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Does myopia worsen with age?

Answered by
Dr. Rakhi Tayal


Practicing since :2001

Answered : 13189 Questions

Posted on Wed, 13 Aug 2014 in Pregnancy
Question: Is it common for myopia (nearsightedness) to get worse after age 40 without any underlying medical condition?

I guess I will go into detail, sorry if long...

I'm 43 years old. I've never been diagnosed with any eye disorder other than myopia.and astigmatism, and in the past few weeks, blepharitis and dry eyes. Ive had ghosting of vision certain situations like white text on black background, etc, which as been attributed to my astigmatism. My glasses Rx hadn't really changed much since I was 25 until now.

My Rx in 2011 was

Right. SPH. -0.75. CYL. +0.75. AXIS. 65
Left SPH. -1.25. CYL. +0.50. AXIS. 110

I saw my ophthalmologist again on 6/3/14 mainly because i noticed that the ghosting I've had since my early 20s seemed worse. The doctor did not find anything wrong with my eyes. This is the Rx I received (this is also my current glasses Rx):

Right - SPH -1.25. CYL. +0.75. AXIS. 65
Left - SPH -1.25 CYL +0.50 AXIS. 110

My ophthalmologist had left off the 0 on my left axis and put 11 instead of 110 and I had to go back to him to clear that up. I had this Rx filled and was hoping that these new glasses would correct all my ghosting, but where my glasses seem to correct 90% of the ghosting, I still see it in some instances like text on the tv. (My glasses have never corrected all the ghosting but I was hoping this time they could get them so it did)

I made appt with another ophthalmologist to verify my Rx, and also because the one I had been seeing is no longer on my network

I saw the other ophthalmologist on 6/16/14, less than two weeks after seeing the other ophthalmologist. It was determined I had dry eye (I failed to mention these symptoms to the other ophthalmologist cause was more concerned about the ghosting). He also diagnosed me with blepharitis. The Rx they gave me for my glasses (less than two weeks after the first ophthalmologist) was

Right. SPH -1.75. CYL. -1.25. AXIS. 63
Left. SPH. -1.75. CYL. -0.75. AXIS. 115

He didnt give me the Rx for these glasses (and I didnt find out what it was until my follow up apt), he wanted me to wait until I was treated for.the blepharitis and dry eye and come back in six weeks. I know my vision hadn't changed since I just got my glasses less than two weeks before)

I went back for the follow up appt a few days ago on 7/24/2014

They tested me with my current glasses I got from the first ophthalmologist on 6/3/2014. I was able to see 20/20 in left eye and 20/25 in right (the letters didn't seem quite as clear with right eye as with left when I was tested on 6/3 so I believe thats how the Rx was written and hadn't really changed in that time)

They then tested my vision and got to where I could see see 20/20 with my left and 20/20 with right eye, but when they compared the new Rx to my current one with both eyes open, my current Rx looked clearer.

This is the new Rx they got on 7/24

Right - SPH -1.75. CYL. +1.00. AXIS. 60
Left - SPH -1.75 CYL +0.75 AXIS. 120

If I can see 20/20 with left eye and 20/25 with right with this Rx:

Right - SPH -1.25. CYL. +0.75. AXIS. 65
Left - SPH -1.25 CYL +0.50 AXIS. 110

Does it make sense that they would get this:

Right - SPH -1.75. CYL. +1.00. AXIS. 60
Left - SPH -1.75 CYL +0.70 AXIS. 120

They raised the sphere by 0.50 in both eyes even though I was seeing 20/20 already in my left eye.

Also, just in general, is it common for myopia to get worse after 40 years old?

I've read that it usually levels off. Ive seen two different ophthalmologists four times in the span of 3 months and none of them have diagnosed me with anything other than myopia, astigmatism and the blepharitis / dry eye issue. Ive asked both ophthalmologists if I could have keraroconus, because of the ghosting, and they both said no. I do have oblique astigmstism. I read today about a condition called pathological myopia which has for me worrying more. I'm hoping its not anything to do with that. Maybe these doctors are just getting my Rx wrong for some reason. I think part of my problem is that I'm bit of a hyperchondriac, especially about my eyes.

Sorry about being so long winded, I'd appreciate any insight into this. Thanks
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 23 hours later
Brief Answer:
This is not pathological myopia.

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for trusting us with your health concern.
Your myopia is not changing at this age. The spherical power in your eyes is constant in all these examinations. It is the cylindrical number- astigmatism that has changed slightly. The slight change in axis and the cylindrical power is not worrisome. This is just a minor change and it can cause ghosting of the vision.
This is not related to pathological myopia. So no need to worry.
Please feel free to discuss further. I will be glad to answer the follow up queries that you have.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Rakhi Tayal.
For future query, you can directly approach me through my profile URL

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Rakhi Tayal 1 hour later
my spherical power did change though. In 2011 the Sphere was L - 1.25. R -0.75 / on 6-3-14 it was L -1.25 and R -1.25. The other ophthalmologist on 6-16-14 (13 days later) got L -1.75 and R -1.75 for Sphere, and got the same thing on my follow up appt on 7-24-14. This was all mentioned in my previous message. Could you please review it again. And is it common that myopia may get worse after 40?
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 8 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Not pathological myopia.

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for writing again.
I have reviewed your history again carefully. The change in spherical power is a minor one and it is possible to have such a mild change in the power even after 40 years of age. Such a minor change in 3 years is not pathological myopia.
Hope my answer is helpful.
Do accept my answer in case there are no further queries.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

The User accepted the expert's answer

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