Can Nearsightedness Improve with Age?

by Mar 4, 2024

Nearsightedness is the eye condition in which things far away are blurry without glasses or contact lenses. Most of the time, children and young adults will gradually increase in the amount of nearsightedness over time with growth. However, there are interventions to prevent progression in children and reduce the amount of myopia at adulthood. In adults, it is not uncommon for cataracts or other eye conditions to impact the prescription in the eyes and reduce the amount of nearsightedness with age.


Understanding Nearsightedness

When light enters the eyes, it should focus perfectly on the retina in the back of the eye. When this occurs, vision is clear and well focused.

However, if the power of the eye does not exactly match the length of the eye, there will be a difference and the light will not focus perfectly on the retina.

When light focuses behind the retina, it creates nearsightedness because things at a distance will be blurry without glasses or contact lenses.

The glasses or contact lenses will change the location of the focus and place it directly on the retina for clear vision.


Can Nearsightedness Improve with Age?

As children grow, their eyes may lengthen as well. This growth can contribute to an increase in the amount of nearsightedness over time.

The average amount of progression in a year is about a half a diopter of myopia. This holds true until growth has slowed in the late teens or early twenties.

This increase in nearsightedness can often be noticed as the vision with an older pair of glasses is no longer as clear as when you first got the glasses.


Slowing Nearsightedness Progression

To prevent or slow the progression of nearsightedness, there are new technologies which help prevent the eye from lengthening abnormally.

These techniques are collectively called myopia control and include soft contact lenses, hard contact lenses, and eye drops.

Each of these methods has a slightly different mechanism by which it acts on the eyes to counteract the typical progression of nearsightedness.

While these methods can prevent an increase in nearsightedness, they do not reverse or improve already existing myopia.


Eye Conditions that Change Nearsightedness

In adulthood, there are conditions which change the refractive power of the eyes and therefore can result in a change in the amount of nearsightedness.

These types of conditions often are chronic and slowly impact the prescription over years rather than making large changes at once.

Most commonly, cataracts can lead to a shift in the prescription that makes the eyes less nearsighted.

While not all cataracts will have this result, in fact, many will actually lead to more nearsightedness, it is a possibility.

Other conditions that change the cornea, lens, and retina can alter the focusing system and improve nearsightedness.


Should You Expect Nearsightedness to Improve?

While it is possible to observe nearsightedness to improve or reduce over time, it is the exception rather than the expectation.

Usually, nearsightedness will be a permanent, unchanging characteristic of the eyes based on the anatomy of the eye.


Our eye doctors at Wilmington Family Eye Care in Wilmington, DE excel in the prescription of glasses, contact lenses and the diagnosis of a variety of eye diseases. Call our optometrists at 302-299-1286 or schedule an eye exam appointment online if you would like to learn more about nearsightedness and if nearsightedness can improve with age. Our eye doctors, Drs. Daniel Baruffi, Amy Quan, Patricia Jones, and Joseph Goldberg provide the highest quality optometry services and eye exams in Wilmington, Delaware and its surrounding areas.

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