Leading eye experts call for eye examinations to be on every child’s regular health checklist

A child myopia working group, made up of leading optometrists and ophthalmologists, is urging parents and carers to add eye examinations to every child’s regular health checklist.

Their new report on myopia management, titled ‘2022/23 Reducing the Risk to Vision’, delivers the key message that understanding the early signs of myopia may help delay its onset and slow its progression.

Data within the report revealed that 30% of Australian parents (with children aged 17 and under) have never been to an optometrist to have an eye test. This is despite the fact that Australian parents are more likely to have a child diagnosed with myopia now than in 2018.

Dr Loren Rose, paediatric ophthalmologist and founding member of the working group, said, “Many parents do not realise that myopia can and should be managed. There is an urgent for a greater focus on managing myopia and increasing awareness of the importance of children having regular eye examinations.”

New Standard of Care for myopia management

In the report, a new recommended Standard of Care for myopia management is introduced as an important step to reducing the prevalence and impact of myopia.

“A myopia management Standard of Care is critical, given that each year of delay in developing myopia substantially reduces the chance of a child developing high myopia in adulthood,” Dr Rose said.

The Standard of Care recommends three key actions that parents/carers can take:

  1. Have children’s eyes tested regularly by an optometrist
  2. Be aware that myopia can be managed
  3. Know the questions to ask and start a conversation with the optometrist

Have a conversation with an optometrist

The working group urges parents/carers to have a discussion with an optometrist around the best way to manage and monitor a child’s myopia. Everyone’s eyesight progresses differently and should be managed using the best evidence-based option for each of their circumstances.

Dr Rose continues, “Evidence-based myopia management options range from certain soft contact lenses featuring a special optical design which are worn during the day, contact lenses which reshape the front surface of the eye during overnight wear and are then removed during the daytime, through to certain spectacle lenses featuring a special optical design and low-dose atropine eyedrops varying concentrations which are usually instilled at night before bed.”

Optometrist and fellow founding member of the working group, Margaret Lam adds, "It's important to be aware of the different management options now available, because slowing the progression of myopia in children may prevent the development of high myopia. High myopia can cause serious eye health problems later in life.”

To download a free copy of the report, visit www.childmyopia.com.

To add an eye examination to your child’s regular health checklist, use our Find an optometrist search tool to book in with your local optometrist today.

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