Once you become myopic, is it possible for your vision to improve? Ophthalmologists and optometrists say NO, and rather emphatically so. However, welcome Internet research, pseudoscience, and anecdotal evidence. Even the burgeoning science found in myopia control methods has many theories in common with the myopia reversal movement. After a lot of reading, it seems like it may be possible to reverse some myopia and that it’s worth giving it a try.
(As of 8/16/20: My one year progress update.)
My takeaway: the basic method of reversing myopia
The basic method of reversing myopia looks like this:
- Reduce your glasses or contact RX by a small amount at a time, 0.25 to 0.50 diopters (some people do more, but it seems like you may end up reducing so much that your eyes cannot focus enough to improve).
- When wearing your reduced RX, routinely spend time focusing on slightly blurry things and trying to make them clear. When you can see 20/20 or 20/25 with the reduction, then reduce the RX some more. This could take weeks or months – each person’s eyes are different. Reduce each eye enough so that both eyes see about the same. Sometimes you will reduce more in one eye than the other.
- Wear an even lower RX when doing near work (computer, reading, task work). Some methods say that this lower RX should just be enough so that you can see well enough to do your near work. This reduces the focusing and strain that your eyes go through in order to switch from distance focus to a near focus. It also reduces the strain of near work. This has some similarity to the concept of wearing plus lenses or multifocal lenses in myopia control for children. Another method suggests that this lower RX should be low enough so that print (whether on your computer screen or book) can have a slight blur so that you can work on trying to clear the blur.
- Make lifestyle changes:
- Get adequate sleep,
- Use the 20/20/20 rule to take regular breaks from screen time or reading
- Consider eye massage or relaxation techniques
- Spend more time outdoors (see this post about exactly how much time is needed)
Some amount of improvement, around 1.00 to 2.00 diopters, anecdotally seems very possible. In a variety of YouTube videos and online comments/blogs, many individuals seem to have been able to achieve at least this amount of improvement. I list them in Resources below.
My myopia reversal experience so far
I’ve been nearsighted since I was 8 years old, becoming highly myopic by high school. I figure I have nothing to lose by trying out the myopia reversal methods.
I started out with a glasses RX of -8.00 (R) and -6.25 (L), with -0.50 astigmatism in both eyes for most of my adult life. In June 2019, I began wearing glasses with a slightly reduced RX of -6.00 and -7.25, with -0.50 astigmatism in both eyes. I purchased glasses with this self-customized RX on http://www.zennioptical.com. (BTW, if you don’t have a complicated RX, I’ve discovered that getting glasses from your optometrist’s eye shop can be the biggest waste of your money ever! But that will have to be a topic of another post.) I determined my starting RX by purchasing a test lens kit and checking my vision with these free, online eye chart printables. I wanted to make sure that I would be seeing about the same out of each eye with my modified RX. I did get a lower RX for near work but I didn’t end up using it as I found it cumbersome to remember to switch glasses.
I found almost right away that I could see 20/25 with the reduced RX. This made me suspect that I had originally been over-corrected. I made the lifestyle changes as best I could, although getting adequate sleep or taking screen breaks during “crunch time” work was probably not always at ideal levels. I tried to look at slightly blurry words and seeing if they could become clear by focusing on them just a bit longer. This was usually street signs, etc. while I was out driving or waiting in lines or doctors’ offices.
At the end of September 2019, I saw the optometrist for a regular eye exam. He found that the astigmatism in my right eye had gone away. He also said that I could see 20/10 with my original RX. When I asked him to adjust my glasses RX to see just 20/20, he gave me this new glasses RX: -7.5 (R), no astigmatism correction; -5.75 (L), -.5 (CYL), 180 (AXIS).
My contacts RX was adjusted from R: -7.50, L: -6.50 to R: -7.00, L-6.00. When I checked the eyechart wearing this new contact RX, I actually couldn’t see any difference with my stronger, previous RX.
Prior to this recent myopia research, I’d never paid much attention to daily visual strength changes. By paying attention to what I can see on an eye chart, I’ve learned that eyesight can have minor changes daily and from hour to hour sometimes just based on what I’ve been doing. This leads me to realize that even the optometrist’s measurements can not be perfectly accurate so I am taking my recent optometrist prescription with a grain of salt.
However, it does seem that “the disappearance” of my astigmatism in the right eye is significant and the fact that I can see 20/20 with -0.50 diopters less in both eyes seems like a big improvement over my RX of just 4 months ago. I still suspect original over-correction may have had something to do with my new RX, so I will have to see how the next year goes.
As of 8/16/20: My one year progress update.
Resources (updated 11/17/22):
I found these two sources to be the most helpful sites in outlining straightforward methods for reversing myopia:
There are two other sources that are “well known” (pop up high on search results) and also worth reading through for theory and techniques. They also have a lot more detail on their methods and the rationale behind them:
Forums where vision improvement is discussed – you’re not alone!!!:
- https://www.reddit.com/r/myopia/ and https://www.reddit.com/r/ImprovingEyesight/ – these two forums have helpful posts by individuals who are attempting to reduce myopia on their own, despite the lack of support from the medical eye community
- https://www.reddit.com/r/endmyopia/ (this seems to be one of the more active vision improvement forums)
Anecdotal evidence of eye changes/improvement:
On reddit, there are some good arguments against trying to reverse your myopia or against whether it can work at all. The link below on blur adaptation seemed interesting, plausible to me. However, the fact that my son’s optometrist had actual data points of axial length reduction is also encouraging:
Where to buy inexpensive glasses with your own customized prescription:
Where to buy contact lenses with your own customized prescription (unfortunately, as of January 2023, this is no longer an option for US customers):
If you are in the US and want to buy contacts of your own modified RX, you may need to rely on the 8 hour prescription verification rule and hope that the optometrist office you list for verification does not respond before the 8 hour waiting period!
Free eye charts to check your vision:
Thoughts? More info? Better info? I’m all ears. Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.
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