AOA, CooperVision mobilize to ‘disrupt the status quo,’ advance new standard of care for children with myopia

April 25, 2024
The Myopia Collective’s goal is to elevate the standard of care for children with myopia, shifting the focus beyond optical correction to embracing comprehensive treatment. The collective’s “Change Agents” will lead the charge. Doctors of optometry across the country provide more than two-thirds of primary eye health and vision care.
Myopia Collective Header

Giving doctors more advanced options to thwart the rapid rise in myopia among children is the purpose of a groundbreaking partnership between the AOA and CooperVision unveiled April 23.

The Myopia Collective’s backbone will be “Change Agents” to (1) receive specialized training in myopia management within their practices and (2) lead legislative and community advocacy in their respective state legislatures and communities. One or two Change Agents will be selected per U.S. state and several territories.

Interested in integrating myopia management into your practice and driving positive change? Join the Myopia Collective or apply to be a Change Agent for the collective through May 17. Three days after launch, an impressive 757 members have joined the collective and 77 Change Agent applications have been submitted.

“Through The Myopia Collective, and with CooperVision’s ardent support, engagement in myopia management at the practice level and outreach at the state and local levels will substantially increase—effective advocacy delivering tangible change,” AOA President Steven T. Reed, O.D., said upon the official unveiling. “It’s what our communities, our children and the optometric profession deserve, and the AOA is proud to be part of this movement.”

“Disrupting the status quo and establishing a new standard of care for children with myopia is a monumental task, one that requires collective effort,” said Michele Andrews, O.D., vice president, professional and government affairs, Americas, CooperVision. “The AOA’s full and active participation in The Myopia Collective alongside CooperVision is an unmistakable sign of how critical this issue is to the eye health and vision care for Americans both today and in the decades to come.”

It is estimated that about half the world’s population will be myopic by 2050. Myopia generally first appears in school-age children. Further, in the U.S., myopia’s prevalence has jumped in people age 12-54 from 25% in 1971-1972 to 41.6% in 1999-2004.

AOA: Committed to improving children’s eye health

The AOA has had a long-running commitment to children’s eye and vision care, and three years ago hundreds of doctors, optometry students, paraoptometrics and policymakers attended its Emergency Children’s Vision Summit to help develop a path forward as the nation emerged from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 contributed to the rise in cases of myopia, as children spent more time indoors often on their digital devices for school and amusement. The summit triggered an ongoing conversation by optometry on myopia and its management.

And last year, the AOA organized a series for doctors of optometry who might have concerns about applying myopia management in their practices. Too little evidence, too little equipment, too much money for patients—all were reasons cited in a survey of doctors on why they didn’t currently provide myopia management in their practices but would consider doing so in the future. Sixty-nine percent of the respondents said they were already providing the care.

Meanwhile, says Dr. Reed, data has shown children’s eye health and vision care has decreased in recent years.

“The AOA recognizes we are at a critical point in time in relation to children’s eye health needs, requiring strong action and a mobilization of the profession of optometry,” he said. “When it comes to making real changes in clinical care, we need to draw from the power of our doctors across the country.”

Stay connected to The Myopia Collective

Change Agents will be announced in June at Optometry’s Meeting ®.

However, everyone within the optometric profession, regardless of credential or role, is encouraged to join the collective as members. Participation signifies a common dedication to advancing myopia management within their practices and communities. Additionally, members will gain access to educational opportunities and resources.

Join here.

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