The International Myopia Institute (IMI) consensus group, which brings together clinical researchers, scientists and eye care practitioners advancing myopia research, education and advocacy, is leading a search for eye care practitioners to “help disseminate the evidence from their published white papers to every part of the world.”
Executive director of the IMI, Dr Monica Jong, told OT: “Estimates predict that by 2050, 50% of the world will have myopia, and associated complications and potential blindness attributed to high myopia will also rise. Educating eye care practitioners about the latest evidence-based management of myopia is critical to address this. The IMI has gathered the world’s leading scientists and clinical researchers, and now it is time to reach further in our mission to advance eye care. We are seeking interested volunteers to join the Institute to support our initiatives to ameliorate the global increase in myopia. We must work together to continue building the global knowledge and capability.”
Dr Jong told OT that in many parts of the world, eye care practitioners remain unaware that they can delay and slow myopia using optical, pharmacological and behavioural methods.
“There are many reasons for this, but one of the main reasons is because the evidence never reaches those parts of the world for one reason or another, such as language barriers, lack of access to the scientific articles, and resources. The only way we can prevent the future vision loss and blindness associated with increasing myopia is to disseminate the evidence so that everyone in the eye care profession knows about myopia, the risks of increasing myopia, and the options available for best patient care,” she explained.
Dr Jong added: “Eye care practitioners in every country can play a role to further disseminate and advocate for myopia as a public health issue by sharing the IMI resources through their professional networks. We can only make a difference in myopia if we all work together. That is why we are now searching for volunteers in every country to further reach out so that every eye care professional knows how to manage progressing myopia in a child.”
How to volunteer
The role of appointed country representatives will include helping to identify gaps and unmet needs in myopia education, research and training, as well as supporting the dissemination of the evidence through their professional networks. The IMI told OT that it is looking for expressions of interest from “proactive, dynamic, and engaging eye care professionals who will be available for occasional meetings and assignments.”