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Myopia Focus on the “critical need” for increased awareness on myopia management

Myopia Focus has released the results of its 2024 survey of UK parental awareness and attitudes

 A close-up of a child’s hands rolling colourful playdough
Pexels/Alexander Grey

A survey by Myopia Focus has found a “critical need for increased education and awareness around myopia management.” 

Myopia Focus released the results of its second annual survey, exploring the level of understanding parents in the UK have of myopia management.

The report, Myopia management in focus: A 2024 survey report on UK parental awareness and attitudes, summarises the key findings from a survey of 200 respondents.

The majority of respondents (97%) indicated that they were familiar with the term ‘near-sightedness’ or ‘short-sightedness,’ however, more than one third of those surveyed (35%) said they had not heard of the term ‘myopia’ prior to the survey.

All parents who had myopic children reported knowing the terms ‘near’ or ‘short-sightedness’ but 28% still indicated that they were not familiar with the term ‘myopia.’

The report indicated that for all parents who were aware of myopia management, the large majority were informed by their optometrist (72%), an increase from 52% in 2023.

Parents of myopic children were asked about their experiences, including whether they were given advice or recommendations about managing myopia, with 58% of parents suggesting they were not told anything specific, and up to 10% reporting they were not sure if any advice was delivered.

Jason Higginbotham, managing editor of Myopia Focus, commented: “Our survey reveals a critical need for increased education and awareness around myopia management. Optometrists play a pivotal role, but we must expand our efforts to ensure parents understand the serious long-term risks of untreated myopia.”

Read more from Higginbotham on the creation of the Myopia Focus website and public awareness of myopia management through OT’s April interview.

Of the survey respondents, 11 currently had experience of myopia management.

Awareness of the long-term risks of myopia increases parental concern, the survey found, with Myopia Focus highlighting the need to communicate the importance of early intervention and management.

Of those surveyed, 65% of parents indicated they would consider myopia management if they were made aware of the associated risks and benefits.

Dr Neema Ghorbani Mojarrad, co-author of the report, emphasised the importance of myopia management in reducing the risk of severe ocular conditions later in life, adding: “This report underscores the importance of early intervention and proactive management strategies, but clearly highlights we have a long way to go.”

Investigating the factors that are important to parents considering myopia management, the report found that 79% of parents believed myopia management treatment should be available through the NHS.

Reflecting on the survey findings, Richard Kadri-Langford, co-author and co-founder of Myopia Focus, identified that more information and support is needed to help parents protect their children’s vision.

“Our goal is to bridge this gap and empower families with the knowledge they need, and use this survey as a call to arms for the industry and eye care professional to drive awareness,” he said.

Myopia Focus has produced a video presenting the findings of the report and the implications.