Researchers collaborate on myopia management app

The Predicting Myopia Onset and Progression Risk Indicator (PreMO) app was developed by teams at Aston and Ulster universities

A clinician is testing the eyes of a patient who sits with their back to the camera.
Aston University

Researchers from Aston and Ulster universities have collaborated on the release of a new app designed to support eye care practitioners in the management of childhood myopia.

The Predicting Myopia Onset and Progression Risk Indicator (PreMO) app has been launched to coincide with World Sight Day 2023 today (12 October) and is free for clinicians.

The development of the PreMO app was led by Professor James Wolffsohn, head of optometry at Aston University, with researchers from Ulster led by Professor Kathryn Saunders, optometry division head.

The app is designed to help track the development of myopia, treatments, and facilitate communication and education with the patient and their parents or guardians.

Through the PreMO app, clinicians can input a child’s data including age, sex, family history, refractive error, and biometry (axial length or k-values).

The app will then generate individual reports that can be shared with patients and caregivers to prompt conversations around managing myopia risks.

The app can also help to identify younger patients who are not yet myopic, aiding eye care professionals to provide education around myopia, encourage lifestyles that could minimise the risks, and introduce the concept of treatments.

The data can be stored to enable practitioners to review the progression of myopia over time and following treatment.

Commenting on the release of the app, Wolffsohn shared: “After many years of research into the impact of myopia, we now have treatments to slow its progression and even decrease how often it occurs.”

“The app will support clinicians in predicting those children who will go myopic, to track their progress with myopia control treatments, to provide better communication to the child and their parents and guardians, and to personalise their eye health,” he added.

Research from Ulster University has illustrated that myopia is now twice as common compared to 50 years ago, and that children are becoming myopic at a younger age.

Saunders explained: “Myopia is predicted to affect half the world’s population by 2050 and the World Health Organization has declared myopia a global health concern, which was a key factor in the rationale behind creating this specialist software, as it will have a significant impact on helping to prevent or delay the onset of myopia.”

Clinicians can sign up for PreMO online.

The launch video can be viewed on Aston University’s YouTube channel.