American Academy of Ophthalmology Meeting
American Academy of Ophthalmology Meeting
Source:

Abbott RL, et al. AAO press conference: Myopia in children. Presented at American Academy of Ophthalmology annual meeting; Nov. 13-15, 2020 (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: Repka reports he is co-chair of a myopia treatment study funded by the National Eye Institute. Abbott reports no relevant financial disclosures.
November 24, 2020
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Increasing myopia a growing public health concern

Source:

Abbott RL, et al. AAO press conference: Myopia in children. Presented at American Academy of Ophthalmology annual meeting; Nov. 13-15, 2020 (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: Repka reports he is co-chair of a myopia treatment study funded by the National Eye Institute. Abbott reports no relevant financial disclosures.
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The increasing prevalence of myopia is a significant public health concern internationally, according to speakers at a Task Force on Myopia press conference at the virtual American Academy of Ophthalmology annual meeting.

“Overall, we’re trying to increase the awareness of this growing epidemic and its potential permanent effect on vision,” task force chair Richard L. Abbott, MD, said.

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Nearly 50% of the world’s population is projected to be affected by myopia in 2050, with a worldwide prevalence of high myopia of 10% also projected at that time, according to Abbott.

High myopia carries a greater risk for developing vision-threatening eye conditions, such as retinal detachment, glaucoma, cataracts and myopic maculopathy.

“That is why we are very concerned about this growing epidemic,” Abbott said.

The overall goal of the academy’s task force is to collaborate and improve efforts to reduce the age of onset and slow worldwide progression of myopia.

To that end, research from eastern Asia shows that more outdoor time could lead to less myopia, Michael X. Repka, MD, MBA, AAO medical director for government affairs, said.

“It makes sense from other public health considerations that more outdoor time and less screen time may translate to better health overall, so maybe it is two for the price of one,” Repka said.

The mechanism is likely related to dopamine levels in the retina changing axial elongation; however, how much outdoor time and the quality and intensity of the light needed are unknowns, Repka said.

Another way to slow progression of myopia is through use of low-dose atropine.

A daily dose of one eye drop atropine 0.01% to 0.05% slowed progression by 30% to 50% in normal school-aged children in clinical trials in Singapore, Hong Kong and China, Repka said.

These measures do not stop myopia progression but rather reduce the amount of progression, Repka said.

“So, it’s incumbent upon us to make sure that both the doctors prescribing it, as well as the parents, understand that,” Repka said.

Overall, the academy is taking strides to combat the myopia epidemic. The organization supports strengthening the regulatory science for evaluating drugs and devices intended to control myopia progression, promotes patient access to safe and effective myopia control therapies, promotes appropriate reimbursement for myopia control therapies at national and local levels, and promotes awareness among physicians, educators and policymakers, Repka said.