Myopia or nearsightedness is an eye condition where objects close by look clear, but faraway ones do not. Eye doctors diagnose myopia through an eye exam. The exam assesses how the eye bends light and the eyes' overall health.
Myopia progression is common in children, but it also affects adults. Recent studies show that more than 20 percent of adults have increasing nearsightedness. By age 18, vision becomes stable for most adults with myopia. But the condition continues to worsen for one-quarter of adults with myopia.
It is normal for myopia to worsen during the preteen and teenage years. These are growth-spurt years where the body and eye structures grow. At 20 years old, myopia becomes more stable. But it is also possible for it to continue into adulthood.
Worsening nearsightedness in adults has become increasingly worrying among eye doctors. That is because it puts patients at risk for serious eye illnesses such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and retinal detachment.
If your eye exam results show you have myopia, your eye doctor will prescribe suitable treatments to manage the condition. Your treatment may involve:
Although myopia has no cure, treatment can help slow down its progression. Also, there are ways you can stop myopia from worsening and improve your general eye health. These include:
Spending too much time on the screen can exacerbate myopia. That is because staring at your screen for long hours makes your eyes use more time looking at a nearby object. As a result, your eyeball becomes longer, preventing your eyes from bending light correctly.
Take regular breaks from your activity to look at objects far away.
Exercise the 20-20-20 rule when looking at your screen or reading. After 20 minutes of a close-up activity, give your eyes a 20-second break to look at something else at least 20 feet away. That will allow your eye muscles to rest and improve distance vision.
Spending more time outside allows your eyes to focus on objects at various distances. That has a protective outcome for your eyes, in that your eyes exercise long-distance vision and slow down myopia.
Exposure to the sun's damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays can increase your myopia. Too much sun exposure can hurt your eyes even when you are not nearsighted and worsen the condition if you are.
The nicotine in cigarettes can affect your eyesight. It can trigger changes in how your eyes bend light and make myopia worse.
Your best bet for stopping myopia from worsening is to see your eye doctor regularly. That way, your eye doctor can advise you based on your condition and progress.
For more on how you can prevent myopia from getting worse as an adult, visit Gregg Family Eye Care at our office in Secane or North Wales, Pennsylvania. Call (610) 831-4300 or (215) 699-2020 to book an appointment today.