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AAP-endorsed paper cites myopia as global public health problem

July 1, 2021

Concern over the rising incidence of myopia — an increasing cause of visual impairment — has brought together an international group of experts and an AAP-endorsed white paper on the need for early intervention and control.

Organized by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, a task force of experts plus representatives from the AAP, American Academy of Family Physicians and American Academy of Optometry issued Reducing the Global Burden of Myopia by Delaying the Onset of Myopia and Reducing Myopic Progression in Children,

Among its goals, the task force aims to foster collaboration among researchers, health care organizations and industry to develop interventions. Myopia has been increasing for the last several decades, especially in East Asia, and is expected to become more prevalent.

While recent focus has been on increasing children’s outdoor time to mitigate risk, more studies are needed. Low-dose atropine eyedrops or special contact lenses also are prescribed to reduce incidence and slow progression of myopia. Early diagnosis is encouraged.

Anatomic changes in the eyes of patients with myopia increase the risk of secondary ocular sequelae, which can lead to uncorrectable visual impairment, according to the paper. Severe or “high” myopia raises the risk of retinal detachment, glaucoma, early cataracts and myopic maculopathy, a leading cause of blindness worldwide.

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