Canadian Association of Optometrists endorses myopia management standard of care resolution

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Dr. Debbie Jones headshotWaterloo’s Dr. Debbie Jones a key figure in Canada’s support for resolution

The Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO) has endorsed the World Council of Optometry (WCO) myopia management as standard of care resolution. In a position statement, the CAO said that it supports the WCO resolution and endorses evidence-based myopia management as a standard of care for all at-risk patients. The CAO recognizes that myopia is a global public health issue and cannot be considered merely an inconvenience of uncorrected vision.

“Since the World Health Organization’s release of the World Report on Vision in 2019, CAO’s Council has been concerned about the increasing prevalence of myopia globally,” said CAO President Dr. Harry Bohnsack. “The World Council of Optometry’s standard of care for myopia management provided CAO with a foundation upon which to build our position to ensure that all those who are at risk of myopia receive the best preventive and curative eye health and vision care from Canadian optometrists.”

Waterloo's School of Optometry & Vision Science professor Dr. Debbie Jones was a key figure in making this achievement possible, Dr. Bohnstack said. "We thank Dr. Debbie Jones for her visionary leadership in conceptualizing and drafting this position statement."

After many years of hard work, Dr. Jones is thrilled to see Canada endorse this resolution. “Childhood myopia is one of the greatest issues facing not only the eyecare community globally, but the broader public health sector. Left unaddressed, its increasing severity and prevalence puts kids at a disadvantage today with blurred vision, and then exposes them to much greater risk for vision loss in their adult years.”

The World Council of Optometry introduced the resolution in April 2021 defining evidence-based standard of care as comprising of three main components:

  • Mitigation — Optometrists educating and counseling parents and children, during early and regular eye exams, on lifestyle, dietary, and other factors to prevent or delay the onset of myopia.
  • Measurement — Optometrists evaluating the status of a patient during regular comprehensive vision and eye health exams, such as measuring refractive error and axial length whenever possible.
  • Management — Optometrists addressing patients’ needs of today by correcting myopia, while also providing evidence-based interventions (e.g., contact lenses, spectacles, pharmaceuticals) that slow the progression of myopia, for improved quality of life and better eye health today and into the future.

“To have Canada become the first country to endorse the World Council of Optometry resolution stating that myopia management is standard of care shows the extent of our leadership on the issue—among our practitioners and researchers from coast to coast,” said Dr. Jones. “We should all pause a moment to reflect on how far we have come, then commit to doing even more to take on myopia.”

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