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Dwight Akerman and Lisa McCalister Present ‘Myopia: The Future is Now’ at VM Summit

March 15, 2023

NEW YORK — On Wednesday, March 15, Review of Myopia Management’s Chief Medical Editor Dwight Akerman, OD, MBA, FAAO, FBCLA, FIACLE, and Lisa McAlister, MBA, GMAC’s New Chair and the Global Myopia Lead at Johnson & Johnson Vision, presented at the Vision Monday Leadership Summit. 

The theme of this year’s Summit was “Insight, Unseen: How Leaders Uncover, Design, and Scale Innovation,” and the goal of the program this year was to tackle the challenges business leaders face in a changed competitive environment, address new consumer priorities and perceptions, and meet the needs of their employees. For the first time ever, myopia management was added to the Summit’s curriculum, and Dr. Akerman and McAlister shared their presentation entitled “Myopia: The Future is Now.” 

The session kicked off with some of the leading facts about the global myopia epidemic and where the disease is headed over the next 30 years. Dr. Akerman broke down the projections of myopia prevalence from region to region of what ECPs can expect by the year 2050. The overall takeaway: myopia is a global issue and is only expected to worsen worldwide. 

From there, Dr. Akerman discussed the significant health risks associated with myopia and shared an important note with the audience: there is no safe level of myopia. All of the major visual health risks – myopic maculopathy, retinal detachment, PSC cataract, and glaucoma – become much more likely as patients’ myopia progresses. High myopes, those with refractive errors of -6.00D or higher, have the greatest risk of such conditions. 

The conversation then shifted to industry efforts to address myopia and increase parental awareness of the disease. McAlister began this portion of the discussion by talking about GMAC — the Global Myopia Awareness Coalition — and the organization’s efforts to develop messaging campaigns for the public, while also working with health care professionals and allied organizations to educate parents and children about the importance of regular eye exams and the availability of myopia management treatments. 

Ensuring that children receive yearly eye exams is of the utmost importance, and McAlister emphasized how necessary it is to detect myopia and start treatment as early as possible, as doing so comes with emotional, lifestyle, and eye health benefits. 

The session wrapped up with a discussion of GMAC’s most recent campaigns, which first started in 2019, and have since expanded to reach local markets across the United States and globally in the U.K. For 2023, GMAC has two campaigns planned that will continue to focus on driving awareness of myopia, and they will reach ECPs and parents in both the U.S. and the U.K., and for the first time, Canada. 

While GMAC doesn’t advocate for specific treatments, the organization works to talk about the benefits of lifestyle changes and new treatment options available for patients. GMAC’s campaigns center around a unique hook that is grounded in the science behind understanding myopia. 

Dr. Akerman and McAlister concluded their presentation stressing just how critical it is for everyone in the eye care industry to get involved in the myopia epidemic. As the primary eye health threat of the 21st century, the goal is to be proactive about myopia. 

For more information on the Vision Monday Leadership Summit, click here.

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