Does Myopia Progression Affect Adults?

Dr. Russel Lazarus, December 4, 2021

Recent research has shown that over 20% of adults experience increasing myopia.

Although three-quarters of adults with myopia have stable vision by age 18, almost one-quarter continue to progress.

Myopia progression is a significant increase in nearsightedness that continues to worsen each year.

Worsening myopia has become a growing concern among eye care professionals due to its correlation to an increased risk of serious eye diseases.

Some of these diseases include:

Does myopia progression affect adults?


While in the past, myopia was thought to stabilize as the eye reaches its adult size (around age 20), recent research shows that myopia can in fact progress into adulthood.

A study was published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science 43:2110-3 (2002) to determine the percentage of myopia progression among 815 adults ages 20-40 years, following a five year waiting period.

After five years, researchers found that 21 percent of the participants showed progressive myopia of at least -1.00D.

  • Ages 20-25 years: about 50% progressed by at least -0.75D
  • Ages 35-40 years: around 25% progressed by at least -0.75D

In addition, some adults experience ‘adult onset’ of myopia progression, in which their once stabilized distance vision begins to worsen as they age.

While the primary cause of adult myopia progression is unclear, many eye doctors believe that an increase in digital device usage may be a major contributing factor.

Most adults spend at least 8.5 hours each day on a digital device, placing excessive stress on the eyes’ focusing muscles. This not only leads to headaches and eyestrain, it can also cause myopia progression.

SEE RELATED: Why Do Adults Choose Ortho-K?

Contact an eye doctor near you if your myopia is worsening.

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What is myopia management?

Myopia management is a customized program that has been shown to reduce the rate of myopia progression, or halt it completely, using any of the following treatments:

According to research, myopia management can reduce the rate of myopia progression by up to 78 percent!

Is myopia management effective for adults?


The earlier you begin a myopia management program, the more effective it will be — so it is best to start when you first notice signs of myopia progression.

However, research shows that management of adult myopia progression can be effective as well, especially when combined with a reduction of screen time and near vision activities.

Which myopia management strategies are most effective for adults?

Multifocal glasses or contact lenses and orthokeratology are most effective when it comes to controlling adult myopia progression.

Multifocal lenses can help to reduce eye strain when near work and screen time cannot be avoided. These lenses take the strain off of the focusing muscles for near vision and provide a comfortable transition to clear distance vision.

Ortho-k lenses are beneficial for those who prefer to be eyewear-free during the day. These specialized contact lenses gently reshape your cornea while you sleep, so you can enjoy clear vision all day long.

LEARN MORE: Guide to Myopia Management

If you are experiencing myopia progression, speak with an eye doctor near you about myopia management to find out if it is right for you.

Myopia progression can continue into adulthood and has been linked to an increased risk of sight-threatening diseases.

Myopia management is a treatment program that can help to reduce myopia progression to preserve your ocular health.