Nearsightedness (also called myopia) affects from 20% to 50% of North Americans and up to >80% of some populations in Asian countries. The need for nearsighted correction with glasses or contacts can run in families and is more likely to be present if both parents are myopic. The natural course of nearsightedness is that it can start in childhood or young adulthood and continue to progress up to age 20 or in higher corrections into the 30’s.
There are some conditions that may be associated with nearsightedness so regular eye examinations are recommended even if the prescription has stopped changing. Nearsighted people and parents of nearsighted children are of course interested in finding ways to slow or prevent the progression of myopia. There has been conflicting scientific evidence to support the relationship between reading and near work and higher myopia, however there was no proven association between nearsightedness and computer work. There has also been some evidence to suggest that more time spent in natural light (outdoors) can help to reduce the increase in prescription over time.
There have been a number of studies to try and find a link between nutrition and nearsightedness and to this date there has not been anything proven to prevent natural progression of myopia in children and adults.
It is important for anyone affected by nearsightedness to have regular eye examinations with and optometrist or ophthalmologist even if the prescription isn’t changing. Sudden shifts in the degree of nearsightedness can indicate conditions like diabetes or cataracts if changes are happening at an older age.
Correcting nearsightedness is usually involves using glasses or contact lenses. Laser vision correction can be considered after the prescription has stabilized for at least 2 years.
If you have questions about laser vision correction or wish to book a complimentary evaluation with Dr. Anderson Penno, contact Western Laser Eye Associates.