New Global Myopia Awareness Coalition Survey Reveals Parents Need More Education About Myopia Treatment Options


BOULDER, Colo.—A new survey from The Global Myopia Awareness Coalition (GMAC) reveals that while parents remain focused on their children’s overall success, only 57 percent make regular appointments to stay on top of their children’s health. Parents ranked annual visits to the eye doctor as less important than visits to the dentist or pediatrician. In fact, only 27 percent of parents reported taking their children to an optometrist in the past year. This may be due to the misperceptions the survey also revealed about what comprehensive eye exams entail. The survey was conducted online by Dynata on behalf of GMAC among parents in the U.S. A total of 4,004 responses were collected between Sept. 6 and Sept. 13, 2019.

The survey also noted that while most parents (85 percent) said they were at least somewhat familiar with comprehensive eye exams, 88 percent also believed that comprehensive exams aren’t needed until their children enter school, and nearly half (48 percent) believed that a pediatrician could conduct them. In reality, an annual comprehensive eye exam should be scheduled for children as early as six months old, can only be conducted by an eyecare specialist, and are vital to diagnosing common vision problems like myopia, or nearsightedness, which can increase the risk of eye diseases later in life, GMAC pointed out.

Unlike regular visits to the dentist or pediatrician, parents reported waiting until something is “wrong,” like their children telling them they can’t see the whiteboard (66 percent), seeing their children squint more than normal (62 percent), or seeing their children hold materials far away (52 percent), in order to take them in for a comprehensive eye exam.

“We know parents will do just about anything to help their kids succeed, and healthy vision plays a big role in that, whether a child is able to express it to their parents or not,” said Matt Oerding, GMAC Board chairman and co-founder and CEO of Treehouse Eyes. “Knowing your children’s potential risk of myopia and taking action before it’s too late can benefit their academic and athletic performance, personal growth and overall health.”

GMAC is committed to increasing public awareness about myopia and ensuring parents set their children up for success today and in the future. Parents can make a difference in their children’s lives by proactively visiting an eye doctor to ask about new treatment options—beyond conventional glasses and contacts—that help slow the progression of myopia, the organization pointed out. As VMAIL recently reported, GMAC and its agency partner, Golin, are working with members and ECPs to develop future messaging campaigns.

GMAC is organized under the World Council of Optometry (WCO), and includes the following member companies which are leaders in the eyecare industry: Alcon, CooperVision Inc., Essilor, Euclid, Hoya, Jobson’s Review of Myopia Management and Jobson Medical Information, Menicon, Nevakar, Oculus, SightGlass Vision, Sydnexis, SynergEyes and Visioneering Technologies, Inc.