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Myopia is reaching epidemic proportions in our world. It is projected that by 2050 half of the world’s population will be myopic. (1) Of this number 20% will have high myopia which can cause ocular disease that can result in blindness or vision impairment.(1) The consequences of this increase in prevalence is the pressure on eye health services both in the developing and developed world. The impact will be even greater in the developing world where we know that most countries battle to provide refractive services due to the prohibitive cost of eye wear or the lack of human resources.
The response to this public health challenge has to be led by Optometry which has refractive services as a core aspect of its scope. A multifaceted approach is needed:
Optometry has the ability, the infrastructure, solutions and the responsibility to address this issue. What is needed however a global effort that is coordinated and focused. Should optometrists not respond to this challenge, history will judge the profession harshly for failing at a time when our HIV, Malaria, Diabetes moments have arrived.