It’s been a whirlwind of a week since 100% Optical in London. I was so busy at the event and immediately afterwards that it is hard to believe that the event only took place a week ago.
The event seemed to be better attended than in recent years, perhaps for obvious reasons. Covid has changed so many things, including, in fact, the rate of progression of myopia; something we’ve discussed on this website before.
Certainly, Myopia Management (MM) was the key topic at the event. A very large proportion of the CPD (continuing professional development) lectures and workshops at the conference were centred on Myopia.
I was lucky enough to be asked to do six talks this year and three of them were on myopia and the others revolved around OCT (optical coherence tomography).
Optometrists and other eye care professionals are coming to grips with the new approach to what was once considered simply a ‘refractive error’ that needed correction with glasses or contact lenses.
Now, of course, myopia is considered a potentially sight-threatening eye condition that has many potential causative factors and can be slowed effectively by a range of varied therapies.
However, it is also understood that there is much more to be learnt about the condition and how best to try and slow its progress.
One extremely interesting stand at the show was that of the new Myproclear device, which uses red light therapy to slow the elongation of the eyeball, which takes place in axial myopia. Axial myopia is the most common form of myopia, and it is this specific condition that leads to eyeball ‘stretching’ (increasing axial length) and associated damage from that.
The studies presented with the device show extremely high levels of efficacy at slowing or even halting axial length growth.
However, there is not enough evidence yet to fully understand how effective this treatment is, nor enough long-term studies to be sure of any potential side effects from what is very bright light.
One major theme that came across at 100% Optical is that patients and their parents are still very much unaware of myopia and its significance.
MyopiaFocus.org exists to try and educate the public about this very real and important eye condition and how best to approach its management.
It would be fantastic if anyone currently using the site could do all they can to share our blogs and posts on social media whenever and wherever possible. We want to make as much of a positive impact as we can, but we have limited resources, so full-scale public advertising and marketing are not an option. With your help, parents, children and perhaps teachers could become more aware and enlightened about myopia, its risks, and the ways it can be slowed or even prevented.
100% Optical 2023 made it very clear where the profession considers the future and myopia management is not going away anytime soon, because myopia is not going away! It is predicted that as many as 50% of the World’s population will be myopic by 2050 and up to one billion people will be high myopes. This means that a very large proportion of the population will be at significantly higher risk of many sight-threatening eye conditions in their lives. We want to do all we can to try and reduce these risks and the numbers suffering from myopia.
If you’re a parent, ask your optometrist about myopia and the options for helping to slow its progress. To find a practice that offers myopia management check out our website.