Eye care professionals are often asked by parents, “Why haven’t I heard about myopia management before?” when they learn regular glasses and contact lenses only compensate for their child’s blurry vision and that there are options available for slowing the progression of myopia. This was the driving force behind the creation of the Global Myopia Awareness Coalition (GMAC), according to Matt Oerding, Board Chair of GMAC.1
Organizations and industry leaders came together to form GMAC with the mission to “promote public awareness of childhood myopia as a treatable disease through direct to consumer channels and awareness with governments, NGOs and other health care associations.” From its inception, GMAC was designed to be inclusive, and focus only on public outreach and education.1
Organized under the World Council of Optometry (WCO), GMAC formed its board in January 2019 and now has 13 companies as members. With its deep relationships in the space and dedication to preserving the vision of children worldwide, Nevakar is one of the founding member organizations of the group. Last year, GMAC put a focus on finalizing its healthcare professional advisory panel and invited Nevakar’s Chief Commercial Officer, Raul A. Trillo, MD, MBA, to serve on its board.2
“It is an exciting time for the field of myopia treatment and prevention because so much good can result, and many lives can be improved if our efforts are successful. The time is now to make sure everyone understands this disease, its potential consequences and the interventions available to help children before the treatment window closes,” Trillo explained in “A Wake-up Call to the Long-term Threat of Myopia”, an article he authored for the Review of Myopia Management. “Through the efforts of GMAC and its member companies, I am very optimistic we can have a significant impact and advance this critical effort.”
Supporting GMAC’s mission and the need for education, a September 2019 survey of 4,000 parents in the U.S. conducted by the group found that parents ranked annual visits to the eye doctor as less important than visits to the dentist or pediatrician. Only 57% reported making regular eye doctor appointments and even fewer (27%) said they took their child to an optometrist in the past year. Of the parents surveyed, 88% felt that comprehensive exams aren’t needed until children are school-aged—and 48% believe pediatricians can conduct them. However, eye care specialists should see children as young as six months old to avoid the risk of vision problems later in life.3 [Read: When should my child get their first eye exam?]
This past December, GMAC put its mission of public outreach and education to action with its #VisionMission campaign. The group collaborated with ten social media mom influencers who shared their own Vision Missions—a day in which they planned fun activities with their children resulting in a visit to the eye doctor. They shared their experiences with their collective following of over 5 million people with the #VisionMission hashtag. The campaign put the subject of myopia care in front of a lot of eyes through trusted sources and their presence on their blogs, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.4 This campaign is the first of many GMAC will sponsor in order to make a positive impact on myopia awareness and education. Here on MyMyopia, we’ll be sharing GMAC’s ongoing initiatives.
Tags: myopia, GMAC, myopia awareness