Since April 2019 (3+ years ago), I've been experimenting with ways to reverse my declining eyesight. The results are promising:
- I've reduced my eyeglass prescription by about 1 SPH in each eye
- I'm legally no longer required to wear vision correction while driving
- I comfortably no longer need glasses on a daily basis
Measurement dataHere's the data from my last several optometrist eye exams:
- green represents a vision improvement since the previous exam
- red represents a vision decline since the previous exam
Notably, 2 optometrist eye exams between 2019 and 2021 showed vision improvements. I started experimenting with vision improvement in April 2019 but made mistakes the first several months with methods I believe were ineffective.
Eyeglass prescriptions are typically given in increments of 0.25 diopters, so the overall improvement over the span of the data time range is outside the range of measurement error. I interpret this data as evidence that it's certainly possible to reverse myopia without surgery.
However in April 2023, an eye exam measured a decline since the Nov 2021 exam. This is consistent with my experience of regressing to old habits of staring at screens indoors all day while ignoring feelings of eye strain due to laziness.
Summary of my findings
- It's possible to reverse myopia without surgery despite what conventional wisdom and medical professionals will tell you.
- It's possible to slowly reverse myopia with a significant amount of constant effort: many hours a day over many years.
- The amount of constant effort required means changes of habit are needed to make progress.
- It's possible for vision to regress as well when falling back to the initial bad habits that had caused vision decline.
Conclusions so far
I believe what worked for me was developing habits around spending many hours a day, almost every day, for months to years:
- not wearing glasses when I can comfortably see without them
- wearing under-corrected distance glasses as needed
- looking at things, especially text, that's just slightly blurry
- looking at things in the distance at the edge of blur
- sometimes wearing reading glasses during near work
I believe that this does NOT work:
- wearing full vision correction the majority of the time
- undercorrecting my vision by too much and getting headaches
- spending time looking at things that are incomprehensibly blurry
What does science say?
Great question! I strongly recommend anyone truly interested in the science behind myopia to look through the scientific literature and draw their own conclusions, as opposed to simply accepting what the status quo will tell you.
Good places to start are Google Scholar and PubMed.
Here's a quick summary of my own findings:
The physical mechanism of myopia is an elongation of the eyeball that causes light to be focused in front of the retina, instead of directly on it, which leads to distant objects appearing blurry.
The largest risk factors for developing myopia are:
- some people are naturally inclined to develop worse eyesight
- others may have perfect vision even with poor vision habits
- Near work
- the more often you stare at screens up-close all day, the more likely your eyesight will get worse
- again, whether near work will be an issue depends on genetics
Protective factors that prevent or slow down myopia progression are:
- More time spent outdoors - especially more time out in sunlight
- Exposure to bright light - may correlate with time spent outdoors
- Wearing bifocals or reading glasses for near work
Motivations behind this experiment
The prescriptions for my glasses kept getting stronger for 20+ years until one day I wondered if there was a way out of this cycle.
I found anecdotal evidence online of people claiming they were able to reverse nearsightedness to an extent. However, I remained skeptical since practically all medical professionals claim that this is impossible.
After dozens of hours of research into scientific papers, I concluded that it may be possible to reverse nearsightedness (AKA myopia) after all, and that the best way forward for me was just to try for myself.
I'm a former biomedical researcher and graduate student at The Johns Hopkins University and have co-authored multiple academic research papers and conference abstracts. I've worked with medical doctors and led a team of students to design a medical device, which we patented. I'm familiar with the academic research process in medical settings.
However, I am not a medical professional. If I were, I'd be confidently telling you it's impossible to reverse myopia and that any source claiming otherwise is wrong!
None of this information is medical advice. Treat the information on this page as a single data point in a long-term experiment in reversing myopia. What worked for me might not work for you.
This page is a work-in-progress. Things I'll maybe do later:
- Fill out more info in the science section. Either add citations, or add links to good resources.
- Add some images so this page isn't a wall of text.
- Add more optometrist eye exam prescriptions over time.
ResourcesReversing lens-induced myopia: a human-friendly primer
- Summary of anecdotes and methods for reversing myopia
- Vision improvement methods through adding incremental stress
- A 40-min talk about myopia and a method of reversing myopia
- Summary of conventional wisdom and science behind myopia
Google Scholar - Lens-induced myopia
- Some search terms to help you find medical research papers and summaries of myopia research in academic journals.