Myopia, commonly known as nearsightedness or short-sightedness, is a prevalent condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Astonishingly, a staggering 2.6 billion individuals globally experience some degree of short-sightedness, and what's even more concerning is the evident upward trajectory in its prevalence, as revealed by ongoing research.
In the United Kingdom, 1 in 3 people has myopia, a statistic that mirrors a troubling trend seen worldwide. 
Despite myopia being so common, there are still some misconceptions about the condition. In this blog, Deven Lakhani, the Director of Hammond Opticians and a Myopia Focus contributor, aims to debunk common myopia myths surrounding myopia and shed light on the critical issues surrounding this growing epidemic.
Myth 1: Myopia can be ‘cured’
Myopia cannot be cured, but it can be managed and corrected using glasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery. No treatment can reverse myopia once it has developed because the eyeball length cannot be reduced or shortened. However, using proper myopia management methods can help by slowing down and even possibly halting the progression of short-sightedness.
Myth 2: Myopia is not a serious condition
Myopia is the leading cause of distance refractive error (correctable poor vision), and uncorrected refractive error causes 21% of treatable blindness in the world.
Myopia may seem innocuous, but it can lead to other significant eye problems, such as cataracts, myopic macular degeneration, glaucoma, and retinal detachment. That is why it’s crucial to address myopia and manage it appropriately.
Myth 3: Wearing ‘normal’ glasses or contact lenses is just as good for myopia control
Conventional contact lenses and glasses will correct the underlying visual defects (allow you to see clearer) but will have no positive impact on slowing down the progression of myopia. Recent innovations mean that there are now myopia lenses for glasses and myopia contact lenses available, both of which are specifically designed to control the progression of myopia.
Myth 4: Myopia will stabilise on its own
Myopia can stabilise for some individuals as they get older, but it can also continue to progress throughout life. This is why regular eye examinations are so important. Factors such as genetics, ethnicity and age of onset (of myopia) all influence how likely it is that myopia will stop progressing.
Myth 5: Spending more time outdoors prevents myopia
There is some evidence that spending time outdoors may reduce the risk of developing myopia in children, but it may not prevent myopia entirely. Additionally, there is less evidence to support its impact on slowing down myopia once it has started, where genetics seem to play a more significant role. Remember, all forms of prolonged close visual tasks, including reading & screen use, can increase the likelihood of onset and progression of myopia.
Myth 6: There is nothing you can do to slow myopia progression
While myopia progression cannot be reversed, there are several treatments and strategies that can help slow it down. These include Night Lenses (Ortho-K), Day contact lenses and specialist glasses for myopia control.
There is also no evidence to support the claims that performing eye exercises will reverse myopia. This is because myopia is due to elongation of the eye and not due to any muscle imbalance.
Myth 7: A standard eye test is enough for myopia control
Managing myopia in children requires some specialised skills and additional equipment.
Your optometrist should have further qualifications in myopia control and have the correct equipment to measure and monitor the (axial) length of your child’s eyes as well as the corneal curvature. These measurements are vitally important in identifying the type of myopia and provide the gold standard in monitoring the success of treatment. Find a myopia management specialist near you through our map tool.