• Who should I see about my nearsightedness that has yet to stabilize at age 35?


    Question:

    I have had myopia since I was 8 years old. I have annual eye exams by ophthalmologists and wear contacts most of the time, but at home I wear glasses. I am 35 years old and my prescription is -11 and still has not stabilized. I am concerned since myopia usually stabilizes by the 20s or early 30s. Is there a specialist I should go see?


    Answer:

    Myopia, or nearsightedness, is caused by the power of the eye being too strong, where the light rays that enter the eye focus before reaching the retina. It is caused by either a long eyeball (called axial myopia) or excessively curved cornea.

    Myopia is divided into pathologic and non-pathologic myopia. In non-pathologic myopia, the power of the eye is too strong but without any significant abnormalities in corneal shape or eyeball length. In pathological myopia, there may be abnormalities causing excessive stretching of tissues of the eye resulting in abnormalities in corneal shape or length of the eye. A dilated eye exam is needed to look for outpouchings of the retina (known as a posterior staphyloma) and for breaks in the retinal tissue indicative of myopic degeneration. In addition, patients that have high levels of myopia are at increased risk for developing retinal tears and glaucoma.

    You should see your ophthalmologist to determine if you have any signs of conditions associated with pathological myopia. They may also refer you to your primary care physician to screen for certain disorders that are associated with high myopia, such as Marfan or Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.


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