Myopia (Nearsightedness) – Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment + Diet Tips

A few simple ingredients from your kitchen can help you see far into the horizon.

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Zeel Gandhi, BAMS
By Shaheen Naser

Staring at your mobile and laptop screens for hours on end can cause more damage to your eyes than you know. Myopia, commonly known as nearsightedness, affects 1.6 billion individuals globally. A study indicates that around 5 billion people globally, which is 49.8% of the world’s population will be affected by myopia by the year 2050. As shocking as that sounds, the good news is that there are a few home remedies for myopia you can try to treat the condition effectively. Next time your little one is engrossed in their mobile phone, take it away without hesitation and limit their screen time. In this article, we explore the symptoms, causes, foods one can eat, and the natural ingredients one can use to treat myopia. Read on to know more!

What Is Myopia?

Myopia is a progressive visual disorder that makes it difficult for people to see distant objects. This disorder is also referred to as nearsightedness or short-sightedness. It is quite a common condition.

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It is believed that Greek philosopher Aristotle was the first person to coin the term ‘myopia’ in 350 BC.

A range of factors could cause an individual to become myopic. Let’s find out the causes of this condition.

What Causes Myopia?

Myopia occurs when your eyeball is too long or your cornea (the protective outer layer of your eye) is too curved. The light entering your eyes will focus the image in front of the retina (the part of your eyes sensitive to light) instead of directly on the retina. This improper focus causes blurred vision. The medical term used for this abnormality is refractive error.

There are two types of myopia:

  • High Myopia: It causes your eyeballs to grow very long and may result in other visual complications like a detached retina, cataract, and glaucoma.
  • Degenerative Myopia: It is also called pathophysiological or malignant myopia. This type is often a result of the genes that you have inherited from your parents. Degenerative myopia usually worsens by the time you enter adulthood. It also increases your chances of having a detached retina, glaucoma, and abnormal blood vessel growth in the eye (choroid neovascularization).

Most of the times, the only evident symptom of myopia is the blurring of distant objects. In some cases, you may also notice the following signs.

Signs And Symptoms Of Myopia

The symptoms (other than blurred distant vision) include:

  • Headache
  • Squinting
  • Eye strain
  • Eye fatigue
  • Difficulty in reading the blackboard (in case of children)

These symptoms are usually associated with most visual disorders.

People are often confused between nearsightedness and farsightedness. We have summed up the prominent differences between both below to help you differentiate better between the two eye disorders.

Nearsightedness Vs. Farsightedness

A few differences between myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness) are:

Nearsightedness Or Myopia

  • It is caused due to the elongation of your eyeball.
  • It occurs when the light is focused in front of the retina.
  • Myopic individuals can see close objects clearly and find it hard to see distant objects.

Farsightedness Or Hyperopia

  • It is caused due to shortening of the eyeball.
  • It occurs when the light entering your eyes is focused behind the retina instead of directly on it.
  • Farsighted individuals can see distant objects but are usually unable to see objects up close.

If you face difficulties in seeing distant objects, it is wise to get your eyes checked by a medical professional. Here are a few diagnostic tests that will help you.

How Is Myopia Diagnosed?

Your doctor may ask you to take an eye test that includes a refraction assessment and an eye health exam.

They may use different instruments and ask you to look through several lenses to test your vision.

Once your condition is confirmed, you may be asked to undergo an eye surgery or use contact lenses or glasses as part of your medical treatment.

If you are not yet ready for surgery or simply want to stop using your lenses and restore your vision, there are a few other ways to solve your problem. The following home remedies help to restore your vision with time.

How To Cure Myopia Naturally

  1. Vitamins
  2. Licorice
  3. Carrot Juice
  4. Amla Juice
  5. Omega 3
  6. Rose Water
  7. Triphala

Natural Ways To Treat Myopia

1. Vitamin D

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You Will Need

25-100 mcg of vitamin D

What You Have To Do
  1. Consume foods rich in vitamin D like fatty fish, tuna, salmon, beef, cheese, egg yolks, and orange juice.
  2. You can also take additional supplements for vitamin D after consulting your doctor.
How Often You Should Do This

Consume small amounts of vitamin D daily.

Why This Works

Low serum vitamin D levels are often associated with myopia, especially in young adults (1). Restoring the deficiency can help with myopia to a certain extent.

2. Licorice

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You Will Need
  • ½ teaspoon of licorice
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of ghee
  • 1 glass of hot milk
What You Have To Do
  1. Divide the licorice into two equal parts.
  2. Mix one half with a tablespoon of honey and the other half with a teaspoon of ghee.
  3. Consume these mixtures with a glass of hot milk.
How Often You Should Do This

You must drink these mixtures twice daily.

Why This Works

Licorice is an excellent cure for myopia due to its revitalizing and regenerative properties. It contains isoliquiritigenin that is antiangiogenic and helps improve your vision (2).

3. Carrot Juice

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You Will Need

1 glass of fresh carrot juice

What You Have To Do

Consume a glass of fresh carrot juice daily.

How Often You Should Do This

You must drink carrot juice twice daily.

