The multidisciplinary program aims to bring myopia management tools to under-resourced children across the US.
There is a significant discrepancy in access to myopia management tools across the US, and CooperVision is teaming up with 3 US optometry schools to lessen it. The New England College of Optometry (NECO), Illinois College of Optometry (ICO), and Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS), are working alongside CooperVision to lead a pilot group for extended myopia treatment. The program will begin in 2024 following inaugural activities in Boston and Chicago (pictured here).
“All children deserve accessible, quality eye care to protect their future eye health. We are leading the conversation to identify long-term solutions to overcome access inequity for kids with myopia,” Michele Andrews, OD, vice president of professional and government affairs, Americas, at CooperVision, said in a press release. “Hand-in-hand with several academic partners who share our vision, this initiative represents a major advancement in addressing the childhood myopia epidemic.”
The scalable program is built to grow. The beginning of the partnership with optometry school faculty, residents, and students is intended to identify and treat children in need as well as engaging other multidisciplinary community partners. Following successful implementation, CooperVision intends to expand the program to additional schools.
“Forward-thinking, collaborative initiatives like this are critical to fight back against myopia’s pervasiveness, starting in our own neighborhoods,” said Greg Waldorf, OD, MPH, Associate Dean of Clinical Programs at MCPHS.
The initial phase provides qualifying children with MiSight 1 day soft contact lenses and Paragon CRT orthokeratology contact lenses for no cost until they no longer require myopia management. Each school will implement this differently. NECO and MCPHS plan to elevate myopia management within the affiliated community health clinics in Boston and central Massachusetts. Meanwhile, ICO will leverage the program to expand their existing care within Chicago Public Schools.
“This program will provide vital access to myopia management for children across the region who would otherwise be left out due to access and cost. This gift will ensure improved vision for learning and health outcomes in the years ahead,” Howard Purcell, OD, president of NECO, said in a press release.
Assessments will be conducted regularly throughout the year to gauge success and scale improvement. CooperVision intends to work alongside researchers form each school to aggregate and analyze data to fuel expansion and work toward long-term access solutions for communities.
“If we can collectively determine how to make myopia management accessible to more children, so many lives will be made better for decades—a heroic undertaking with immeasurable impact,” Mark Colip, OD, president of ICO, said in a press release.
"Beyond the direct benefit to children and families who participate, this initiative presents optometry students—the next generation of clinicians who will be at the leading edge of addressing the myopia epidemic—the chance to provide essential care within their communities. For more than a decade, CooperVision has shared that effectively combatting myopia will be a long-term effort involving a wide range of contributors. Today, we are taking one more step in that direction,” said Andrews.