What Causes Myopia to Worsen?

There are many known factors which promote worsening of myopia (short sightedness or near sightedness). Here is a list of those factors. Find out which ones are relevant to you or your affected relative and try to make changes so that you eliminate them and prevent worsening of short sightedness. It’s important to realize however that all factors are not modifiable.

  1. Constant wearing of glasses can cause worsening of myopia. Children with low myopia should not wear corrective glasses for near work. They should use them only for distance vision. Children with moderate to high myopia can wear glasses for both near and distance vision.
  2. Using glasses with overcorrection causes worsening of short sightedness. For example, if a child’s refractive error can be corrected with -2.0 diopter lens, it is desirable to use under corrected lens e.g.: -1.75 or -1.50 diopter. Using -2.0 or higher power may increase myopia in the long run.
  3. As the child grows, myopia generally worsens. After the age of about 20 years, its progression usually slows down and becomes stable as the person grows older. Obviously, age is not a modifiable factor to control myopia progression.
  4. Genetics and hereditary factors also contribute to worsening of myopia especially when both the parents of the child are myopic (short sighted). Genetics is also a non-modifiable factor.
  5. It has been shown by many studies that spending less or no time in outdoor activities causes worsening of myopia. This is probably related to the function of a circular muscle in the eye called as ciliary muscle.
  6. Inadequate exposure to violet light which is possible only during outdoor activities (and not possible with displays of devices and artificial indoor lights) also has been suggested as a factor responsible for progression of myopia.
  7. Too much near work of any nature is known to aggravate myopia.

So there are many factors such as heredity and age, which cannot be changed. The most important factors which you can easily take action on are:

  1. Reduce the duration of all kinds of activities which involve near work. Take frequent breaks if you cannot do so.
  2. Children with myopia should be encouraged to spend more time in outdoor activities especially in the daylight.
  3. Regular consultation with a qualified optometrist or ophthalmologist plays a major role in affective management of myopia and prevention of its worsening.
  4. Read this post to know how Atropine could help prevent progression of myopia.

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