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Is Myopia Permanent?

By Marta Manning
Myopia requires specialist medical care. Learn about ways to cure myopia permanently.

If you have myopia (nearsightedness), you may notice that your symptoms are not getting better on their own. Faced with the thought of wearing glasses your whole life, you may wonder if myopia is permanent. Are there any cures for nearsightedness?

Myopia occurs when your cornea (thin outer layer of your eye) is overly curved or if your eyeball has a football shape. The curvature prevents light from focusing properly. People with myopia may have trouble seeing road signs when driving or focusing on the blackboard at school. The condition tends to run in families and occurs in about 30% of Americans, says the American Optometric Association. Chronic illnesses like diabetes can cause nearsightedness in some people.

Certain lifestyle factors can worsen nearsightedness. Myopia is becoming more common as people spend more time looking at screens and not getting enough time outside, says the Optometrists Network.

Is Nearsightedness Permanent?

Nearsightedness symptoms usually first appear in school-age children. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, myopia tends to get worse after puberty begins and levels off around age 20.

“Myopia, or nearsightedness, is usually permanent,” ophthalmologist and Manhattan Eye director Yuna Rapoport, MD, MPH, tells WebMD Connect to Care. “There are cases when it is temporary, like when it is secondary to a particular medication, but usually it is from the shape of a person's eye. It is caused by the eye being too long or the cornea too steep. There are many solutions to nearsightedness, such as glasses, soft contacts and rigid gas permeable lenses.”

Although you can’t reverse nearsightedness on your own, you may be able to keep it from getting worse by changing your lifestyle, says the Optometrists Network. Reducing screen time, giving your eyes a chance to recover by spending time outside and not wearing your glasses all day can help.

Permanent Solutions for Nearsightedness

Surgical methods can correct myopia permanently, giving you years of clear vision. Depending on your eye characteristics, overall health, age and lifestyle, your doctor may recommend one of these procedures:

  • LASIK(laser in situ keratomileusis): During LASIK, a surgeon uses a focused laser to change the shape of your cornea by removing small amounts of tissue.
  •  PRK(photorefractive keratectomy): Like LASIK, PRK surgery reshapes the cornea with the use of a laser. One major difference is that in PRK the surgeon permanently removes the top layer of corneal tissue.
  • RLE(refractive lens exchange): Using a lens implant that sits inside the eye, RLE provides vision correction for myopia.

Schedule an appointment with your optometrist or ophthalmologist to see if you are a good candidate for surgical vision correction. Working closely with your doctor can set you on the path to seeing clearly for years to come.

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