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CooperVision and AOA launch The Myopia Collective

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CooperVision and the American Optometric Association (AOA) are collaborating to launch a new initiative called The Myopia Collective.

To get the rundown on this collaboration, Glance President Jaclyn Garlich, OD, FAAO, spoke with Jacquie Bowen, OD, vice president of the AOA Board of Trustees, and Michele Andrews OD, vice president of Professional and Government Affairs at Cooper Vision.

Hold up. Didn’t CooperVision just launch a myopia-based initiative?

Yes, but that was different … In December 2023, the company launched—in partnership with three top optometry schools—a multidisciplinary program to bridge myopia management access disparities for underserved pediatric patients across the United States.

Read our coverage here.

Ahh gotcha. Now tell me about this new collaboration.

The Myopia Collective is an initiative targeting optometrists and their allies in disrupting the current status quo of pediatric myopia care to develop a new standard.

Why focus on myopia?

As a leading cause of distance vision impairment across the globe, uncorrected myopia is also a common cause of vision loss.

In fact, by 2050, an estimated 50% of the world’s population is expected to be living with myopia—suggesting “significant increases in prevalence globally.”

Go on …

While a recent U.S-based survey found that over 60% of clinical practices provide some form of myopia management therapies to control progression for patients aged 18 and under, the need for more is clear.

Per Michele Andrews, OD, vice president, Professional and Government Affairs, Americas, CooperVision, disrupting the status quo and establishing a new standard of care for pediatric patients with myopia “is a monumental task, one that requires collective effort.”

"The AOA’s full and active participation in The Myopia Collective alongside CooperVision is an unmistakable sign of how critical this issue is to the eye health and vision care for Americans both today and in the decades to come,” Dr. Andrews stated.

And what’s the hope for this initiative?

According to AOA President Ronald L. Benner, the intent is for “engagement in myopia management at the practice level and outreach at the state and local levels will substantially increase—effective advocacy delivering tangible change.”

So who from the optometric field can join?

Per the initiative, “everyone within the optometric profession, regardless of their credentials or roles” is invited to become a member.

And what does membership include?

Members receive access to myopia-specific educational opportunities and resources, according to the AOA and CooperVision.

Plus, for members interested in serving as leaders of myopia control, the initiative is seeking “Change Agents”—optometrists from all U.S. states (and the District of Columbia [D.C.]) who will receive additional access to tools, resources, and training to:

  • Lead myopia control efforts for patients
  • Advocate for long-term, myopia-control-based community and policy changes

Explain how this works.

At least one Change Agent from each state + D.C. will be selected to take part in the following:

  • First-ever interactive educational workshop
    • Scheduled for September 2024 in Chicago, Illinois
    • Covers didactic, clinical, and practice management elements of myopia management with skills for legislative and community advocacy
    • Offers networking and collaborative opportunities with fellow clinicians
  • Receive support to implement these elements and skills into their local practice and communities

How do I apply to become a Change Agent?

Click here.

Note: The application deadline is May 17, 2024.

And when will these be selected?

The AOA and CooperVision will announce the initiative’s inaugural cohort of Change Agents during Optometry’s Meeting, scheduled for June 19-22, 2024, in Nashville Tennessee.

Lastly, where can interested ODs sign up for this initiative?

Click here to become a member.

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