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The Myopia Collective selects over 60 ODs to lead US myopia control efforts

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4 min read

CooperVision and the American Optometric Association’s (AOA) newly-launched, U.S.-based, and myopia-focused initiative has named its inaugural cohort of optometrist (OD) Change Agents.

The announcement comes during the 2024 AOA Optometry’s Meeting, held June 19-22, in Nashville, Tennessee.

First, let’s talk about the prevalence of pediatric myopia.

As of 2024, myopia affects an estimated 42% of the U.S. population—including 36% of pediatric patients.

Plus: Based on estimations from the 2020 U.S. Census, over 39 million annual eye exams are needed for each myopic patient to be evaluated twice per year (biannually).

  • The crux: There are approximately 70,000 eyecare professionals (ECPs; including ODs and ophthalmologists) practicing in the United States—and not all provide pediatric care
    • To meet the national eyecare standards for myopic pediatrics: Each ECP would need to care for 278 patients on a biannual basis

On a global front: Nearly 50% of the population is expected to have myopia by 2050.

Now give me a refresh on this initiative.

Announced in April 2024, The Myopia Collective is a nationwide partnership focused on encouraging ODs and their industry allies to shift the current status quo of pediatric myopia care from correction and management to comprehensive treatment.

Why is this shift critical?

Michele Andrews, OD, vice president, Marketing and Professional Affairs, Americas, CooperVision, previously stated that 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.”

Click here to watch Dr. Andrews and AOA Board of Trustees Vice President Jacquie Bowen, OD, speak with Glance President Jaclyn Garlich, OD, FAAO, on the initiative’s purpose and goals.

Moving on to these Change Agents …

These applicant-selected positions are reserved for ODs from across the country (including the District of Columbia) interested in leading the myopia control initiative.

The selection process: At least one OD representing one U.S. state + DC

Their purpose:

  • Lead local/regional myopia control efforts for patients across the country
  • Advocate for long-term, myopia-control-based community and policy changes

Per Dr. Andrews: These agents are intended to “be the driving force behind The Myopia Collective.”

Will they receive any training?

Yes! In September, the 60+ Change Agents will participate in a first-ever, interactive and educational, multi-day training workshop in Chicago, Illinois.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Techniques for growing a myopia management practice:
    • Didactic
    • Clinical
    • Practice management
  • Strategies for state and federal outreach
    • Legislative and community advocacy skills
  • Updates on current landscape of pediatric vision

Plus: ODs will be able to network and collaborate with their fellow Change Agents as well as receive support to implement the myopia management elements and skills to implement into their practices and local communities.

That’s exciting! Can you tell me who these agents are?

I could … but with over 60 ODs to name, we’d be here a while.

Click here to see the complete list of ODs (all 68!) who made the cut, broken down by state.

Lastly, I’m interested in joining this initiative … how do I become a member?

The Myopia Collective welcomes all within the optometric profession—regardless of their credentials or roles.

Change Agents are just one part of this pivotal initiative, according to AOA President Steven Reed,  OD.  “We invite everyone to become members of The Myopia Collective, symbolizing a unified dedication to advancing myopia management across the profession.”

As a bonus: Members will receive access to educational resources, exclusive insights on myopia best practices, and be among the first to receive community news and updates, Dr. Reed noted.

Click here to become a member.

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