Some people tell the advice that aging decreases myopia because it usually stops getting worse in the 20s. But is that really true? Does age reverse myopia?
As a general rule, aging does not decrease myopia. In fact, it can increase myopia due to underlying conditions related to aging such as cataracts. The reason why older people have a lesser prevalence of myopia in studies is because they lived their lives in conditions not similar to ours.
While the argument that older people have a lesser prevalence of myopia is a good point in saying that myopia gets better with aging, it is not proven by research papers. In fact, there are many factors that can affect the data and in this article, we will discuss why that is the case.
Does Myopia Decrease with Age
Myopia does not decrease with age. In fact, it can even make it worse. There are eye conditions related to aging that can cause myopia to get worse with age. One of the most common are cataracts which can adjust the refraction of light in our eyes causing nearsightedness.
Myopia gets worse fast until people reach their 20s where the eyeball growth stops. The reason for the growth that causes myopia is still unknown to most experts but some links it to the outdoor effect.
The outdoor effect is a phenomenon where people who often go outside or children who play outside are less likely to develop myopia than people who just stay at home.
People who don’t go out and are just doing close-up work are more likely to develop myopia.
And since we are in an information age where screens and computers are all around us, more and more people are being nearsighted.
There is a concept known as spasm of accommodation where the muscles of the eyes get tired because of too much close-up work. This causes vision to go temporarily blurry causing what is called pseudomyopia.
Some people suggest that myopia starts from there. While pseudomyopia is temporary, it can cause myopia that it quite permanent.
Source: Lindberg L. Akkommodaatiospasmi [Spasm of accommodation]. Duodecim. 2014;130(2):168-73. Finnish. PMID: 24605432.
At What Age does Myopia Stop?
As a general rule, myopia progression stops at around age 20. Some people can still develop myopia in their mid to late 20s. After that aging will also become a factor. While the eyeball shape will not change much, there are underlying conditions related to aging that might affect myopia.
Myopia tends to stop at age 20, for some, it will be until their late 20s. This is because eyeballs might still grow until the late 20s.
It might be the end of their myopia progression, but there are more things to consider if you are checking if myopia can get worse.
One most common are cataracts, which can affect the refraction of light into your eyes. This can also lead to worsening vision and nearsightedness.
In a research published in The British Journal of Opthalmology, they even reported that people in their 70s can still progress myopia. With a greater chance of more than two lines of vision loss.
This is caused by maculopathy which is another term for Age Related Macular Degeneration.
Here is an article on foods that are good for Age-Related Macular Degeneration. It is a full guide and listed the most common foods proven by science to aid your eye health. Here is the link: Foods that are good for Age Related Macular Degeneration.
Source: Steidl, S M. “How does visual acuity change over time in adults with high myopia?.” The British journal of ophthalmology vol. 90,5 (2006): 524. doi:10.1136/bjo.2005.086421
Macular degeneration has also been linked to blue light exposure. However, there are still more research needed because most experiments are done in animal models and not human samples. Here is a more in-depth article on the topic, which got more in-depth about blue light: Is Wearing Blue Light Glasses Before Bed A Must?
Does Myopia Reverse with Age?
Myopia does not reverse with age. While there are research papers telling that the incidence of myopia of the older generation is a lot lesser than the younger generation, there are other factors to consider and does not prove the point that age can reverse myopia.
One such research proving the point in this is a research article published from the Clinical and the Epidemiologic Research. In the paper, they have discussed the phenomenon where older people get a lesser prevalence of myopia compared to other generations.
It might seem that data shows that the younger the generation, the more people get myopia. In fact, the data does not lie. But this research got more in-depth and investigated this.
Source: Mutti, D. O., & Zadnik, K. (2000). Age-Related Decreases in the Prevalence of Myopia: Longitudinal Change or Cohort Effect? Clinical and Epidemiologic Research, 41(8), 2103–2107.
It was found out in the research that it’s not that myopia gets better with the aging population. In fact, previous research article cited in this article proves otherwise.
The actual cause is the lifestyle we are having right now.
We now live in a world where the younger generation has access to a lot of close-up work. Children don’t go out to get enough sunlight.
Too much near or close-up work has a great impact in the prevalance of myopia.
Another is sunlight. A research paper from the JAMA Network Journals has concluded that the UVB rays from the sun reduced the likelihood of teens and young to have myopia or nearsightedness.
Source: The JAMA Network Journals. “Increased UVB exposure associated with reduced risk of nearsightedness, particularly in teens, young.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 December 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/12/161201114938.htm>.
Not only that we don’t go outside more often and not get enough sunlight. We are in a generation where near work is almost impossible to live without.
Computer screens and smart phones, are everywhere. Even children read and do closeup work a lot.
In fact, a report from the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, said that children ages 8-12 in the US alone spends 4-6 hours a day watching computer screens and that does not include book reading.
In conclusion, the reason for the myopia prevalence higher in the younger generation is their lifestyle itself and not that myopia is decreasing with age.
Can Myopia Improve Over Time?
Myopia can improve over time with proper practices to take care of your eye health. The most widely accepted practice to take care of your eyes is to do the 20/20/20 rule where every 20 minutes of closeup work, you look at things 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This relaxes the eye muscles which can really help your eyes.
But if you really want to improve your eyesight, here is a complete natural guide in reversing the condition.
However, there are more treatments available in Myopia that can be used. Here is a complete list of treatments for myopia which you can check: Myopia Treatments
As we can see, myopia can’t be decreased automatically without doing your part. It does not get better with age. In fact, if you don’t take care of your eye health, your eyesight might get worse.
Science has moved fast in addressing the problem with multiple treatments available to us. It is our choice in whatever we choose but the most important things is that we take care of our eyesight because it is necessary to have a good quality of life.