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Does Myopia Get Worse with Age?

A woman with glasses holding her phone in one hand and squinting to read as she struggles with myopia.

Myopia is a refractive error that occurs when the shape of the eye causes light to focus in front of the retina instead of directly on it. This results in blurred vision when looking at distant objects, making it difficult to perform tasks like driving or watching a movie. However, the impact of myopia extends beyond just visual impairment, and many people wonder whether it gets worse with age. 

While it’s common for myopia to worsen during the pre-teen and teen years, it tends to stabilize once you reach your early 20s. But that’s not always the case for everyone. Some individuals might see their myopia continue to get worse as they age due to various factors like genetics and environmental influences.

Regular eye exams with your eye doctor at Eyes on Plainville can help keep tabs on your myopia to make sure that it doesn’t get worse.

Myopia & Aging Eyes

As we age, our vision can go through some changes, and myopia is no exception. It’s pretty common for people to experience shifts in their vision as they get older. This can be due to the onset of various eye conditions or even just the natural aging process.

The Beaver Dam Eye Study found that the prevalence of myopia actually declines as we age. They reported a decrease from 42.9% among those aged 43-54 down to 14.4% among those who are 75 years or older.

A child with large round glasses sitting on a couch and holding a smartphone very close to his face

Myopia & Children

Myopia usually starts early, between the ages of 6 to 14–it’s one of the most common eye conditions in kids. As they grow up, their condition will likely progress; in some cases, myopia can stabilize in the early 20s. However, in other cases, it can worsen over time. 

This is because the eye continues to grow and change throughout adolescence and young adulthood. When the eyes grow too long, the retina stretches thin and becomes more prone to damage. 

The thinning retina can lead to vision-threatening complications like retinal detachment, macular degeneration, and glaucoma, especially as we age. 

Risk Factors Associated with Myopia

Several factors increase the likelihood of developing myopia or having myopia progress with age. Genetic predisposition, environmental factors like reading, screen time, and lifestyle factors like lack of outdoor activities are some examples. 

Time Spent Outdoors

Research suggests a significant correlation between the amount of time children spend outdoors and their risk of developing myopia. 

One study indicated that children who spent considerable time outside were over 4 times less likely to develop myopia compared to those who did not spend as much time outdoors. Another study proposed that increased outdoor activity could potentially prevent the onset of myopia.

Near-Work Activities

Children who frequently engage in near-work activities, such as reading or using electronic devices, may be at an elevated risk for myopia. It is hypothesized that these activities may exert additional strain on their eyes.

Myopia Management Treatments

At Eyes on Plainville, we offer a fully customizable myopia control program. Depending on the progression of your child’s myopia and considering factors such as individual needs and lifestyle, we may utilize a variety of treatments.

These solutions could include atropine drops, multifocal glasses or contacts, and orthokeratology (ortho-k) lenses. Rest assured, we will provide a comprehensive explanation of each solution and how it can benefit your child.

Additionally, aligning with healthy lifestyle choices such as taking breaks from near work and boosting outdoor activities can also lower the risk. 

Regular Eye Exams

Regular eye exams play a pivotal role in managing myopia. The earlier a treatment plan is established for your child, the greater the likelihood of minimizing the impact of myopia on their life.

Get Personalized Myopia Treatment in Plainville

Ultimately, managing myopia goes beyond just clear eyesight–it can significantly impact the quality of life and independence as we age. Speak with your eye doctor at Eyes on Plainville to explore your options and start managing your myopia early on. Get in touch with us today to start your personalized myopia treatment plan.

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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