The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) has released a position statement on myopia management, highlighting the importance of early intervention to reduce the progression of myopia and decrease the likelihood of children developing the blinding complications of severe myopia.
Research shows that up to one in 20 primary school aged children have either myopia or hyperopia, highlighting these refractive errors as a significant public health issue. Additionally, there is evidence that myopia is becoming more common in younger children.
The College highlights the need for an integrated patient-centred approach to myopia control management
Screening at Four Years
Because children may not always report difficulty seeing in the distance, RANZCO recommends an eye examination at four years-of-age to screen for myopia and other eye disorders.
RANZCO states, “A vision check with a general practitioner, optometrist, school screening team, orthoptist or ophthalmologist can determine if myopia is present.”
The College highlights the need for an integrated patient-centred approach to myopia control management.
“Ophthalmologists work closely with optometrists and orthoptists to monitor and manage myopia. This is especially important if children have severe myopia, which can be associated with a range of other eye diseases and is important to exclude other conditions like keratoconus, which can mimic myopia.”
“With improved accessibility of monitoring tools and the advent of intervention strategies for myopia progression in children, the practitioner can now take an active role. Co-management, collaborating with optometrists and orthoptists for ongoing care is considered the best-practice approach. However, expert consensus highlights the importance of involving an ophthalmologist.”
Minimise Risks and Progression
To minimise the risk of children developing myopia, RANZCO recommends children spend at least two to three sun protected hours outdoors, per day. Outdoor time also affords children time away from close range reading, with evidence suggesting prolonged study times indoors without eye breaks can be a contributing factor to myopia.
To slow progression in children with myopia, RANZCO recommends glasses that allow images in the distance to become focused. Drops can be prescribed to slow progression and reduce the risk of developing severe myopia and its blinding complications.
The statement recommends managing adulthood myopia using contact lenses, refractive laser surgery, implantable contact lenses and lens exchange surgery, especially for people who have distortions from their glasses or want to undertake activities not conducive to wearing glasses.
Read the statement here.