The MYOPIA ISSUEThis issue of mivision focusses on that other global pandemic: myopia. Is it hyperbole to label myopia a pandemic? The World Health Organization (WHO) defines pandemics, epidemics and endemic diseases based on the disease’s rate of spread. Pandemics cut across international boundaries and lead to large-scale social disruption, economic loss, and general hardship. So, let’s consider the staggering statistics associated with myopia. In 2000, it was estimated that just over 22% of the world’s population had myopia. By 2050, that’s expected to rise to 49.8%. Take a second to imagine half the world’s population with myopia. It’s frightening, given myopia’s association with an increased risk of cataract, glaucoma, visual impairment, retinal detachment, myopic macular degeneration, and blindness. In his article, clinician-scientist Associate Professor Chameen Samarawickrama tells us that seven years ago, the global potential loss associated with uncorrected myopia was conservatively estimated at US$244 billion per annum. As the prevalence of myopia increases, so will the cost to society. So, yes, we face a myopia pandemic and Assoc Prof Samarawickrama believes the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic can help eye health professionals (ECPs) on this new front line. For many ECPs in Australia and New Zealand, arresting the progression of myopia in children is already a major part of daily practice. Soft contact lenses, rigid orthokeratology lenses, various spectacle lenses, and atropine drops all have their proponents. These management options are discussed in detail in this, the Myopia Issue of mivision. But we also look at the under-researched issue of myopia control in adults. Philip Cheng looks at the options for myopia management for those patients who continue to progress into adulthood. Myopia management is a challenging area, requiring specialised communication skills, vigilance, and constant dedication to keep abreast of new research and development. But for many of our authors, including Soo-Jin Nam, Oliver Woo, Narelle Hine and Hannah Maher, it has also become one of the most rewarding areas of practice with the opportunity to develop long-term relationships with patients.

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