Myopia is one of the most prevalent vision issues globally, especially in children. By 2050, it is estimated nearly five billion people will be myopic* and in the U.S., 42 percent will be myopic by 2020 compared to just 28 percent in 2000.2 Essilor, the leading manufacturer of optical lenses globally, recognizes that myopia is an urgent issue and the prevalence is increasing dramatically worldwide.
The Essilor Group has made a global commitment to address this growing issue, with Essilor of America taking a leadership role in addressing myopia in the U.S. through a new campaign targeted at consumers and the eyecare industry. The integrated campaign will educate and drive awareness around the rise of myopia; including a movie trailer hitting theaters nationwide that urges parents to take a proactive role in their child’s eye health and sight by visiting an eyecare professional for a comprehensive eye exam to identify myopia before it impacts their everyday life. A school vision screening or a brief examination by a pediatrician is not enough, as eye health problems in children may be missed.
“Essilor understands firsthand the alarming growth of myopia around the world, especially in East Asian countries where the rates have increased dramatically with more than 85 percent of the population between ages 15-25 being myopic.3 We’re using our global insights to launch a campaign that proactively addresses the increasing growth of myopia in the U.S.,” said Dr. Millicent Knight, senior vice president of customer development, Essilor of America. “Many parents are unaware of the lifelong issues associated with myopia, which is why we are taking immediate action in the U.S. to educate consumers around myopia and ask parents to schedule an eye exam for their children.”
Myopia, better known as nearsightedness, is a condition of the eye where close up objects appear clear but at a distance everything becomes blurry and out of focus. While being nearsighted may not sound serious, if untreated over time it can put the eyes at risk for serious vision-threatening conditions including retinal detachment, early cataract development, macular degeneration and glaucoma.
To give parents a firsthand look at a child’s experience and teach them how to identify the signs of myopia, Essilor launched the “Out of Focus” movie trailer showing in select theatres nationwide beginning Friday, September 14 through Friday, November 1. The trailer offers a perspective of the children who struggle in life because they live life out of focus and ends with a powerful call to action for parents who see these signs in their own kids to schedule a comprehensive eye exam with their local eyecare professional.
In addition to consumer campaign efforts, Essilor is rallying the eyecare professional community to help curb the rise of myopia in the U.S. Essilor is reaching eyecare professionals through social media and trade media efforts; and partnering with ophthalmic thought leaders to create a recommended path to becoming a Myopia expert.
Essilor has more than 30 years of research and development experience in myopia. New research of more than 1,000 parents of children ages 7-17 who have myopia and over 600 children with myopia conducted by MetrixLab on behalf of Essilor found myopia does impact the lives of children:
Nearly fifty percent (49%) of children with myopia experience difficulty in the classroomForty-one percent of parents with myopic children claim their children struggle with everyday activitiesThirty-five percent of myopic children report not enjoying schoolThirty-eight percent of parents of myopic children report their children have difficulty playing sportsOnly forty-one percent of parents noticed their children were suffering from myopia
“Sadly, many children live their lives thinking blurry vision is just normal because they’ve never known otherwise,” said Dr. Ryan Parker, director of professional education, Essilor of America. “Parents should know myopia can be managed, and if caught early enough, some solutions may potentially help slow the progression. It also improves their quality of life and learning to see clearly.”
Common symptoms parents should look out for include squinting to see distant objects, like the board in the classroom, sitting too close to the TV or holding books close when reading and experiencing eyestrain or headaches. Research also suggests too much screen time on digital devices may potentially put kids at risk of developing myopia, and increased time spent outdoors may help slow its progression. With this in mind, parents should urge kids to put down their devices and spend more time outside.
* Source: 2016 study “Global Prevalence of Myopia and High Myopia and Temporal Trends from 2000 through 2020” By 2050, it is estimated five billion people will be myopic 2 Source: Global Prevalence of Myopia and High Myopia and Temporal Trends from 2000 through 2050. 42% in 2020 compared to 28% in 2000 3 Source: Global Prevalence of Myopia and High Myopia and Temporal Trends from 2000 through 2050. Myopia rate in East Asia among the 15-25-year-old is more than 85%.