Why This Works

Carrot juice is orange due to the presence of carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin in it. These carotenoids constitute the main pigments found in the retina. They protect the macula from damage and improve your overall vision (3).

4. Amla Juice

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You Will Need
  • ½ cup of fresh amla juice
  • Honey (as required)
What You Have To Do
  1. Extract half a cup of fresh amla juice.
  2. Add a little honey to this and consume every morning.
How Often You Should Do This

You must drink this once every morning, preferably before breakfast.

Why This Works

Amla juice is rich in vitamin C, a vitamin that is vital for optimum ocular health. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties can reduce the damage and swelling in the eyeballs, promoting your recovery from myopia and other eye disorders like cataract (4).

5. Omega-3

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You Will Need

250-500 mg omega-3s

What You Have To Do
  1. Consume foods rich in omega-3, such as walnuts, flax seeds, fish, and dark leafy veggies.
  2. You can also take omega-3 supplements after consulting your doctor.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this on a daily basis.

Why This Works

Omega-3 fatty acids promote the repair of damaged cell membranes in your eyes, making them one of the best remedies to treat myopia and prevent its progression (5).

6. Rose Water

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You Will Need
  • ½ cup of rose water
  • Cotton pads
What You Have To Do
  1. Soak two cotton pads in rose water. Place the soaked pads over closed eyes.
  2. Leave them on for 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the pads.
  4. You can also use diluted rose water as eye drops.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this 1 to 2 times daily.

Why This Works

Rose water can instantly soothe strained eyes. Myopia usually results from stressed eyes, and rose water can help relax them with its cooling properties (6).

7. Triphala

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You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon of Triphala mixture
  • 1 glass of lukewarm water
  • Honey (optional)
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a teaspoon of Triphala mixture to the glass of lukewarm water.
  2. Mix well and add a little honey to it.
  3. Drink immediately.
How Often You Should Do This

Drink this mixture twice daily.

Why This Works

Triphala is mainly made of three fruits from the Indian subcontinent – Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Bibhitaki (Terminalia belerica), and Haritaki (Terminalia chebula). This Ayurvedic mixture helps prevent eye disorders like cataract and improves your overall vision (7).

You should also pay extra attention to your diet if you are myopic. In addition to following the above remedies, do not forget the include the foods given below in your diet to aid vision health.

What Foods Are Good For Managing Myopia?

Myopic individuals must include the following foods in their diet to avoid further damage and speed up their recovery from nearsightedness:

  • Deepwater fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna
  • Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and collard greens
  • Carrots
  • Eggs
  • Berries and citrus fruits
  • Beef
  • Nuts

It doesn’t stop here! You will have to make some changes to your lifestyle to protect your eyes from further damage like cataract or detachment of the retina. Listed below are a few tips that might help you.

Prevention Tips

  • Observe your child for signs of myopia. Using prescribed glasses early in the childhood can reduce or even prevent myopia.
  • Spend more time on outdoor activities.
  • Practice Bates eye exercises using a Snellen Chart with alphabets decreasing in size. Or stretch the oblique muscles of your eyes with exercises using a pencil or a pointed finger.
  • Take breaks and look around when you are busy with tasks like typing on your laptop or using your notepad.
  • Ensure that you have good lighting around while reading, watching TV, and using the computer.
  • Avoid viewing objects closely for extended periods.
  • Minimize or eliminate the use of small screens.
  • Opt for a maintenance vision therapy.
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You can also practice the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes you look at your screen, stare at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This allows your eyes to relax and reduce strain.

Straining your eyes will just make things worse – so, avoid any activity that involves straining your eyes for long periods. In case your problem isn’t solved after following the tips and remedies discussed in this article, it is best to seek medical advice and subsequent treatment.

Myopia, a visual disorder that is also called nearsightedness, is characterized by difficulty in seeing distant objects clearly. Myopia is caused if the eyeball is of excess length or the cornea of the eyes is too curved. Symptoms like blurred distant vision, headache, squinting, eye fatigue, and strain are common among individuals with this disorder. Home remedies for myopia involve the intake of certain vitamins, carrot juice, omega 3 fatty acids, amla juice, licorice, etc. You may also practice certain eye exercises to maintain your vision. However, it is also essential to avoid activities that involve straining the eyes for extended periods. It may be necessary to seek medical advice and get corrective vision treatment if the remedies fail to improve your vision.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can myopia lead to blindness?

Yes, myopia can lead to blindness. The rapid elongation of your eyeball can lead to severe progression of myopia, which, in turn, may also result in loss of vision.

What is the type of lens used to correct myopia?

Concave lenses are usually used to correct myopia. The light from your surroundings first falls on the concave lens before hitting the convex lens of your eyes.

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author
Shaheen holds a postgraduate degree in Human Genetics and Molecular Biology from Bharathiar University. She is a Geneticist with proficiency... more

Dr. Zeel Gandhi

(BAMS)
Dr. Zeel Gandhi is an Ayurvedic doctor and an expert at providing holistic solutions for health problems encompassing Internal medicine,... more

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