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Can Myopia Be Reversed?

A child with glasses standing, holding a smartphone very close to his face

Myopia, or nearsightedness, affects approximately 1.45 billion people worldwide and represents a significant health concern in modern society. It’s a widespread visual impairment—but can it be reversed? 

While technology now exists to slow myopia, it’s still not a reversible condition. Your optometrist can help determine whether you or your child can use myopia control methods to prevent progression.

Understanding Myopia

Myopia is a common vision condition in which you see close objects clearly but distant objects blurry. It usually develops in childhood and becomes worse as the eyes grow. The elongation of the eyeball and the increased curve of the cornea are the primary physical causes of myopia. 

This stretching of the eye’s natural shape moves the focal point in front of the retina, instead of directly on it, which is critical for clear vision. 

Current Treatment Options

The most common treatments for myopia correction include:

  • Prescription Glasses & Contact Lenses: These help to bend light as it enters the eye, ensuring it focuses on the retina correctly.
  • Refractive Surgery: Procedures like LASIK or PRK can reshape the cornea to improve how light rays are focused on the retina.

While these treatments are effective solutions for managing myopia, they are not designed to reverse its progression. They are merely addressing the symptom, not the underlying cause.

Research on Myopia Reversal

The pursuit of myopia reversal has led to several studies and emerging findings that offer hope to those seeking a permanent solution. Some of the most promising methods include:

  • Orthokeratology (Ortho-K): A nonsurgical treatment where patients wear specially designed gas-permeable contact lenses overnight to reshape the cornea. Studies suggest that ortho-K may slow the progression of myopia.
  • Pharmacological Treatments: Atropine eye drops are being prescribed to children to influence the growth of the eye and, in some cases, have been shown to slow the progression of myopia. 
  • Bifocal and Multifocal Lenses: Some studies propose that bifocal and multifocal spectacle lenses could slow down the progression of myopia in children.

While these methods cannot reverse changes to vision that have already occurred, they can slow the progression of the condition and help protect children’s vision into adulthood.

Preventive Measures

While adults can also benefit from myopia control, the key to managing myopia progression is to take preventive measures early on.

Lifestyle Changes

Encouraging a myopia-friendly lifestyle can significantly reduce the risk of developing myopia or keep it from worsening. This includes:

  • Balancing Screen Time: Reduce the time spent on computers, tablets, and smartphones, all of which can contribute to eye strain and myopia progression.
  • Good Reading Habits: Create proper reading conditions with adequate lighting and keep the text at an appropriate distance.

Outdoor Activities

Studies have shown that increased outdoor time, particularly in daylight, is linked to a lower risk of myopia progression. The exact reasons for this correlation are not fully understood. Still, they could be related to the intensity of natural light and a broader field of vision that comes with outdoor activities.

Eye Exercises

While not a guaranteed method for reversing myopia, simple eye exercises can alleviate strain and support overall eye health:

  • Palming: Rub your hands together to create heat, and then gently place your palms over your closed eyes without touching the eyeballs. This should provide a comforting, pitch-black space to rest the eyes.
  • Focus Shifting: Focus on an object in the distance, then shift your focus to an object nearby. Repeat this several times to help your eyes adjust to different distances.

While these exercises are not a cure for myopia, they can be beneficial for eye comfort and keeping the condition stable.

A male optometrist uses a medical device to examine the eyes of a young child and look for potential eye problems.

Managing Myopia Progression

The following strategies can help manage and possibly slow down the progression of myopia:

  • Regular Eye Exams: It’s essential for children and adults with myopia to have regular eye exams to monitor changes in their vision and adjust treatments as needed.
  • Proper Control of Contributing Factors: Managing contributing health issues can help prevent rapid progression. For instance, diabetes can significantly worsen eye diseases, including myopia. 
  • Educating Family & Children: The more a family understands the condition, the better the support system for the patient will be. This includes understanding the importance of adhering to prescribed treatments and lifestyle adjustments.

Taking an active role in understanding and managing myopia progression is critical for long-term eye health. Always consult a qualified eye care professional for personalized advice and treatment options.

Find Myopia Control in Plainville

While a definitive method for reversing myopia is not yet available, ongoing research is exploring new treatments. In the meantime, proactive management through lifestyle changes, corrective measures, and myopia control strategies from the professionals at Eyes on Plainville can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals with myopia.

Schedule an appointment for an eye exam to explore myopia control methods, keep your prescription up to date, and support your overall eye health. 

Dr. Sabrina Gaan

Written by Dr. Sabrina Gaan

Dr. Sabrina Gaan is the owner of Eyes on Plainville in Plainville, Massachusetts. She has a particular interest in myopia control and dry eye.

She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Biology from San Jose State University while earning her license as a dispensing optician. She decided to move to MA after her VA rotation in Jamaica Plain.

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