The Most Common Causes Of Adult-Onset Myopia

May 5, 2023
The Most Common Causes Of Adult-Onset Myopia

Myopia, commonly known as nearsightedness, is a refractive error that affects the ability to see distant objects clearly. While myopia typically begins during childhood, there is a significant number of adults who experience the onset of myopia later in life. This adult-onset myopia can be attributed to various factors, including genetic predisposition, environmental influences, lifestyle changes, and certain medical conditions. In this blog, we will explore the most common causes of adult-onset myopia and whether treatment is different for adults diagnosed with this condition.

Causes of Myopia In Adults

Genetic Factors
Genetics plays a crucial role in the development of myopia, regardless of whether it occurs during childhood or adulthood. If one or both parents have myopia, their children are more likely to develop it as well. Research suggests that certain genes contribute to the elongation of the eyeball, leading to myopia. Genetic predisposition can make adults more susceptible to myopia as they age.

Environmental Influences
Modern lifestyle and environmental factors can significantly impact the development of myopia in adults. One of the key factors is excessive near-work activities, such as reading, using digital devices, and working on computers for extended periods. Constantly focusing on nearby objects can strain the eyes and contribute to the development of myopia. Additionally, prolonged exposure to artificial lighting and inadequate natural light can affect eye development and increase the risk of myopia.

Lifestyle Changes
As adults age, various lifestyle changes can increase the likelihood of developing myopia. Many individuals experience a decrease in physical activity and spend more time engaged in sedentary activities. Lack of regular exercise and outdoor activities may contribute to the development of myopia. Moreover, a diet lacking essential nutrients and a higher prevalence of obesity in adults can also have an impact on visual health.

Occupational Demands
Certain professions and occupational demands can predispose individuals to adult-onset myopia. Jobs that require prolonged near-work activities, such as computer programming, accounting, or graphic design, can put a significant strain on the eyes. Spending hours focusing on a computer screen or other close-up tasks without regular breaks can lead to myopia development over time.

Medical Conditions
Certain medical conditions can be associated with the onset of myopia in adulthood. Diabetes, for instance, can affect the blood vessels in the eyes, leading to changes in the retina and contributing to myopia. Additionally, cataracts or other ocular disorders can alter the shape of the lens or cornea, leading to refractive errors like myopia. It is important for individuals with these conditions to monitor their visual health closely and seek appropriate treatment.

Myopia Treatment Protocols For Adults
Treatment for adult-onset myopia typically follows similar principles as the treatment for childhood myopia. The primary approach is to correct refractive error with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery. However, certain considerations may be taken into account for adults. Progressive lenses or multifocal contact lenses are often preferred to address both near and distance vision needs. Additionally, lifestyle modifications, such as reducing near-work activities, taking regular breaks, and spending more time outdoors, may be recommended to slow the progression of myopia. Regular comprehensive eye exams are crucial for monitoring changes and adjusting treatment as needed.

Myopia Control With the team At My Optometrist

Adult-onset myopia can significantly impact an individual's daily life and visual well-being. Understanding the common causes of myopia can help individuals take preventive measures and make informed decisions to protect their eyesight. Genetic factors, environmental influences, lifestyle changes, occupational demands, and certain medical conditions all play a role in the development of adult-onset myopia. By being aware of these factors, individuals can proactively manage their eye health, such as practicing good visual habits, taking regular breaks during near-work, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and seeking regular eye exams. Remember, early detection and intervention are key to maintaining healthy vision throughout adulthood.

Early diagnosis and myopia management are critical to maintaining vision and eye health. We use state-of-the-art equipment for assessments and treatment, and prioritize patient education. To book an eye exam with one of our eye doctors, contact My Optometrist at one of our three locations at Health First in SE Calgary, Sunridge in NE Calgary, or Three Hills, AB. You can also call us or fill out the online contact form.


Q: Does myopia worsen with age?
A: It can. Because myopia is the eye growing too long, it depends whether the eye keeps growing or if it stops. If the eye grows longer, the myopia gets worse.

Q: Can myopia lead to blindness?
A: In general myopia does not cause blindness, however, there is a rare type of myopia called degenerative myopia that can lead to eventual blindness. This type of myopia typically only presents in about 2% of the population.

Q: How do I know if my child has myopia?
A: You might notice your child getting quite close when they need to see something. The only way to know for sure is to take them for a vision assessment. You can schedule an eye exam with My Optometrist by filling out the contact form or by calling one of our locations: Sunridge in the NE, Sundance in the SE, or Three Hills AB.

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