September 1, 2021
By Dwight Akerman, OD, MBA, FAAO, FBCLA
Eye care practitioners often look to professional organizations to provide leadership. Depending on the organization, it may provide clinical, health policy, reimbursement, educational, and research recommendations/advocacy/guidelines. Concerning kids, many organizations play it safe and simply recommend that school-aged children have a comprehensive eye examination every year.
In 2021, two leading organizations have stepped forward with important professional guidance regarding childhood myopia: The World Council of Optometry and The American Optometric Association.
The World Council of Optometry Board of Directors unanimously approved a resolution advising optometrists to incorporate a standard of care for myopia management within their practices. The resolution states that simply correcting the refractive error is no longer sufficient, and myopia management should not be optional and should instead be an obligation of optometrists. Furthermore, the resolution cites that the evidence-based standard of care should consist of three main components:
- Mitigation — optometrists educating and counseling parents and children, during early and regular eye exams, on lifestyle, dietary, and other factors to prevent or delay the onset of myopia.
- Measurement — optometrists evaluating the status of a patient during regular comprehensive vision and eye health exams, such as measuring refractive error and axial length whenever possible.
- Management — optometrists addressing patients’ needs of today by correcting myopia while also providing evidence-based interventions (e.g., contact lenses, spectacles, pharmaceuticals) that slow the progression of myopia for improved quality of life and better eye health today and into the future.
The clinical report builds on the AOA’s heightened focus on children’s eye health and vision care, especially during the pandemic, which has created greater leisure time and schooling online for young people, raising concerns over extended screen time and its impact on eye and vision health. Among its contents are sections on the classification of myopia, complications associated with myopia, risk factors for development and progression of myopia, tests and equipment/instrumentation needed for myopia management, and elements of follow-up care.
Congratulations to The World Council of Optometry and The American Optometric Association for their leadership and foresight to take necessary steps to promote evidence-based myopia management as the standard of care for myopic children.
Best professional regards,
Dwight H. Akerman, OD, MBA, FAAO, FBCLA
Chief Medical Editor