Pandemic of myopia in Europe needs action

Priscilla Lynch

Posted: Friday, October 2, 2020

Caroline Klaver MD

There is a myopia pandemic in Europe, “with 50% of young people having myopia, and 10% high myopia is the future for the entire world”, according to Caroline Klaver MD, the Netherlands.

Speaking during “EURETINA Session 1: The EURETINA Guidelines for the Management of Retinal Disease: The Next Steps”, Prof Klaver said the ophthalmic community must take a proactive approach to tackling this pandemic, and she outlined proven strategies for intervention in younger children.

To address lifestyle factors, a key cause behind the rise of myopia in children, Prof Klaver and colleagues have created the ‘20-20-2 rule’ as a very practical recommendation: After 20 minutes of near work, people should look to the distance for 20 seconds, and play outside at least two hours per day.

The International Myopia Institute has reached consensus that axial length should be the target for myopia control, not refractive error, and they acknowledge three types of effective intervention, she reported. “These are multifocal contact lenses, Ortho-K lenses, and atropine.”

A three-year follow up atropine study 0.5% study carried out by Prof Klaver and colleagues in Rotterdam (n=124) has shown a 75% reduction in axial length progression.

Also speaking during this session were Ursula Schmidt-Erfurth MD, Austria, who discussed neovascular AMD: AI evidence on novel grounds, Shoba Sivaprasad MD, UK, who spoke about diagnostic and therapeutic guidance for diabetic retinopathy, Ramin Tadayoni MD, France, who discussed macular surgery of pseudo holes and Anat Loewenstein MD, Israel, who spoke about ‘heads-up surgery: More options than ever’.