Myopia in young adults
Childhood-onset myopia typically stops progressing between the ages of 18 and 21. At this age, your young adult child’s eyes are likely to remain at the same or similar prescription, although around 40% of young adults still experience changing vision in their 20s. Even if your child has had perfect vision throughout their childhood, myopia can develop in early adulthood, typically brought on by environmental factors such as too much close work or not spending enough time outside.
Let’s take a look at myopia in young adults, and how to minimise progression of the condition.
Symptoms of myopia in young adults
Young adults will likely be aware of any changes to their vision, and may be able to book their own eye test to check their symptoms.
Some of the common symptoms of myopia in young adults include:
- Complaining of blurry vision
- Holding objects close to their face
- Sitting very close to screens
- Squinting or closing one eye to see better
- Frequent eye rubbing
- Excess blinking
- Watery eyes
- Frequent headaches
If any of these symptoms are present, or your young adult child mentions that they are struggling to focus on distant objects or read signs, encourage them to book an appointment with an eye care professional. This is especially important if they drive.
Managing myopia in young adults
While it’s hard to manage the lives of your young adult children, especially if they have left home, it’s important to make sure that they are aware of their myopia, its causes and complications.
Young adults with myopia will need spectacles or contact lenses to see clearly. Standard types of spectacles and contact lenses will correct their blurred far vision but won’t slow down the worsening of myopia. While special types of spectacles and contact lenses are available that both correct vision and also have the specific ability to slow down the progression of myopia, there is little scientific evidence for their effectiveness in young adults. Atropine eye drops have been shown to slow progression of myopia in children and teens, but there is no evidence of this in young adults.
For young adults with myopia that is continuing to progress, their eye care professional can discuss the suitability of these special types of spectacles or contact lenses. For young adults with stable myopia, regular eye care appointments are necessary to monitor the condition, check that the current prescription is suitable, and examine the health of the eyes.
Ortho-k for myopia control in young adults
Ortho-k is a great way to correct vision in young adults and can be more comfortable than soft contact lenses, with limited evidence for myopia control.
Eye glasses for myopia control in young adults
Adults with myopia typically wear glasses and contact lenses. Some spectacle lenses can control myopia in kids and teens but there's no evidence in adults.
Screen time in adults: how much is too much?
High amounts of screen time can influence vision and eye health, with links to myopia, dry eye and digital eyestrain. Guidance is provided here on managing it.