Almost 200 of the world’s leading scientists and clinicians working in the area of myopia development, epidemiology and prevention, converged on Palm Cove in far North Queensland for the 12th International Myopia Conference.
It’s the first time the Conference has been held here with delegates coming from 19 different countries, including North and South America, Europe, Asia and Oceania to hear the latest research findings presented on Myopia.
The Co-Chair of the Organising Committee, Professor Neville McBrien of the Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences, The University of Melbourne, said that from the feedback received from delegates, the meeting was considered a great success from a scientific aspect in new data presented and for the opportunity for leading myopia researchers to meet and discuss the ‘hot issues’ in a collegial and relaxed environment.
The conference, held in July, had 11 themed symposia, where leading scientists were invited to present there latest findings in a total of 60 presentations. In addition three ‘free paper’ session allowed clinicians and more junior scientists to present a further 24 oral presentations.
It’s the first time the Conference has been held here with delegates coming from 19 different countries, including North and South America, Europe, Asia and Oceania to hear the latest research findings presented on Myopia
Plenary Speakers included Professors Terri Young, David Troilo and Josh Wallman from the USA and Associate Professor Ian Morgan from Australia.
Professor McBrien said one of the most exciting findings coming from the conference was the strong evidence supporting the role of outdoor activities as a major inhibitory factor in myopia development in children, with evidence indicating it was more important than the role of near work.
“This work has been led by the group conducting the Sydney Myopia study, and now data from large studies in the USA and Singapore and replicating the importance of outdoor activity. Clearly the fact of the Aussies love of the outdoors may be a compelling reason why myopia prevalence in Australia is lower than other western developed nations in Europe and North America,” Prof. McBrien said.
He said other exciting findings on mechanisms and treatment of myopia reported was on genetic analysis coming from twin studies, from China, U.K. and Australia.
New findings were presented on the role of peripheral vision in the regulation of myopia with a lot of discussion about the potential role of contact lenses with corrected peripheral optical aberrations. Again some of this exciting work is linked to groups working with the Vision CRC in Sydney.
“There is no doubt Australia deserved to host the biennial International Myopia Conference in 2008. There is also no doubt the research groups working in Australia are certainly at the forefront of myopia research and the strong attendance to the meeting from all around the world is tribute to quality of work undertaken in Australia,” said Prof. McBrien.