The World Council of Optometry (WCO) and CooperVision hope to establish a global, standardised approach to myopia management, having released an easy to use, multilingual resource that is available online.
Paul Folkesson, President, WCO, told mivision that myopia management is practised very differently around the world, depending to a large degree on treatment availability and the financial resources of the population in question.
…let individual eye care practitioners decide, based on what their profession is and what their legislative bodies allow, what is appropriate for their patients
“The goal of WCO is to share what we, as an optometric community, know about myopia management and to move optometry away from solely focusing on myopia correction to also include myopia management, and thus let individual eye care practitioners decide, based on what their profession is and what their legislative bodies allow, what is appropriate for their patients,” he said.
Acknowledging the critical nature of several other eye conditions around the world, Mr Folkesson said WCO is currently working on other similar initiatives aimed at relieving the burden of disease.
However, he said myopia management has taken top priority due to its “alarming” rise in prevalence and the consequences of anticipated later-in-life changes.
“In 2019, the World Health Organization released the World Report on Vision (WRV). The report placed an emphasis on the two most prevalent causes of visual impairment globally that are also preventable; specifically refractive error and cataract. The WRV supported this emphasis with previously published data showing that myopia is expected to reach epidemic proportions.
“Knowing that myopia is an emerging problem, and that we, as optometrists, have the expertise and skills to help address the problems, along with the exciting new research being published, we decided that we needed to initiate a campaign to focus on myopia,” said Mr Folkesson.
The myopia online resource provides information that has not been easily accessible and a forum to encourage the exchange of knowledge and experiences within the global optometric community. The site is organised around the three main pillars of the evidencebased standard of care, unanimously adopted by the WCO Board of Directors; mitigation, measurement and management.
Each pillar provides a listing of papers and studies that have been distilled into one-page ‘Myopia Moments’, available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. Visitors to the site can download a Myopia Moment – giving them evidence-based guidance about providing care to a patient – or they can learn more by accessing the many papers and studies that have been aggregated from independent third-party sources.
PURSUIT OF A MISSION
“The World Council of Optometry’s mission is to facilitate the development of optometry around the world and support optometrists in promoting eye health and vision care as a human right through advocacy, education policy development and humanitarian outreach,” said Mr Folkesson. “There is no better example of the WCO carrying out this mission than our effort to address the childhood epidemic of myopia.
“We are actually seeing the prevalence of myopia increasing at an alarming rate. Along with the increase in myopia we are expecting to see the associated later-in-life changes attributed to myopia leading to further visual impairment. The eye health problems include cataract, retinal detachment, myopic maculopathy, glaucoma, and optic neuropathy, demonstrating that the myopia pandemic is causing an increasing burden on individual quality of life and a rise in healthcare expenditure to both individuals and healthcare systems worldwide.
“The profession of optometry has traditionally addressed uncorrected refractive errors, and specifically myopia, by correcting with spectacles or contact lenses; however, active management of myopia is critical to minimising the risk of irreversible visual impairment from myopiarelated ocular pathologies.
“At the time that the WCO resolution on myopia was written, there was a lack of an established standard of care in myopia management which was a disservice to the optometric profession, our patients, and public health. WCO acknowledges the critical nature of several other eye conditions around the world and is currently working on other similar initiatives, also with the aim to establish a standard of care, and thus relieve the burden of disease.”
Mr Folkesson called on eye care professionals to embrace the support, resources and platform WCO is providing, so that they can start implementing a standard of care in their practices to treat this condition. Visit: myopia.worldcouncilofoptometry.info.