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Does myopia progression stop after a certain age?

Most myopia usually stabilizes by age 15 to 20, with an average at 16 years. Myopia typically begins in childhood, commonly between ages 8 and 10. It is usually due to the eyeball growing too long. Severity, age of onset, heredity and environment can all affect what age myopia stops progressing. 

Does severity of myopia affect when myopia progression stops?

Most people who have low or moderate myopia will find that their prescription stabilizes by their early 20s. High myopia may continue to progress in a person who is in their 20s.

Low to moderate myopia

Low to moderate myopia, which is a refractive error of less than -6.00 D, is easily corrected by glasses or contact lenses

Research has typically found these myopia stabilization age ranges for people with low or moderate myopia

  • About 50% of people have stable myopia by age 15.

  • About 75% of people have stable myopia by age 18.

  • 90% of people have stable myopia by age 21.

  • Nearly all myopia is stable by age 24.

However, a more recent study found that myopia progression may continue past the age of 20 in about one-third of adults. 

High myopia

Some myopes find that their prescription continues to increase at each yearly eye exam. When refractive error increases above -6.00 D, it is classified as high myopia.

The younger a child develops myopia, the higher their rate of progression.

This type of myopia is inherited and uncommon. It is due to the eyeball growing too long or the curvature of the cornea being too steep.

High myopia greatly increases the risk for certain serious eye conditions, including: 

Most myopia stabilizes by age 24 

Low to moderate myopia levels off by age 24 for most people. Severe types of myopia, such as high myopia and pathological myopia, may continue to progress past the early 20s. 

Several strategies have been found to possibly slow down the progression of myopia, including:

The protective effects of outdoor sunlight exposure have been confirmed by multiple studies. Increased time spent outdoors can reduce the risk of myopia development and progression. Spending more time outside in adolescence can also decrease the risk of developing late-onset myopia (after age 15).

Staying current on comprehensive eye exams is the best approach to managing myopia and keeping your eyes healthy. An eye doctor can monitor myopia and implement strategies to slow down its progression in order to avoid the development of high myopia. 

Myopia (nearsightedness). American Optometric Association. Accessed November 2021.

Progression of myopia in children and teenagers: a nationwide longitudinal study. British Journal of Ophthalmology. March 2021.

Myopia stabilization and associated factors among participants in the correction of myopia evaluation trial (COMET). Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. December 2013.

Incidence and progression of myopia in early adulthood. JAMA Ophthalmology. January 2022.

Time spent outdoors in childhood is associated with reduced risk of myopia as an adult. Scientific Reports. March 2021.

Will high myopia ever stabilize and if so, at what age does this happen? American Academy of Ophthalmology. November 2021. 

IMI prevention of myopia and its progression. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. April 2021.

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