Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a condition where you have trouble seeing objects that are at a distance. If you have been nearsighted since you were a kid, you might have noticed that your vision got worse during your teenage years and better as you became an adult. According to Cleveland Clinic, myopia progresses as you grow older and sudden nearsightedness during your later life can indicate more serious eye damage.
Does Myopia Get Better or Worse With Age?
“Myopia tends to get worse during childhood and adolescence and stabilizes by early adulthood,” Yuna Rapoport, MD, an ophthalmologist at Manhattan Eye, New York tells WebMD Connect to Care.
According to Mayo Clinic, nearsightedness occurs when your eye is not structured correctly. This structural change happens during your growing-up years when your eyeball gets elongated along with the rest of your body.
Myopia can also happen when the cornea, the outermost layer of your eye, is too curved. In both these conditions, the light entering your eye does not focus correctly and blurs your vision when you see long distance. You may be able to read your phone messages or a book clearly but things like road signs may be blurry and difficult to read.
The rate of progression of myopia varies from person to person and may be gradual or fast. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, your eyes have completely developed by the time you are 20, and your nearsightedness will not change much until you are 40.
“If you are over 60 and have noticed your myopia getting worse, then it could be because of cataract,” Rapoport says. According to Mayo Clinic, people with cataracts experience cloudy or blurry vision over time and may need LASIK eye surgery to fix this. This is a safe and quick operation with most patients going home the same day as the surgery.
Myopia can also get temporarily worse due to changes on the surface of your cornea. This can be brought on by dryness in the eye or injuries to the cornea, such as a scratch, and can happen at any age, according to Rapoport. “Diagnosing and treating the underlying cause is crucial to managing myopia,” Rapoport says.
Myopia is a common condition that affects around 25% of Americans. According to Mayo Clinic, it runs in families or can even be caused due to your lifestyle. Your eye doctor may suggest glasses, contact lenses, or laser surgery such as LASIK to treat myopia.
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