Recently there was an exciting New Zealand myopia (short-sightedness) road show organised by the Cornea and Contact Lens Society of NZ covering the latest research for myopia control (ie slowing myopia) with Australian experts Dr Kate Gifford and Dr Paul Gifford. Kate and Paul are the founders of Myopia Profile – a website dedicated to the latest evidence-based myopia control management for optometrists and health professionals; https://myopiaprofile.com/. They are also the founders of a website My Kids Vision dedicated to public myopia control education (ensure to check this out!) https://www.mykidsvision.org/ and a blog where optometrists worldwide share their expertise in myopia control options and answer common questions – https://medium.com/mykidsvision. 1/3rd of NZ optometrists attended the recent road show to learn the latest regarding myopia control to ensure they offer best patient care and practice.
Left to right: Jagrut Lallu, Alex Petty
Left to right: Jagrut Lallu, Dr Rasha Altaie, Dr Kate Gifford, Dr Paul Gifford, Safal Khanal
Other speakers included Dr Rasha Altaie,a paediatric and corneal ophthalmologist with an enormous passion for myopia management, collaborative care and public awareness. Rasha spoke about the importance of public awareness and collaborative care with optometrists, and discussed the role of Atropine eye drops and measuring the length of the eyeball to watch for myopia progression.
Our Orthokeratology board members Jagrut and Alex in NZ have also recently been driving public and professional awareness of myopia. Jagrut spoke with 100 ophthalmologists (almost all NZ eye surgeons) about collaborative care pathways for myopia. Jagrut and ophthalmologist Dr Rasha Altaie have also organised the following not-for-profit website www.outdoorplay.nz to raise public awareness, and designed posters which have been distributed to schools, GPs, nurses and optometrists. (See the pic with Jagrut and Alex demonstrating the poster at one of the Myopia Road show destinations in Hamilton!).
NZ Optometrist Alex Petty based in Tauranaga, has worked with another local ophthalmologist, Dr Graham Wilson to write a public health facing document on reducing the impact of childhood myopia in NZ, proposing the creation of a multidisciplinary action group. This has been submitted for publication to the NZ Medical Journal and has intended use in advocacy to government.
Safal Khanal is in the final year of his PhD at the University of Auckland, examining changes in the blood flow at the back of the eye (the choroid) with optical defocus. Thinning of the choroid could pre-empt growth in the length of the eyeball, and Safal‘s work could help us understand the mechanism of current optical treatments and how to potentially customise which treatment will work best for each individual.
Oceania has fantastic myopia research and optometrists working in this arena. One daily disposable soft contact lens designed for myopia control named Misight (Coopervision) was designed at the University of Auckland. Another myopia control soft lens named Mylo (Markennovy) that was under research at the Brien Holden Vision Institute (NSW) will be released for the Australian market next year. Professor Collins at Qld University of Technology is also leading research in soft contact lens design and myopia control. The scientific advancements in myopia control technologies are exciting, and appear only to be the beginning of scientific breakthroughs regarding myopia control and preventative eye health. The OSO board is excited to have many of these global leaders speaking at our upcoming conference next month. If you are a health clinician, ensure to secure your place by registering online at https://www.oso.net.au/whats-on
-Natalie Buckman, OSO Board Member