Eyecare professionals are being urged to remain abreast of the most current myopia management methods as Australian not-for-profit the Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI) relaunches Myopia Awareness Week, starting Monday.
The global initiative has the support of the World Council of Optometry (WCO) and aims to bring attention to the worsening myopia epidemic in children across the world.
Also known as nearsightedness, myopia is among the most common ocular disorders worldwide and is a leading cause of visual impairment in children. Studies have predicted its global prevalence will rise from 28% of the world’s population, or two billion people in 2010, to 50%, or five billion people, in 2050.
“Vision impairment due to uncorrected myopia and myopia related complication is on the rise and expected to increase further,” Professor Padmaja Sankaridurg, head of BHVI’s Myopia Program, said.
“It has never been more important to spread the word and make sure parents and children are informed, so that they can make healthy vision decisions.”
This year, Myopia Awareness Week will run from Monday 24 May to Friday 28 May. BHVI will be providing educational resources for practitioners, parents and advocates of myopia awareness, as well as content for social media, to help drive awareness.
BHVI CEO Ms Yvette Waddell said there was much happening in research, product development and professional education to meet the myopia challenge, but it’s critical to engage those at the front-lines – eyecare practitioners (ECPs) – to ensure they have the understanding and tools to protect children’s futures.
The WCO and Global Myopia Awareness Coalition (GMAC) are also backing the awareness campaign.
“Myopia is arguably the most widespread epidemic faced by the global optometry community and we must increase our efforts to combat this public health issue,” WCO president Mr Paul Folkesson said.
GMAC board of directors chair Dr Juan Carlos Aragón added: “We are calling on eye care professionals to take action. We encourage ECPs to learn about the most up-to-date management methods and communicate these methods to colleagues, other healthcare professionals, myopic children and their parents, and the wider consumer community.”
BHVI’s campaign resources can be found here.