Dubai, United Arab Emirates: The condition of short-sightedness, known as myopia, is increasing every year and is forecast to affect more than half of the Middle East’s population by 2050 (52.7%), a 38.2% increase from the 14.5% of people affected in the region in 2000.
Professor Kovin Naidoo, CEO of the Brien Holden Vision Institute, has issued a warning about the importance of proper diagnosis and the treatment of myopia, specifically in children, ahead of his participation in the Vision-X Opticare Conference, running alongside the Vision-X exhibition, 6-8 December at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
He said: “Myopia affects 1.9 billion people worldwide and continues to rise on a year-by-year basis. When we start to look at the 19 million children who are visually impaired, we can see 90-95% of those in the 5-10 year old bracket suffer from myopia. This is a cause for major concern if they are not being treated.
“We have to make eye health for children a priority and instil habits that will last a lifetime. By providing eye health programs that can be integrated into existing health services we can ensure the biggest impact.”
Professor Naidoo will be joined by five colleagues from the Brien Holden Vision Institute, a global humanitarian company backed by 40 years of experience in eye health and vision care, to address the Middle East’s optical industry professionals on the opening day of the Vision-X Opticare Conference.
Under the theme, Our Children’s Vision, presentations on Sunday 6 December will include how to manage myopia in children, the causes behind low vision in young people and the effectiveness of chromagen lenses in dyslexia and colour deficiency.
Other speakers on the first day include Zainab Alkhudairy, Orthoptist from King Fahad University Hospital in Saudi Arabia; Dr Mohammed Hassan Khalaf, Managing Director of Delmon Optic & Low Vision Centre; and Dr Devkani Suresh Kuemar, Optometrist at Moorfield Eye Hospital.
Professor Naidoo added, “Healthy eyes and vision are instrumental to children’s development yet millions are left visually impaired as they have no access to proper eye care and treatment. Approximately 90% of the world’s visually impaired live in developing countries. That’s what prompted us to set up the ‘Our Children’s Vision’ campaign, with our goal to provide services to 50 million children by 2020.
“Around 80% of what a child learns is through vision and with levels of myopia expecting to rise from 1.9 billion to 4.95 billion by 2050 it is crucial we act now in order to secure the eye health of the next generation.”
The Brien Holden Vision Institute, founded in 1976 in Australia as a single research unit, has grown to provide eye care on a global scale with centres in 15 countries. The institute engages in scientific innovations for the most common eye conditions, providing correctional products and treatment.
Standing by the fact that eyesight is a fundamental right for all human beings, the Institute has devoted time and resources to aid countries where governments are not providing the basics in eye care.
The Vision-X Opticare Conference, supported by EMCO – the Eastern Mediterranean Council of Optometry (part of the World Council of Optometry) and Eyezone Institute of Opticianry & Private Training, is a must attend for industry professionals, who will get a close-up view and analysis of the latest healthcare topics and techniques, and improve their professional knowledge and skills. The full conference programme has been awarded 15 Credit Points by Dubai Health Authority, making it a key learning event for ECPs.
The three day Vision-X exhibition is the region’s biggest optical health, eyecare and eyewear business event and the only trade event for the optical industry in the MENA region. The expo will showcase the latest in designer glasses and bespoke frames with many big name brands setting up displays for launching new products in the region.
The Vision-X VP Awards, sponsored by fashion brand distributor Vision & Fashion will celebrate the best products in the business. A joint initiative between Vision-X and Vision Plus magazine, the awards will see winners judged by retailers and practitioners announced at an opening night gala party – a glittering evening of celebration, recognition and networking.