Refractive Errors

Can myopia be cured?

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Eye exercises and "improve your eyesight naturally" programs that promise a cure for myopia (nearsightedness) have been around for at least a century. But do they work?

The problem with these "miraculous" programs is that there is no scientific evidence or even verifiable outcomes to back them up.

Proponents of these do-it-yourself vision correction programs claim myopia can be reversed with eye exercises, relaxation techniques and massaging the eyes. But the only "proof" of effectiveness they offer for these so-called myopia cures are testimonials provided by customers who purchased their product.

Myopia Promo 2: Squinting is a sign your child may be getting nearsighted.

Vision experts at organizations like the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, and the American Optometric Association dismiss these programs as ineffective and a waste of money.

Myopia is not a disease looking for a cure. It's a refractive error caused by the eyeball growing too long during childhood. When this occurs light entering the eye fails to form a clear focus on the light-sensitive retina in the back of the eye. The result is blurry distance vision.

Currently, there is no cure for nearsightedness. But there are proven methods that can be prescribed by an eye doctor to slow the progression of myopia during childhood. These myopia control methods include specially designed contact lenses and atropine eye drops.

Prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses can correct the blurry distance vision caused by myopia and relieve associated signs and symptoms of nearsightedness, including headaches, eye strain and squinting. But corrective lenses only work while a person is wearing them and they are not a cure.

Once myopia has stabilized (usually sometime after age 18 to 20), LASIK and other laser eye surgery procedures are effective long-term treatments for nearsightedness.

Orthokeratology (ortho-k) and related corneal refractive therapy (CRT) currently are the only techniques proven by research to be effective in temporarily reversing myopia. This is accomplished by reshaping the cornea with rigid gas permeable contact lenses that are worn at night during sleep.

But this is not a cure. Ortho-k and CRT lenses must be worn regularly at night or the myopia and blurry vision will soon return.

If you or your child are nearsighted and you want to learn more about myopia control and treatment, schedule an eye exam today with an eye doctor near you.

Page updated March 2019

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