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IAPB joins the Global Myopia Awareness Coalition

The coalition aims to increase public awareness of childhood myopia, suggesting the addition of the IAPB will further extend its reach

KY myopia

The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) has joined the Global Myopia Awareness Coalition (GMAC).

Comprised of eye health companies and associations, the GMAC was formed in 2019 to increase public awareness of childhood myopia. The organisation develops campaigns to improve education around myopia, its risks and treatments.

The coalition suggested that the addition of the IAPB marks a “significant expansion of GMAC’s reach into the public health sector,” adding that cooperation in this sector is “vital to successfully address one of the most pressing ocular health issues in generations.”

The IAPB will now be represented on the board of directors of the myopia organisation.

Describing myopia as “one of the greatest challenges that faces eye health in the coming decades,” CEO of IAPB, Peter Holland (pictured), commented: “We are looking forward to joining in with GMAC’s innovative campaigns and working with our members to take the message of myopia awareness to a global audience.”

GMAC chairperson and president of CooperVision Specialty EyeCare, Juan Carlos Aragón, welcomed the IAPB as a partner, commenting: “Its participation will further extend and tighten the alignment between the bodies and individuals necessary to conquer this growing issue. Bringing together corporations, associations, and now non-governmental organisations and the public health sector through IAPB, places us that much closer to overcoming the global myopia epidemic.”

The coalition aims to help make parents more receptive to recommendations from eye care professionals, and encourage behaviour change such as increasing the time children spend outdoors.

The GMAC also seeks to influence policy at national and global levels to support clinical and health promotion.

This summer, the GMAC found that only 25% of parents in the US had taken their child to an eye care professional since the beginning of the pandemic. Dr Millicent Knight, a GMAC board member, told OT: “While the pandemic impacted countries differently, it did force families around the world to change their lifestyles to limit time outdoors and rely heavily on screens for entertainment, work and remote learning – factors that, combined with near work and genetics, can increase myopia.”