Essilor asserts its continued fight against myopia at 22nd Asia Pacific Optometry Congress in Manila
Acknowledging the importance of Essilor’s powerful mission of improving lives by improving sight, the Congress dedicated one whole day to discuss ways for eye care professionals to better manage childhood myopia. This was the first time that a myopia management symposium of this scale was held in the Philippines. The four-day Congress hosted by the Asia-Pacific Council of Optometry and the Optometric Association of the Philippines, brought together 28 renowned speakers from over 22 countries to explore the latest advances in optometry. During the myopia symposium, some of the industry’s top eyecare professionals with myopia expertise shared their experiences and best practices in managing their patients’ myopia progression with different solutions available today. The prevalence of myopia is increasing at an alarming rate. As of today, more than two billion individuals are diagnosed with myopia. By 2050, five billion or half the world will be affected by myopia and nearly one billion will suffer from high myopia. Myopia, also called near-sightedness or short-sightedness, is a vision condition in which people find it difficult to see distant objects clearly. High myopia (-5.0D or more) is associated with a higher risk of serious eye conditions such as glaucoma, cataract, retinal detachment and myopic macular degeneration (MMD)—which can even lead to vision impairment or blindness later in life. However, when detected early, myopia can be managed with the right solutions, substantially reducing these risks. Myopia impacts not only individuals but also communities and nations. It may impact learning and development – as 1 in 3 children can’t see the blackboard (or whiteboard) clearly, affecting their academic performance. It also affects socio-economic development – the global direct cost for lost productivity due to vision impairment from myopia is estimated at $392 billion. Children and myopia A major cause for concern is that more children are getting myopia at younger ages than before, particularly in Asia, where studies suggest rapid increases in the prevalence of childhood myopia, affecting 80 to 90 percent of young people in some major cities. Even in the Philippines, myopia prevalence (-0.50D or more) has been steadily increasing each decade, with nearly 40% of the overall population currently being myopic, predicted to increase to nearly 50% by 2030 and 60% by 2050. Despite the magnitude of this challenge, the science of myopia is still young and awareness of the long-term adverse effects of myopia is low. A recent Essilor survey has shown that only five to six percent of parents in the United States and China are aware of any form of solutions to manage myopia. This growing prevalence among children has been associated with factors such as increased near work activities and less outdoor time, which are consequences of rising educational pressures and urbanization. The Department of Health (DOH) has issued an alarm on the rising number of children in developed cities like Metro Manila and Cebu who are suffering from myopia, mostly rooted from their constant use of electronic gadgets. DOH Undersecretary Eric Domingo noted that the gadgets are being served as “babysitters” to the children to keep them occupied.
Essilor also recently pledged its support for the publication of eight highly-anticipated white papers by International Myopia Institute, which cover a range of topics deemed essential to advancing clinical knowledge and practice relating to stemming the expanding impact of myopia. Last year, Essilor rallied the eyecare professional community in Asia by supporting the first-ever National Myopia Convention in Singapore and Global Orthokeratology and Myopia Control Conference (GOMCC), the first conference in Malaysia to focus on myopia management. In the Philippines, Essilor has engaged all optical clinics nationwide to provide information on myopia management and Myopilux.