Myopia 一 more often referred to as nearsightedness 一 is a common eye refractive error in children and adults. Myopia makes objects in the distance appear blurry, and unfortunately, nearsightedness is considered a global epidemic. Approximately 27% of the global population has myopia, and this number is projected to skyrocket up to 52% by the year 2050.
Myopia is the leading cause of visual impairment, so it’s only natural to wonder if it can resolve on its own. That’s the question that Nicanor Lacsina, O.D., and Yelena Pinkhasova, O.D., answer below.
Does myopia resolve on its own?
With myopia, the shape of your eye stops the light entering your eye from bending properly. If your cornea is curved too much or your eye is longer than normal, the light hits the front of your retina rather than on your retina, which results in blurry vision.
Unfortunately, myopia doesn’t resolve on its own. Myopia 一 often diagnosed in childhood 一 can worsen during the teenage years, when growth spurts (fueled by growth hormones) lead to vision changes. That being said, myopia can stabilize over the years. As the growth hormones slow down, adults between the ages of 20 and 40 don’t often experience such intense shifts in vision.
Note: It’s still possible to experience vision changes as an adult, but the year-to-year changes aren’t as prevalent as during adolescence.
Slowing down the progression of myopia
Research has shown that spending time outdoors can provide many health benefits for your eyes. According to a 2017 meta-analysis and systematic review, researchers found that spending 76 minutes outside each day reduced the onset of myopia by 50%. However, researchers noted that this benefit only helped reduce myopia from developing; it didn’t have the same impact on people’s eyes who already had myopia. Although spending time outside won’t reverse myopia, it does give your eyes a chance to focus on distant objects, which is good for your eyes.
If you already have myopia, there are many things you can do to help support the health of your eyes:
- When focusing on items nearby (such as reading or knitting), take frequent breaks and focus on things in the distance
- Take frequent screen breaks and practice the 20-20-20 rule (every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break to look at something 20 feet in the distance)
- Eat colorful fruits and vegetables (strawberries, carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, and spinach) to increase your intake of eye-friendly vitamins
- Manage any underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, that can impact the health of your eyes
- Wear your glasses or contacts to reduce straining and squinting
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV damage
- Schedule regular eye exams
If you suspect that your myopia has worsened, don’t postpone your eye exam. Updating your prescription can help reduce eye fatigue, squinting, and the resulting headaches.
With over 20 years of experience in diagnosing and treating myopia, the expert team at Bainbridge Eye Care performs personalized and comprehensive eye exams for people ages 5+ living in the Norwood neighborhood of Bronx, New York City.
Get started by calling 718-306-9127 or requesting an appointment online today.