Such is the prevalence of myopia nowadays that it might be easy to dismiss it as a ‘modern disease;’ an unavoidable by-product of life in the internet age. But to do so would be to condemn millions of people to a lifetime of declining eye health and potential blindness in older age.
The fact is that whilst for some a measure of myopia may be unavoidable, for others a combination of early interventions and adopting a healthier lifestyle could help to either delay the onset or reduce the impact of myopia. With that in mind the
World Council of Optometry (WCO) has issued a challenge to optometrists worldwide to adopt a myopia management standard of care.
The myopia management standard of care was originally launched by the WCO in 2021. This latest challenge to optometrists to pledge to adopt the standard has been issued by WCO President-elect Dr Sandra Block. As well as highlighting the importance of early myopia diagnosis and management, Dr Block commented that
“taking the pledge sends a clear message that organisations and practitioners understand the seriousness of myopia as a public health threat and that they are taking active measures to manage that threat.”
At the time of writing pledges have been made by over twenty-five thousand individuals and more than fifty organisations.
The myopia management standard of care covers three basic areas; mitigation, measurement, and management. The first, mitigation, looks for optometrists to provide appropriate counselling and advice to parents and others in order to help them to make appropriate lifestyle choices for themselves and their children. These might include building an understanding of the importance of managing both near vision time and distance and ensuring plenty of time is spent outdoors can help with myopia mitigation.
The second plank of the standard of care pledge requires optometrists to work with parents and others to ensure that regular eye examinations take place. This will help to identify when additional interventions may be required in order to slow down the progress of the myopia.
This leads us on to the third element of the myopia pledge, management. Doing nothing is not an option as it has been shown to lead to a greater deterioration in vision than might otherwise be the case. With a range of options available from vision corrective lenses to active management plans, the more that myopia can be managed in childhood, the better the chance that severe complications may not arise in later life.
If you're a parent whose child has been diagnosed with myopia or if they are struggling with their distance vision, we hope you found MyopiaFocus helpful. Please join our community or sign our petition to get the government and NHS to recognise myopia as an ocular disease/severe ocular condition and fund myopia management for children.