Authorities on the topic gathered in Texas.

(Press Release) SAN ANTONIO, TX — A panel of global authorities in myopia management gathered in Texas on the eve of the American Academy of Optometry (AAOptom) Annual Meeting seeking ways to help eyecare professionals better assess and manage the growing epidemic among children.

The Myopia Management Expert Forum was conceived by CooperVision, which hosted the series of lectures, guided discussions and professional networking sessions.

“Much like we have seen at other major academic and clinical conferences over the past year, raising awareness of and more effectively addressing childhood myopia will be one of the most deliberated issues in San Antonio this week,” said Stuart Cockerill, senior director, myopia management at CooperVision. “By bringing some of the world’s foremost experts together in a unique educational setting, we made further progress in finding ways to deliver practical myopia management advice to eye care professionals (ECPs).”

After opening remarks by CooperVision Specialty EyeCare Division President J.C. Aragon, attendees heard from Paul Chamberlain, director of research programs for CooperVision. He presented new four-year study data that showed the significant impact of a pioneering contact lens management approach to slowing myopia’s progression.

Conversation then turned to the impact of orthokeratology (ortho-k) in China. Maria Liu, OD, PhD, MPH, MBA, FAAO, the founder and chief of the Myopia Control Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley, attributed promising outcomes in part to a trusted, collaborative myopia management approach between ophthalmologists and optometrists.

“A number of additional factors have emerged as critical to managing myopic children in China,” Liu said. “These include early consultation to parents of high-risk children, engaging in comprehensive discussions about individualized treatment and fee structures, and the need for manufacturers to help continue advancing myopia management practices through education.”

Additional discussion was led by Jan Roelof Polling, myopia researcher at Erasmus Medical Centre, regarding encouraging experiences in the Netherlands, and by independent clinical trials consultant Robin Chalmers, OD, FAAO, on the safe use of contact lenses by children.

"Considering the worldwide growth of childhood myopia and its far-reaching impacts, discovering techniques to help ECPs embrace their roles as front-line heroes in confronting this scourge is essential," said Cockerill. "It’s an ongoing journey to help them understand when to begin and end treatment, how to cooperate with peers for coordinated care, and ways to draw attention to the issue as a public health crisis in their communities. What we learned in San Antonio lets us take another step forward."

The prevalence of myopia is projected to increase from approximately 2 billion people worldwide in 2010 to nearly 5 billion people in 20501, bringing with it near- and long-term health challenges. Not only does it create blurred vision, but also increases the likelihood of conditions later in life such as glaucoma, cataract, retinal detachment and myopic maculopathy if not addressed.

CooperVision’s leadership in myopia management will be visible throughout Academy ’18.

Mark Bullimore, MCOptom, PhD, FAAO, was set to present "Myopia Control: From Evidence to Implementation" on Nov. 8 in Hemisfair Ballroom C1. He was expected to incorporate three-year data from an ongoing CooperVision clinical trial is assessing a specially designed, dual-focus myopia control 1-day soft contact lens in reducing the rate of progression of juvenile-onset myopia. The lens is commercially available as CooperVision MiSight in select countries.

On Friday, Nov. 9, at 9 a.m. in the Cockrell Theatre, the International Myopia Institute will present its inaugural white paper report. CooperVision sponsors the Institute as part of its global support for the sector.

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