What Happens If Myopia Is Not Treated?

Myopia (also known as nearsightedness) is when you can’t see distant objects clearly, but your close vision is good. To correct this, you normally go to an eye doctor and get prescribed glasses (or contact lenses). And boom! You can now see clearly again.

But what happens if you don’t go to the doctor? Or if you stop wearing your glasses? In this article, we’ll take a look at what happens if myopia is not treated.

Myopia Explained

Myopia is increasing at very fast rates. By the year 2050, the prediction is that half of the entire world population will be myopic.

What Causes Myopia?

If you have myopia, you have an eyeball that is longer than normal. This makes light focus in front of the retina. The retina is located in the back of your eye and has the responsibility of transforming light into an image that the brain can read. When light falls short of your retina, you have blurry distance vision but near vision remains sharp.

For perfect sharp vision, light needs to focus exactly on top of the retina:

what is myopia

Now, if you’re myopic, you’re probably wondering: why the hell do I have an eyeball longer than normal? This is where science still doesn’t have a clear-cut answer.

The reason why is because it’s a combination of things. It’s not just one single thing that causes myopia. That leaves us with some space for different theories, but most researchers agree that nearsightedness is caused by a combination of:

  • Genetics: If your parents had myopia, you’re more likely to develop it too.
  • Childhood habits: If when you were a child you spent a lot of time inside, looking at close objects for long periods, not getting enough sunlight, you’re also more likely to have myopia.

With the recent shift towards a more digital lifestyle, you can get a pretty good picture of why myopia is on the rise. Children don’t spend as much time outside as they used to. They’re glued to their phones from an early age and that is terrible for their eyes.

Symptoms of Myopia

Early signs that you have myopia generally include:

  • Squinting your eyes
  • Needing to sit closer to see clearly
  • Holding objects very close to your face
  • Eye strain
  • Headaches

If you notice these habits in you or your children, you/they should be evaluated for myopia.

What Happens if Myopia Is Not Treated?

Note that when we mention “leaving myopia untreated”, we could be referring to a number of different things.

Knowing that more and more research points to spending lots of time indoors and excessive detailed or up-close work (like using smartphones, computers, and tablets) as the main cause for myopia, you could argue that using glasses but continuing these bad vision habits is a form of untreated myopia.

I agree with you. More time spent outdoors, especially for young children, is the most important factor to prevent myopia. We will address this in detail in a future article.

For the purposes of this article, we are talking about someone that notices their distance vision getting worse and doesn’t go to the doctor. Or someone that needs glasses and already has an eye prescription, but chooses to not wear glasses or contact lenses.

In other words, we’ll be looking at the science behind the under-correction of myopia. Here’s the deal:

Under-correction of Myopia

The science on the under-correction of myopia is very conflicting. The differences that under-correction and full correction cause in the progression of myopia don’t seem to be significant. We need more research.

In this case, all we can do is speculate and talk about what makes the most sense to us. As always, everyone is welcome to participate in the discussion through the comment section of this post.

I believe that under-correction is better than overcorrection if you’re trying to stop myopia from progressing. This is because what causes myopia to worsen can be explained by Peripheral Hyperopic Defocus Theory.

If you have very low myopia, I have a hard time believing that your vision will get worse if you don’t wear your glasses.

However, if you have moderate to high myopia, it’s probably more difficult to leave myopia untreated. Even though it may help control myopia, it takes a big toll on your quality of life. In your work, your productivity will probably suffer. And for children, how can they perform well in school if they can’t see the board clearly?

This is where things get tricky. But as with most things in life, the correct answer probably lies somewhere in the middle. It’s all about balance.

Taking the glasses off and “challenging” your vision once in a while might be useful. The progress would happen faster if you spent all day doing this. But how enjoyable is life if you can’t see clearly? Living with high myopia is difficult.

Most of the theories claiming that they’re able to cure nearsightedness naturally, also tend to involve some form of under-correction. You might be wondering:

Is Myopia Cured Naturally?

It’s easy to find plenty of people online claiming that they’ve not only stopped the progression of myopia but cured it all the way to 20/20 vision. Some seem more credible than others. And since, nearsightedness is still somewhat of a mystery to science, I don’t doubt they actually were able to do it.

Most solid theories that I find interesting, like EndMyopia and the work of Todd Becker, involve multiple years of continuous effort. And that makes sense to me. If you’re like me, you’ve had your glasses for over 20 years. So curing myopia naturally wouldn’t happen quickly.

However, unfortunately, there are no studies firmly suggesting that curing myopia naturally is possible.

Most of the techniques used aren’t dangerous, but if you’re considering giving them a try please first analyze if they make sense or not to you. And always get a second opinion from your eye doctor on the subject of can myopia be cured.

Conclusion

Today we went over what happens if myopia is not treated. Not wearing your glasses can be beneficial in preventing myopia from getting worse. But the science is conflicting on the topic, so you need to discuss it with an open-minded eye doctor and evaluate the impact on your lifestyle.

There are some interesting theories on curing myopia naturally, with lots of anecdotal evidence. However, they lack scientific support. Overall, more research is needed.

This was a different article, with more of an opinionated tone than usual. We generally stick to stating strictly facts. Let me know what you think of this format.

If you’re interested in learning about the 7 options that have shown results on how to prevent myopia from worsening, read this article:

How to Stop Myopia Progression: The 7 Options Available Today

Hugo Moreira

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Every single article in Myopia Daily is fact-checked to ensure the information is high-quality, medically accurate, and meets industry standards.

I have extremely strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from the most respected sources, including recent scientific research, peer-reviewed medical journals, government agencies, scholarly articles, certified optometry websites, and up-to-date textbooks.

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My passion for promoting eye health in communities around the world fuels me to create content that is factually reviewed not only by the most up-to-date scientific research but also by everyday expertise from my personal experience with being nearsighted since I was a child.