Myopia Progression: Does Short Sightedness Get Worse With Age?

Last updated on June 6th, 2017 at 11:02 am

Are your child’s eyes becoming worse every year? Some children who develop myopia (nearsightedness) have a continuous progression of their myopia throughout the school years, consisting of high school. And while the cost of annual eye tests and new glasses every year can be a monetary strain for some households, the long-term dangers related to myopia development can be even greater.

Worsening Myopia

More Children Are Becoming Nearsighted

Myopia is one of the most common eye conditions on the planet. The frequency of myopia is about 30 to 40 percent amongst adults in Europe and the United States, and approximately 80 percent or higher in the Asian population, especially in China.

And the incidence and occurrence of myopia are increasing. For example, in the early 1970s, only about 25 percent of Americans were nearsighted. However by 2004, myopia frequency in the United States had grown to nearly 42 percent of the population.

Classification Of Myopia Severity

Myopia — like all refractive errors — is measured in diopters (D), which are the exact same systems used to determine the optical power of eyeglasses and contact lenses.

Lens powers that correct myopia are preceded by a minus sign (–), and are generally determined in 0.25 D increments.

The severity of nearsightedness is frequently classified like this:

  • Mild myopia: -0.25 to -3.00 D
  • Moderate myopia: -3.25 to -6.00 D
  • High myopia: higher than -6.00 D

Mild myopia usually does not increase an individual’s risk for eye health issue. However moderate and high myopia in some cases are connected with serious, vision-threatening side effects. When this takes place in cases of high or extremely high myopia, the term degenerative myopia or pathological myopia in some cases is used.

Adults with high myopia generally began getting nearsighted when they were children, and their myopia advanced year after year.



Myopia-Related Eye Problems

Here is a quick summary of significant eye issues that sometimes are connected with nearsightedness, especially high myopia:

Myopia and cataracts. In a current research study of cataracts and cataract surgery results among Koreans with high myopia, researchers discovered cataracts had the tendency to establish sooner in highly myopic eyes compared with normal eyes.

And eyes with high myopia had a greater prevalence of existing together disease and complications, such as retinal detachment.

Also, visual results following cataract surgery were not as great among highly nearsighted eyes.

In an Australian research study of more than 3,600 adults ages 49 to 97, the odds of having cataracts increased considerably with greater amounts of myopia.

Plus, the chances of having a specific type of cataract was two times as high amongst topics with high myopia compared with those with low myopia.

Myopia and glaucoma. Myopia — even mild and moderate myopia — has been related to an increased frequency of glaucoma. In the same Australian research study pointed out above, glaucoma was discovered in 4.2 percent of eyes with moderate myopia and 4.4 percent of eyes with moderate-to-high myopia, compared with 1.5 percent of eyes without myopia.

The study authors concluded there is a strong relationship in between myopia and glaucoma, and that nearsighted individuals in the research study had a 2 to 3 times greater risk of glaucoma than participants without any myopia.

Also, in a Chinese study, glaucoma was significantly associated with the severity of myopia. Among adults age 40 or older, those with high myopia had more than two times the odds of having glaucoma as research study individuals with moderate myopia, and more than 3 times the chances of having the disease compared to people with mild myopia.

Compared to participants who either had no myopia or were farsighted, those with high myopia had a 4.2 to 7.6 times higher chances of having glaucoma.

Myopia and retinal detachment. In a study published in American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers discovered myopia was a clear risk factor for retinal detachment.

Results revealed eyes with moderate myopia had actually a four-fold increased risk of retinal detachment compared to non-myopic eyes. Amongst eyes with moderate and high myopia, the risk increased 10-fold.

The research study authors likewise concluded that nearly 55 percent of retinal detachments not brought on by trauma are attributable to myopia.

In the Korean research study pointed out above, among participants with high myopia due to extended eye shape (axial myopia), the incidence of retinal detachment after cataract surgery was 1.72 percent, compared with 0.28 percent among individuals with normal eye shape.

In a research study conducted in the UK of the occurrence of retinal detachment after cataract surgery, 2.4 percent of highly myopic eyes developed a separated retina within seven years following cataract extraction, compared with an incidence of 0.5 to 1 percent among eyes of any refractive error that went through cataract surgery.

Myopia and refractive surgery. Likewise, many people with high myopia are not well-suited for LASIK or other laser refractive surgery. (Highly myopic people might still ready candidates for phakic IOL implantation or other vision correction treatments, nevertheless.)

What You Can Do About Myopia Progression

The best thing you can do to help slow the development of your child’s myopia is to arrange yearly eye exams so your eye doctor can keep an eye on how much and how fast his or her eyes are altering.

Often, children with myopia do not complain about their vision, so be sure to set up annual tests even if they say their vision seems fine.

If your child’s eyes are altering quickly or frequently, ask your optometrist about ortho-k contact lenses or other myopia control procedures to slow the progression of nearsightedness.

Dr. D.Roberts / author of the article
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Comments: 1
  1. Kirk Edwards

    I am 30 years old male. I first started to discover blur in my range vision when I had to do with 19 years of ages. My vision was perfect always in the past. When I was 21, I got my first glasses (-0.50 both eyes). My prescription was steady for about 5 years, and after that, at the age of 28, I’ve got R. -0.75 L -1.00. A year later on (29 y.o.) I got soft contacts R-1.00 L -1.25. Doc also informed. me I had some astigmatism, which I never had in the past. Five months have. passed, and I currently observe that my lenses are not strong enough any. more (neither glasses nor contacts)… I’m a little concerned over changes in my vision, specifically for.

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