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What are the Complications of Myopia?

An article was published this week in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science.  The authors reviewed other studies to determine the relationship and risk between how nearsighted someone is, and several sight-threatening eye problems.

The review concluded that low, moderate, and high myopia were all associated with increased risks of

  • myopic macular degeneration (MMD),
  • retinal detachment (RD),
  • posterior subcapsular cataract,
  • nuclear cataract,
  • open-angle glaucoma.

For each condition above the likelihood increased with severity of myopia. This means that the higher the nearsightedness, the worse these problems.  The purpose of the study was also to address: what can we do to prevent a child or an adult from becoming more nearsighted, so they can PREVENT these problems from happening.

As someone becomes more nearsighted, the length of the eye increases.  Longer eye- length, higher myopia degree, and age >60 years were associated with greater risk of visual impairment.  The risks associated with low, moderate, and high myopia should alert parents, policymakers and healthcare professionals of the importance of measures to prevent and treat myopia.

In the past, the only advice doctors had was to increase the eyeglass prescription.  This merely addresses the short term problem of not being able to see clearly, but does not solve the underlying problem.  Fortunately, there are answers to this problem and we can prevent the increase in myopia.  In our office, Family eye Care in Old Bridge, NJ, we offer several alternatives.

  • Vision Therapy (see more on this in our website)
  • Special bifocal eyeglasses when indicated
  • Orthokeratology or Ortho-k for short (see more on this in our website)
  • -Special Contact Lenses designed for myopia control
  • Atropine eye drop medication.

If your child is becoming more nearsighted, and you want to prevent this progression, call our office at 1-732-679-2020.  We frequently see patients from Old Bridge, East Brunswick, Marlboro, Manalapan, Matawan, Aberdeen, South River, South Amboy,

Below is a summary of the study


A systematic review and meta-analyses of studies published before June 2019 on myopia complications. Odds ratios (OR) per complication and spherical equivalent (SER) degree (low myopia SER < -0.5 to > -3.00 diopter [D]; moderate myopia SER ≤ -3.00 to > -6.00 D; hi-gh myopia SER ≤ -6.00 D) were calculated using fixed and random effects models.


Low, moderate, and high myopia were all associated with increased risks of Myopic Macular Degeneration

MD (OR, 13.57, 95% confidence interval [CI], 6.18-29.79; OR, 72.74, 95% CI, 33.18-159.48; OR, 845.08, 95% CI, 230.05-3104.34, respectively); RD (OR, 3.15, 95% CI, 1.92-5.17; OR, 8.74, 95% CI, 7.28-10.50; OR, 12.62, 95% CI, 6.65-23.94, respectively); posterior subcapsular cataract (OR, 1.56, 95% CI, 1.32-1.84; OR, 2.55, 95% CI, 1.98-3.28; OR, 4.55, 95% CI, 2.66-7.75, respectively); nuclear cataract (OR, 1.79, 95% CI, 1.08-2.97; OR, 2.39, 95% CI, 1.03-5.55; OR, 2.87, 95% CI, 1.43-5.73, respectively); and OAG (OR, 1.59, 95% CI, 1.33-1.91; OR, 2.92, 95% CI, 1.89-4.52 for low and moderate/high myopia, respectively). The risk of visual impairment was strongly related to longer axial length, higher myopia degree, and age older than 60 years (OR, 1.71, 95% CI, 1.07-2.74; OR, 5.54, 95% CI, 3.12-9.85; and OR, 87.63, 95% CI, 34.50-222.58 for low, moderate, and high myopia in participants aged >60 years, respectively).


Although high myopia carries the highest risk of complications and visual impairment, low and moderate myopia also have considerable risks. These estimates should alert policy makers and health care professionals to make myopia a priority for prevention and treatment.