[Partner Post] Essilor Helps Raise Awareness About Myopia on World Sight Day


DALLAS—Essilor of America, the leading manufacturer of optical lenses in the U.S., is committed to improving lives by improving sight every day but during World Sight Day last month, the company focused efforts nationwide to drive attention and action for the growing myopia issue in the U.S., starting with its own campus. In recognition of World Sight Day and its mission, Essilor and the Essilor Vision Foundation provided vision exams and glasses to more than 350 children at Essilor's U.S. headquarters in Texas, at no cost to their families.

Additionally, the company expects to announce the winner of its 20/20 Vision Pledge sweepstakes, and in partnership with the Essilor Vision Foundation will reward an entire school with free glasses in 2020 for pledging to prioritize quality vision. This year also marks 1 million pairs of eyeglasses given to children in need by the Essilor Vision Foundation, in support of preparing future generations for success in school and life.

Millicent Knight, OD, FAAO, FAARM, senior vice president customer development, Essilor of America, said, “As subject matter experts on myopia, eyecare professionals know how important clear and comfortable vision is, especially to a child’s development. We saw World Sight Day as a big moment to raise awareness because we know that myopia is about more than clear vision. The risk for retinal pathologies and other ocular diseases increases tenfold for patients who do become high myopes. We believe everyone in the eyecare community has a role to play.”

Ryan Parker, OD, director of professional development for Essilor America, said, “Myopia is growing at alarming rates, and studies show that nearly half of all children under the age of six haven’t received comprehensive eye examinations. We now have research that shows children are at high risk for fast progression. These children will have an increased chance of sight-threatening conditions later in life if their myopic progression is not appropriately managed. Identifying these children early and intervening with effective management options is key to preserving sight for this population.”

Pete Hanlin, ABOM, senior director professional services & ophthalmic operations, also pointed out, “The Clinical and Epidemiologic Research (CLEERE) study found the best predictor of whether a child would develop myopia was the current prescription of the child.” Hanlin explained that a 6-year-old child should have at least +0.75D of hyperopia. If she or he has less than +0.75D at age 6, the child is likely to develop myopia. The amount of plus power the child should have decreases until age 11. If a child is emmetropic at age 11, he or she is likely to not develop myopia.

“This is important, because historically a child who is emmetropic at age 6 has received no treatment plan. However, recent findings indicate a 6 year old who is emmetropic can and should be put on a myopia management plan,” Hanlin said.

The American Optometric Association recommends parents bring infants six to 12 months of age to an eyecare professional for an assessment and then again for an exam at age three and age five before entering kindergarten. Dr. Parker added, “Raising awareness among eyecare professionals about the importance of treating myopia early to avoid eye health issues later in life and making education resources available to help practitioners improve their myopia management skills are keys to helping children and families.”