Globally, myopia is a leading cause of avoidable vision loss, especially in children. It is estimated that 50 percent of the world’s population will have Myopia by the year 2050.
There is some early evidence that with the huge increase in screen time during the COVID-19 pandemic, several studies suggest that smart device exposure might be associated with an increased risk of myopia, especially in children.
Australian not-for-profit organization, Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI) has announced this year’s Myopia awareness week theme, as ‘Make Your Eye Moves’ with a call to act now, to help control the rise of myopia. The ‘Make Your Eye Moves’ campaign calls on eye health professionals to use their expertise and help start the discussion with parents and their children. ‘Eye Moves’ asks them to take action and provide tips to parents to help protect children’s vision. Short recordings made by a number of leading experts from around the world, with these tips for managing myopia will be shared by BHVI during the campaign.
“Covid-19 has significantly raised the stakes and increased the burden of myopia. We must engage from the front lines, through eyecare practitioners, to ensure they are able to educate their communities about myopia…and protect our children’s futures,” says professor Padmaja Sankaridurg, head of the myopia program at BHVI.”
Vision 2020 CEO Patricia Sparrow, agrees with Professor Sankaridurg, saying ‘Vision 2020 encourages advocates of myopia awareness to engage in activities that promote eye health and reduce the risk of myopia. Simple ideas like encouraging children to take a break from screens and spend time outside for some natural light and fresh air can be a feasible strategy to help reduce the risk.’