Ophthalmologist Questions Eye Exam

Can eyesight ever get better on its own?

My eyesight has been gradually worsening since I first got glasses (age 16 or so). Why is this happening and can it ever reverse?

22 Answers

Thank you for your question. Assuming you are near-sighted and still relatively young, increased near work can keep your eyes focused at the near target. This can result in your eye muscles not relaxing which can cause progression of your near-sightedness (myopia). There is a 20-20-20 suggestion you can follow to take a break every 20 minutes and look at something 20 feet away to change the focus of your eyes and make your eye muscles relax. Decreasing your use of digital media, more time outdoors and sometimes eye medications (dilute atropine drops) can help slow the progression of your myopia as well.
As your eye grows (and your body grows) there will be changes in the eye power (need for eyeglasses) at a slower and slower rate through the mid twenties. After that it usually is stable. Correction by eyeglasses and contacts can be used as this changes and when you get to be over about 23 years of age, LASIK correction can be considered.
If you are nearsided, as you and your eye is growing with age the nearsidedness gets worse. It usually stop after age 21-23. It won't reverse but you will enjoy late presbyopia instead. (It means you won't need near glasses when you turn 40 like most of pepole).
The answer in general is no. If your visual condition is continuing to decline, you should have an exam to determine the cause.
You may have heard of "second sight" in which the vision can become less glasses dependant. This occurs if someone is slightly farsighted, and with age and cataract development, which can reduce farsightedness, and they become less glasses dependent for distance. But this is a transient and temporay state that disappears as the cataract progresses.
Please see you eyecare professional for evaluation and discussion of your concern.

Edward N. Burney, MD FAAO FACS
Professor Ophthalmology, CWRUSOM
Director Anterior Segment and Glaucoma
University Hospitals Eye Institute
Director Ophthalmology VAMC Wade Park
You have noticed a common source of anxiety about vision. In your teenage years, your tissues continue to grow, as they are supposed to do.

This includes your eyeball which often gets bigger, and vision becomes more distorted, as you age.

This is especially true among nearsighted persons whose retina becomes further and further back (posterior) as the eye swells to achieve its final shape.
When this happens, the image upon the retina becomes out of focus and glasses are needed to place it once more put it into focus.

You can think of the analogy of a projector perfectly displaying an image up
As we get older in some people that are prone to myopia it can get worse. Myopia can continue to increase, usually after age forty it may start to improve but not much. Myopia is not a disease but just the way your eye is structured. There are different procedures that can improve your eyesight.
Your eyesight can, in fact, get better or worse over time. Depending on
your age/or the presence of particular type of cataract will determine
this. As always, better to see your local eye doctor to find out for sure
as there are more serious diagnosis that can permanently change your vision
if not treated appropriately.
ours eyes change as we age and this can affect how we see things.
- recommend evaluation by eye professional to discuss ways to improve your vision
Most likely, you have become increasingly near-sighted, or myopic, over the years. This happens frequently during school years- high school and college and there has been some implication that it may be related to long hours of reading. It is possible that your myopia may start to improve, but it is unlikely to happen until you are in your late forties or early fifties. The good news is that being nearsighted has an advantage as well. Most people start to require reading glasses in their early forties. Being myopic, you will not. In fact, I am myopic, 55 years old and still do not wear reading glasses. I wouldn't trade that for anything!
It really depends on the cause of the eyesight loss. If its just a change in your prescription for glasses then this can drift to more near-sightedness and later it can shift back the other way. But the most important thing you need to do is to get checked because you could have vision loss from a medical illness which may not be reversible. For example: glaucoma, diabetic eye disease many of which have minimal symptoms.
It's hard to answer your question with out examining your eyes, but usually if you are nearsighted the vision can get worse while you are still growing.
To answer your question, an individual's eyesight generally changes until their late teens to early 20s (if it's going to change). After that point it usually stabilizes. Unfortunately, I'm not aware of anything you can do to stop the changes from occurring. As long as your vision can be improved with glasses or contacts, it's nothing serious. My recommendation is to have your eyesight evaluated on an annual basis (by an ophthalmologist).
Eyesight unfortunately can't get better on its own ! Yes , there are different types of refractive errors that can change over the years , but to say my myopia totally went away on its own is just not possible ! Unless you go for refractive surgery . Even then vision can change . There is not absolute
Based on your history. You most likely have a myopic "nearsighted" Refractive RX issue. Very common to progress in adolescents. However, it usually levels out in adulthood. If this is the case, it is unlikely to "get better".
Options are correcting your vision with eyeglasses, contacts, or in some cases Refractive Surgery.
It depends. The eye sight for myopic or near sights can be progressive until 20's then it will stabilize it self. For farsighted hyperopia as a child it may improve with time. Mild hyperopia or far sighted person could have a great vision but it may become symptomatic after age 40. With advancement of age after 40 most of the people will get presbyopic which means they will need glasses for reading. This will progressively can get worse.
It depends if you are nearsighted(myopic) or farsighted (hyperopic) usually the eyes progress slowly tillb18 to 21 years . For myopia if you go to graduate school and do lots of computer or reading myopia can still progress . Then you should stabilize
Your eyesight is determined by genetics and environmental factors . Assuming you are myopic. In general it gets worse with growth and close viewing . This stimulates more myopic shift in your eye powers. Hence it gets worse as you observed. Further as you age, your lens will harden and cause myopic shift too or occasionally causes a reduction in your eye power and hence an improvement. Regular checks will determine what is happening to your eyes.

There are countless reasons as to why vision can be getting worse. Most commonly it is short sightedness or myopia which can start in the teenage years. Without an examination by at least an optician it is unfortunately impossible to answer this question accurately.


Nima Pakrou
Typically, vision that gets progressively worse from the mid-teen years does not get better on its own. The good news is that the later in life the problems begin usually the less severe they become.I don't know your situation of course. It is best to ask your eyecare provider. Simple refractive errors can often be corrected with surgery. There is no magic pill to change your body back to the way it was.
The simple answer is yes, though it is unlikely. It depends on why the eyesight is getting worse. Typically, if your eyesight is changing due to a change in your prescription, this slows down, and sometimes, reverses in the second and third decade of life (20's and 30's). However, in most cases, the process simply slows down and you will notice a more stable glasses prescription. It is important to have your eyes evaluated by a qualified eye-care professional in order to determine if there are other pathological reasons for your decreased vision (glaucoma, cataract, macular degeneration, diabetes, etc..).
near sightedness or myopia can be progressive into your late 20's then in your 40's you may need a prescription of near vision (presbyopia). It usually will not reverse.
It is difficult to determine the cause of your vision deterioration unless we know where your prescription has started from or other factors that might be hindering your sight. I would suggest a routine eye exam if you haven't had one in over 1 year to determine possibilities.