Myopia reduction with age?
November 22, 2007 12:59 AM   Subscribe

Today's eye exam for this 40-something woman (a multifocal contact lenses wearer) showed a slight improvement in myopia versus what another optometrist recorded two years ago. My new optometrist was very thorough, caught some retinal thinning and other issues my previous optometrist had missed, and just seemed very sharp and trustworthy. But should I worry about the decreased myopia values and get my eyes checked again?

My old values:

RIGHT: -4.50, ADD +1.25, cylindrical -0.50, axis 180
LEFT: -6.50, ADD +1.25, no other values recorded

The new values:

RIGHT: -4.00, ADD +1.50, cylindrical -1.25, axis 180
LEFT: -6.00, ADD +1.50, cylindrical -0.75, axis 170

So it looks as if my myopia is slightly improved in both eyes, my presbyopia is slightly worse (expected) and my astigmatism is moderately worse. I now have an axis value for my left eye that wasn't recorded previously -- new astigmatism in that eye, or a recording error from my old optometrist?

So should I trust this new optometrist, as these are the kind of results I should expect from aging eyes, or what?
posted by rosemere to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A decrease in myopic values is very much a common scenario in over-40-year-old eyes. If you feel uncomfortable with your new diagnosis, you can ask you doctor for a re-test (preferably at a different time of day from your previous exam). Any competent doctor will oblige you.
posted by amyms at 1:05 AM on November 22, 2007

That ... and did you switch from CRT to LCD in the past couple of years? I had a similar improvement in my twenty-something year old eyes when I switched from using CRTs 8+ hours daily to using LCDs 10+ hours daily.
posted by SpecialK at 2:00 AM on November 22, 2007

I'm 35 with similar sorts of problems. Amyms is quite correct - a decrease in myopia is common.

But really, the best person to discuss this with isn't going to be AskMe - it's your optometrist. Optometrists do make mistakes sometimes. They do have varying skill levels. Personally, I don't think this is much of an issue but if you're worried enough to post here, then go and get a second opinion at a different optometrist.
posted by ninazer0 at 3:06 AM on November 22, 2007

As the old saying goes, a person with two watches never knows what time it is exactly. So, either discuss the differences with your new optometrist, ot go for a second/third opinion somewhere else.

I know I test differently depending on the time of day, and the amount of stress I'm under.
posted by ijsbrand at 3:33 AM on November 22, 2007

So, possible answer. Get the $13 (shipping incl) glasses from Zenni optical. If the prescription looks worse or bothers you, you know the optometrist screwed up and are only out $13.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:50 AM on November 22, 2007

IANAD, those look like normal age-related changes to me, especially given that they've only shifted slightly. It is very normal for your vision to focus further away as you age, for those of us with myopia this is a blessing, for the rest of you, expect to need reading glasses.
posted by anaelith at 7:56 AM on November 22, 2007

Another vote for a decrease in myopia being normal. (For me, it started to happen at the ripe old age of 29.) This is the beginning of the process that will eventually make you need bifocals.
posted by Kololo at 8:02 AM on November 22, 2007

I have read that eye doctors may have differing preferences for over- or under-correcting vision, as well. My old optometrist overcorrected (or, actually, I think my vision slightly improved while I was using the prescription), so that I have slightly better than 20/20 vision with my contacts; my new optometrist was going to go down a bit, but I said that I really liked the old prescription and she said it wasn't a problem to keep those values. I assume that no one's vision is exactly standardized-fixable, at least a little bit of it's probably going to come down to the doctor's and the patient's preferences.
posted by occhiblu at 8:43 AM on November 22, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for all the responses. I'll call and chat with the doctor and see what we can do. If it was the myopia reduction alone, I wouldn't worry about it, given your responses, but I do want to talk with him about the other values. (I also need my pupil distance measured if I want to order glasses online.)

I already have multifocal contact lenses, and I have found that my distance vision is blurrier than it was with single prescription lenses. With the new high magnification lenses I just bought (because my first set were crap for reading), my distance vision is even blurrier. Now I'm wondering if the blurriness is due to my old myopia prescription being too strong.
posted by rosemere at 8:46 AM on November 22, 2007

Response by poster: occhiblu, this new optometrist was correcting as much as possible, I think, as we were really trying to get to 20/10, but had to settle for 20/20 in the right and 20/25 in the left. Of course, I am wearing no glasses or lenses based on the new prescription yet, so who knows how close it is yet?
posted by rosemere at 8:49 AM on November 22, 2007

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