The Eye Foundation and CooperVision Specialty EyeCare team up to fight progressive myopia in young people
Eye care specialists are sounding the alarm: severe nearsightedness (myopia) is becoming more common and at an increasingly younger age. The degree of nearsightedness is also becoming more extreme. Children who are nearsighted at an early age are at greater risk for unpleasant eye problems or for becoming visually impaired. As a parent/caregivers, you obviously want to avoid that. Once sight has been lost, it cannot be restored. The Eye Foundation and CooperVision Specialty EyeCare (SEC) are both committed to this and are joining forces.
Education is needed to increase awareness and timely recognition of myopia. The Eye Foundation and contact lens manufacturer CooperVision SEC are reinforcing each other in this regard. The two organizations have been working together for a long time to combat the problem of myopia in children, but this has now also been made official by the new Director of the Eye Foundation, Monique van Bijsterveld, and Alex Lamse, Managing Director of CooperVision SEC. The organizations are working together when it comes to creating awareness among parents/caregivers and children about myopia and learning from each other’s expertise. Both operate with their own campaigns, but with the same goal: to care for children’s eyes and prevent eye disease later in life.
A lot of close-up viewing and little outdoor play in particular are causing more and more myopia in children. A quarter of 13-year-olds in the Netherlands are currently nearsighted. Because a child’s eye is still growing, nearsightedness develops more rapidly in young people. If you become nearsighted at a young age, you are much more likely to develop serious eye problems later and become visually impaired. Timely check-ups are therefore important, and education of parents, children as well as teachers helps. It is expected that by 2050 as much as 50% of the world’s population will be nearsighted. Researchers are even talking about a myopia epidemic.
The Eye Foundation launches “20-20-2 campaign” in schools
The Eye Foundation calls on everyone to take responsibility for children and adolescents who don’t see the consequences and recommends adopting the 20-20-2 rule of life for healthy children's eyes. Here’s how it works: after 20 minutes of close-up viewing (for example, on screens), spend 20 seconds looking into the distance and spend at least 2 hours outside every day.* Vitamin D and light intensity outdoors have a beneficial effect on the retina. To disseminate this rule widely, the Eye Foundation launched the “Join the 20-20-2 campaign” in elementary schools. The goal is for teachers to entrench this rule while teaching, thereby helping children maintain healthy eyes through play.
“It's so obvious for your eyes to do it, for you to be able to see everything. But, unfortunately, it’s not that obvious. More and more people, including children, are experiencing impaired vision, even though it’s preventable. Then it’s only natural that we at the Eye Foundation should do everything we can to help prevent this, isn't it? We hope to reach the parents and teachers of the Netherlands with our message and thus keep children’s eyes healthy. Only by working together can we achieve our goal,” explains Monique van Bijsterveld, Director of the Eye Foundation.
CooperVision Specialty EyeCare launches “Eye Check Weeks”
As an extension of this awareness campaign in schools, CooperVision SEC, together with contact lens specialists and optometrists the company has trained to be Myopia Management Experts, are organizing national Eye Check Weeks. In addition to education, proper treatment is also important for people with progressive myopia (nearsightedness). Glasses or “regular” lenses restore sharp vision but do not inhibit the myopia process. CooperVision SEC, a manufacturer of custom contact lenses, has special lenses for this purpose that can be customized for each child, if necessary. The Myopia Management Experts help parents and children identify myopia in a timely manner. For information, parents and caregivers can visit www.ikkijkverder.nl. There they can also find the address of the nearest expert for an eye exam for their child.
“By joining forces with the Eye Foundation to fight the growing myopia problem among children, we can raise awareness among even more parents, caregivers and children about the importance of good eye care. We seek each other out in our knowledge and expertise, and strengthen each other when it comes to educating about myopia. Often myopia is not immediately noticeable, but if it is recognized and mitigated in time, serious eye problems can be prevented," explains Alex Lamse, Managing Director CooperVision SEC.
About the Eye Foundation
Since 1947, the Eye Foundation has made it possible for everyone to do something about the enormous increase in blindness, impaired vision and eye diseases in the Netherlands. We do this through scientific research, education and awareness.
The problem is massive. The number of people with eye disease or disorders is growing rapidly, and people often continue to suffer from eye problems for too long, so that treatment is given too late and the damage is permanent. The enormous impact of severe impaired vision, blindness and eye disease on daily life is often greatly underestimated.
About CooperVision Specialty EyeCare
CooperVision Specialty EyeCare (SEC) is a developer, manufacturer and supplier of both hard (RGP) and soft contact lenses. The Eerbeek-based contact lens manufacturer offers special lenses for children that are scientifically proven to inhibit myopia. In 2017, the company organized the first congress on myopia in the Netherlands. In the meantime, over 600 eye care professionals have been trained as Myopia Management Experts. CooperVision SEC’s mission is to enable optimal visual acuity for every person worldwide, regardless of the condition of the eye. So that everyone can experience his or her world to the fullest.
For more information, please contact:
Eye Foundation contact person:
Elianne Wiersma, PR & Communications, [email protected], 06-57269744.
CooperVision SEC contact person:
Sifra Hissink, Marketing & Communications, [email protected], 0313-677689.
Holden BA, Fricke TR, Wilson DA et al. Global Prevalence of Myopia and High Myopia and Temporal Trends from 2000 through 2050. Ophthalmology. 2016; 123:1036-42.
 NOS.nl Kwart 13-jarigen bijziend, onderzoekers waarschuwen voor telefoongebruik (Quarter of 13-year-olds nearsighted, researchers warn about phone use). Jun, 2018.
 Rose KA, Morgan IG, Ip J, et al. Outdoor Activity Reduces the Prevalence of Myopia in Children. Ophthalmology 2008.