International forum releases myopia report, recognises Brien Holden

Dr Silvio Mariotti from WHO’s blindness prevention and deafness department presented the report during a special myopia session at the 10th General Assbly of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). The conference was hosted from 27-30 October in Durban, South Africa, and discussed a range of public health topics relating to blindness and visual impairment.The report, entitled The Impact of Myopia and High Myopia, captured the evidence presented during a joint meeting between WHO and BHVI that was held in Sydney in March 2015.The report includes information on the magnitude of myopia, vision impairment and blindness in myopia, terminology and classification, pathological consequences, the impact on society, aetiology, risk factors, and evidence for myopia control.It also identifies gaps in current knowledge, and makes recommendations to address the gaps with the aim to better inform clinical practice and public health policy.The WHO-BHVI meeting was an initiative of the then Federal Minister for Health Mr Peter Dutton. Experts in myopia representing each WHO region attended and contributed to the final report.The late BHVI founder Professor Brien Holden was among the meeting’s chairs and during the 10th General Assbly’s opening cerony, he was posthumously recognised as an extraordinary champion for eye health and optometry services worldwide in being awarded the IAPB Lifetime Achievent award. Brien Holden cared deeply for eye health, especially where it was most needed, IAPB director of development and communications Ms Joanna Conlon commented.According to the BHVI, Prof Holden’s contributions extended across research, education, public health and social enterprise. He generated more than $1.3 billion in research, education and humanitarian funds and was described by Prof Earl Smith at the award of his Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters at the University of Houston as the most influential optometrist of our generation .The IAPB award is the latest in a host of national and international awards and honours that recognise Prof Holden’s efforts, including an Order of Australia Medal for his work in eye health and vision science, the Schwab Social Entrepreneur Award for Africa 2010 at the regional World Economic Forum, the Charles F Prentice Medal, and seven honorary doctorates from universities in Canada, South Africa, UK and the US.The full WHO myopia report is available via

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