Annual observance recognizes the growing number of myopia cases and how vision professionals and the public can mitigate the risks
(WASHINGTON) – Myopia (or nearsightedness) is a common ocular disorder worldwide. Researchers predict that by the year 2030, nearly half of the North American population will have myopia.  Studies show myopia is becoming more common among children,  especially as children spent more time virtual learning and staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Myopia was historically thought of as just inconvenient blurry distance vision, but it is now known to impact the visual function of children and increase the risk of multiple eye health complications that may lead to irreversible vision loss later in life.
The Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety (HCAPS) is recognizing Myopia Awareness Week from May 22-26, 2023 to join the growing conversation about the dangers of myopia and its rapid increase in recent years. HCAPS will also amplify the importance of myopia management for optometry professionals and how the general public can take steps to prevent the condition.
HCAPS is excited to be a sponsor of a new study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that aims to identify the causes of increasing rates of myopia and determine a scientific path forward that explains its prevalence.
Last year, a group of bipartisan legislators, led by Congresswoman Angie Craig (D-MN) and Congressman John Joyce, M.D. (R-PA) and signed by 26 other Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requesting an agency update on efforts to encourage early detection and prevention of childhood myopia. HCAPS is also a proud supporter of this effort.
With the announcement of the above letter, Dr. David Cockrell, Chairman of the Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety said, “The Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety applauds Congresswoman Angie Craig and Congressman John Joyce, M.D., along with their House colleagues, for seeking answers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the efforts the agency is deploying to combat the rise in childhood myopia. We are hopeful the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will outline robust, proactive measures to tackle this public health issue, which, if left untreated, will have long-term impacts on our children’s development, opportunity, and overall wellbeing.”
A study conducted by researchers from the Hong Kong School of Ophthalmology linked the COVID-19 pandemic to an increase in myopia among young children, and the numbers are still rising.
There is no existing cure for myopia and the undue harm it can cause. Early diagnosis and treating progression are crucial to mitigate adverse health outcomes in children. Minimizing near-work engagement through devices such as a tablet or laptop, while increasing time outdoors is critical in reducing the risk of childhood myopia.
About the Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety
The Health Care Alliance for Patient Safety (HCAPS) was founded in 2018 to advocate for patient safety and to protect and defend the doctor-patient relationship – the essential foundation of personalized health care decision making. For more information, please visit www.PatientSafetyToday.com.
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