Myopia awareness and action 2020 year-in-review: coming together to face an increased risk of myopia and to protect children’s vision

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2020 myopia year in review

This year, organizations, associations, and influencers continued to emphasize myopia awareness and education. In March, the novel coronavirus was declared a national emergency in the United States. As stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19 impacted us all, the focus turned even more to increased time on devices, less time spent outside, and the need to take measures to protect children’s vision. This fall, that emphasis became especially important as many children started the school year learning virtually from home. Here’s a look at the initiatives launched in response to the ongoing myopia epidemic and the increased risk of myopia in children.

In March, the first-ever FDA approved product to slow the progression of myopia launched in the US.

Last November, The US Food and Drug Administration approved CooperVision’s MiSight multifocal, daily wear contact lens “for the correction of myopic ametropia and for slowing the progression of myopia in children with non-diseased eyes, who at the initiation of treatment are 8-12 years of age and have a refraction of -0.75 to -4.00 diopters (spherical equivalent) with less than or equal to 0.75 diopters of astigmatism.” The product became available in the US in March.

In June, The Global Myopia Awareness Coalition (GMAC) launched its “Game Over, Myopia” campaign.

The Global Myopia Awareness Coalition (GMAC) worked with influential online gamers and parents including April and Justin Moore, Mikayla, Tiff and Case Realchan, Maya Vorderstrasse, and Mr. Bee to raise awareness about myopia in children by encouraging them to discuss the importance of getting away from screens and playing outside.

The well-known parenting influencers brought their kids’ favorite games to life by recreating them in their house or backyard, encouraging parents to be more aware of their kids’ screen usage and how it relates to myopia. The influencers relayed GMAC messaging in a fun way through YouTube and Instagram TV (IGTV) videos, in addition to various social media posts across Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok.

In 2020, MyMyopia reached over 60,000 people with valuable, relevant educational myopia infographics, resources, articles, and videos.

Throughout the year, MyMyopia expanded its awareness campaign sharing important information with parents and eye care professionals on the childhood myopia epidemic to improve lifelong ocular health. In May, MyMyopia published a myopia infographic available to the public and eye care professionals to download, print, and share. In September, MyMyopia launched its “Through Their Eyes” Correspondent series that connects children who are in myopia treatment with eye care professionals through a video series to help educate parents and kids alike—especially as time on screens and time spent indoors increased due to the pandemic. The first video from the series launched as children started school, offering three tips to protect your child’s vision during virtual learning in less than five minutes.

World Sight Day, an annual day of awareness to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment, took place on October 8, 2020, with the theme: Hope In Sight.

Organizations and companies across the world came together in honor of World Sight Day. With COVID-19 putting a hold on large gatherings and social events, the optical community was able to adapt and take the message online.

In support of World Sight Day, Nevakar shared content from its MyMyopia website to help educate parents about myopia. MyMyopia offered shareable images with the World Sight Day hashtag and relevant myopia messages for parents and eye care professionals to download and share on their own social media channels. The images highlighted key facts regarding childhood myopia, such as the need for regular eye exams and more time outdoors. The MyMyopia shareable images also featured a statistic garnered in a September poll of over 1,000 participants that found 63% of kids haven’t had their annual eye exam yet in 2020.

In October, Prevent Blindness launched its Screen Time-Out campaign.

In response to increased virtual activity during the coronavirus pandemic, Prevent Blindness, the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight, launched Screen Time-Out, an awareness campaign to encourage Americans, especially parents of young children, to introduce regular screen breaks into their daily routines.

In November, the American Academy of Ophthalmology launched a global initiative to address the worldwide myopia epidemic. Nevakar Inc. became the first company to support this important initiative.

In recognition of the myopia epidemic and the potential that the pandemic may heighten children’s risk of nearsightedness, the American Academy of Ophthalmology brought together experts in myopia from around the world to develop an action plan to delay the onset of myopia in children and slow it down so the most devastating consequences of high myopia can be avoided.

This is the first effort to coordinate a global health initiative to spread education and foster collaboration to improve treatments. The Myopia Task Force includes recognized experts in myopia prevention and treatment, public health experts from around the world, and organization representatives from the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Optometry, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Nevakar Inc., a biopharmaceutical company committed to preserving the vision of children worldwide, became the first company to support this important initiative and has committed $125,000 over the next five years to support the educational efforts.

What myopia movement do you hope to see in 2021? Let us know in the comments below or share other efforts that stood out to you in 2020. We look forward to a new year of sharing more knowledge, insights, and successes in protecting children’s vision.

Tags: COVID-19, Game Over Myopia, GMAC, myopia, myopia infographic, myopia management, myopia treatment, Nevakar, ophthalmology, optometry, World Sight Day