventions for myopia onset and progression, while Gifford’s team compiled a clinical management guidelines report. The papers are categorised into several groups: defining and classifying myopia, potential clinical trials and instrumentation, industry guidelines and ethical considerations, experimental models of emmetropization and myopia, and genetics of the condition.

According to the IMI – established in 2015 by the Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI) following a Global Scientific Meeting on Myopia hosted with the World Health Organization – the published articles summarise the current knowledge in the field and demonstrate trends for future developments.

It is also hoped the findings may form a basis for further research, bridge gaps, and connect members of the myopia community who had not previously exchanged opinions, information and ideas.

The IMI initiative was chaired by Professor Earl Smith and Professor James Wolffsohn, and facilitated by Dr Monica Jong. They were previewed at a special session at the American Academy of Optometry meeting in November 2018.

The publication costs were supported by donations from the BHVI, Carl Zeiss Vision, CooperVision, Essilor, Alcon, and Vision Impact Institute.

IMAGE CAPTION: From left to right, International Myopia Institute committee leaders Professor Earl Smith III, expat Australian Professor Christine Wildsoet, Professor David Troilo, Mr Ian Flitcroft, Brisbane optometrist Dr Kate Gifford and Professor James Wolffsohn.

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