18 Jan 2022
WCO Releases Professional Guidance on Childhood Myopia Management
The World Council of Optometry (WCO) and CooperVision have partnered to release “A Practical Guide to Managing Children with Myopia”. The professional article is authored by four experienced ocular health and science professionals from around the world. It complements the WCO Standard of Care for Myopia Management by Optometrists Resolution, which embraces evidence-based approaches focused on the three pillars of mitigation, measurement, and management.
The authors collaborated to share their insights on what the WCO Standard of Care entails and how eye care professionals can incorporate it in their fight against the worldwide myopia epidemic. They include Dr. Carmen Abesamis-Dichoso of the Philippines is an Asia Pacific Council of Optometry representative for the WCO, and who operates her private practice, Abesamis Eye Care; Dr. Rufina Chan, who is a visiting lecturer at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Optometry and in private practice; Dr. Kate Gifford of Australia, who works in clinical practice and is co-founder of MyopiaProfile.com; and Dr. Fuensanta Vera-Diaz of Boston, who serves as a reviewer for multiple journals and leads the New England College of Optometry’s Myopia Control Clinic.
Dr. Fuensanta Vera-Diaz said, “I strongly recommend that eye care professionals start myopia management today. Do not wait any longer. Start today. The WCO article is a great starting point. You should start educating your patients and their parents about lifestyle considerations, spending more time outdoors, having frequent breaks during near work and keeping the materials further away. You should also educate them on the myopia management options available. If you have the resources and skills to implement myopia management options, go ahead. If you cannot offer these options yet, you should still educate your patients about the options for myopia management and refer them to someone who can help manage their myopia. You would be doing a disservice to them if you did not educate every child with myopia on the available options.”
Dr. Kate Gifford said, “My advice to eye care professionals through this article is just do something, or just do one more thing. We all come from different starting points. Instead of just talking about myopia correction, start talking about myopia management and control. Take the next steps in getting involved with the cutting edge of research and science. Discuss myopia, discuss visual environment, and determine the best optical correction that will control myopia progression.”
Dr. Carmen Abesamis-Dichoso said, “We all have to become myopia doctors eventually. This is what optometry is all about. We care about patients and their families because of where they may be five or ten years down the line without myopia management. Correction alone is now not a very good route to take. Control is the answer. Eye care professionals, wherever they are, should be proactive and take the plunge into myopia management because at the end of the day, it is the patient and the community that we serve.”
Dr. Rufina Chan said, “Myopia is a growing epidemic that may affect up to 50 percent of the world's population in the next few decades. One-fifth of those impacted may develop sight threatening complications associated with high myopia. As optometrists, we are responsible to incorporate evidence-based myopia management in our practice for the benefit of our clients.”
The work is available at myopia.worldcouncilofoptometry.info/professional-article-english/