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Can Myopia Be Reversed?

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A young girl wearing glasses squints at a computer screen while doing homework.

For how common myopia is, it might be surprising to learn that there isn’t a “cure” for it. Short of developing superpowers after being bitten by a radioactive spider, there is currently no way to reverse myopia, though it can be managed, treated, and even slowed down

Myopia happens when the eye elongates over time, which affects how light focuses on the retina. Since it develops in childhood, it’s helpful for parents to know what they can do to help preserve their child’s clear sight.

Myopia Prevention

Nearly 30% of the US population has myopia, with many experts anticipating a sharp rise in those numbers in the coming decades. There’s also corresponding evidence that genetics may impact an individual’s likelihood of developing myopia, meaning if there is a history of myopia in your family, then your child may have an elevated risk.

Myopia is a progressive condition. However, there are proactive steps you can take to slow its progression.

Moderate Screen Time

While our parents’ warning about damaging our eyes by sitting too close to the TV just isn’t true, significant engagement with screens can incur eye strain. In our increasingly digital age, it’s impossible to get away from screens entirely, but we can help by encouraging our kids to build healthy relationships with their devices by following these tips:

  • Take regular breaks
  • Remember to blink
  • Reduce glare on the screen
  • Adjust screen brightness to match the light around you

The younger your children are, the less screen time is recommended. When in doubt, remember the 20-20-20 rule! Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away. Frequent shifting of your vision will keep your eye muscles strong and engaged! 

Spend Time Outdoors

While the subject needs more research, there are promising studies noticing a positive correlation between time spent outdoors and myopia prevention, with one estimating that an hour of outdoor time could help decrease the occurrence of myopia in children by 45%.

Outdoor play is essential for childhood development. Not only does it promote physical health and better sleep, but it also gives children an avenue to anchor themselves to the real world through interaction and collaboration with other children, engagement with STEM skills, and new ways to learn. Plus, their eyes get the opportunity to practice looking at objects at all sorts of distances!

Myopia Management

Myopia usually develops around age 6 and keeps progressing until the early twenties. If you notice that your child has difficulty reading, complains about not being able to see the board in school, squints to see distant objects, or holds screens/books close to their face, it’s worth booking them an eye appointment to see if they’re developing myopia.

A young girl with braids self-administers eye drops. One hand holds the eye drops while the other gently pulls her left eyelid down.

Your optometrist will work one-on-one with you to develop a comprehensive approach to managing myopia, which can include:

  • Atropine eye drops: This general eye drop medicine dilates the pupil and is typically used to relieve swelling and inflammation of the eye; small doses have been shown to slow myopia progression in children.
  • Vision therapy: Most useful for those whose myopia is stress-related, particularly if blurred distance vision is caused by the muscles controlling eye focusing spasming.
  • Orthokeratology: These special lenses are meant to be worn during sleep to help gently reshape the cornea into its proper shape (since myopia develops because the eye is misshapen); it is safe for children, though it does take some time to adjust to the feeling. The correction from these lenses is temporary and requires continual overnight use to maintain proper daytime vision.
  • Multifocal lenses: These contact lenses are designed for daytime use but have different prescription powers across the lens—for far vision, near vision, and everything that comes in between. The benefit of these lenses is that they reduce how hard the eye needs to work to switch between looking near and far.
  • Myopia glasses: The most common choice for myopia treatment. Because of their versatility, lenses for eyeglasses can be personalized for the severity of myopia.

Laser Eye Surgery

Once your eyes have stopped growing and your prescription has stabilized, laser eye surgery (like LASIK) can correct the eye shape and improve vision without glasses or contacts. 

LASIK creates a small flap in the top of the cornea and uses a laser to remove a small amount of tissue to reshape the eye. The amount of tissue that can be safely removed depends on the individual, which, in turn, influences the degree to which myopia can be resolved. 

Other refractive surgeries can be options for those whose corneas are too thin for LASIK or who are extremely near-sighted. Talk to your eye doctor to see if this option is right for you.

Visit Your Optometrist

Awareness of your eye health is the most important factor when controlling myopia. An optometric team can help guide you in managing and treating signs of myopia. Take the first step by booking an appointment with Fontana Optometric Group to get your and your kids’ vision checked today.

Written by Dr. Jason Flores

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