Sudden Onset Child Myopia: From 20/20 To -6 Diopters (in a day?!)

Sudden onset so-called child myopia.  One day your child sees just fine, the next day – hugely short sighted.  High myopia diagnosed.  No explanation, no treatment besides glasses.  This happens, and I wish every parent […]

Jake Steiner

Jan 11,2018 · 5 min read

Sudden onset so-called child myopia.  One day your child sees just fine, the next day – hugely short sighted.  High myopia diagnosed.  No explanation, no treatment besides glasses.  This happens, and I wish every parent in this situation would find this post before saying yes to glasses.

At the risk of sounding like an elderly matron turned Internet unicorn hippie: Odds that your child suddenly becomes highly myopic in some irreversible manner, pretty slim.  Odds that there’s a huge bit of focusing muscle (ciliary) spasm, far more likely.  Odds that the friendly local optic shop ‘prescribes’ a huge minus lens for your child if they get their hands on him/her – pretty much 100%.

Which is purely tragic, if it happens.  He says, sounding like an old Internet matron unicorn farmer.

Important note:  If you want to get started improving your own eyesight, I offer a number of courses, including options for one-on-one support with me personally.  Check out the courses page for what’s currently available to help your eyeballs.

Minus lenses are a symptom treatment.  They don’t address causality.  Don’t go ‘fix’ a possible biological malfunction till you’ve got a really, really clear and plausible explanation of 1) what actually happened and 2) how the minus lens is the only possible answer.

Sometimes minus makes sense.  I’m not saying go live in a cabin in the woods, swear off Western medicine, paint your face in tribal chakras.

Middle ground.  Sanity before minus-for-everyone.

20/20 To Sudden -6 Myopia

Case in point, Ashley’s 5 year old son goes from 20/20 vision to sudden -6 diopter myopia.  According to the optometrist.

Here’s Ashley telling the story herself:

A year ago, my then five year old, woke up and could not see more than a few inches past his own face. When he went to bed the night before, his vision was 20/20, and when he woke up, it was -6 diopters (20/800).

We had no idea what was going on, so we took him to an optometrist that morning. The optometrist ran several tests to check his eye health and nothing stood out… he was just severely near-sighted.

The optometrist did not believe us that his eyesight was perfectly fine the night before. He believed that we just didn’t recognize that our son was having trouble with his vision until now. However, just a few months before, our pediatrician had checked my son’s eyesight. So we knew for certain, it was normal then.

We then took him to his pediatrician, who was dumbfounded at how poor his eyesight was. He ordered blood tests and an MRI to check for a chiari malformation. That night, without answers, we went and got our son some prescription glasses… feeling completely bewildered and distraught.

After the kids went to bed, we started researching. We learned that muscle spasms can occur in the eyes and that this can happen suddenly. It’s just not usually that severe when it occurs.

At that point we made the decision to take away the glasses and have Ben “exercise” his eyes by doing activities that required him to try to see objects at a distance. We played toss & catch with a large, lightweight ball. We had him try to use a plastic bow and arrow (inside the house!). We played with toy bowling pins. We bundled up for the snow and went on walks. We stopped letting him use the microscope, and wouldn’t let him play with legos, or draw and color… all of his favorite things – all which forced his eyes to focus on objects close to his face. With these changes, his eyesight seemed to improve by an inch or so by the next morning.

He had an MRI that day and thankfully it was normal. Blood work wouldn’t happen for another few days.

We kept at it for the next two days with the eye exercises and by the fourth day, while he was out on a walk, his eyesight suddenly snapped back, and he yelled out, “Dada, I can see now!! I can see!” ?

At his next appointment with our pediatrician, just a week later, his eyesight was 20/20.


I share this, because, apparently it can happen. ?‍♀️ I had no idea. A person can go from having 20/20 vision, to being 20/800, and back to 20/20 – in less than a week, because of an eye muscle spasm.

I also share this because, ***if we had not done our own research***, we would have kept having him wear the glasses, and we would have only REINFORCED his near-sightedness… making it permanent. Again, had we just believed the optometrist, that our son’s eyesight had gradually gotten this bad, we would have continued to use the glasses and caused PERMANENT DAMAGE to his eyes.

I thank God that we did our research. After this experience, I have realized that a lot of what we have been told about eyesight/vision is not entirely accurate… Thank goodness for people who question what we “know” and share what they have learned.

Original thread is here.

The Internet is full of very highly questionable ‘cures’, remedies, herbs, diagnoses, imagined deficiencies, detox recipes, and general head-shakerizing incredulity.

All That Glitters

Indeed, isn’t gold.  Or even not horse poop.

Your favorite eye guru is painfully aware how very much we’re wading in that deep end of the swampy pool filled with unicorn ideas that are dubitable at best.  Retail medicine is still in business because the alternative being Internet crazy talk just doesn’t appeal much to anyone with a healthy semblance of sanity.  

So, please.  Visit the science section.  From there head to Google Scholar and get into the habit of looking up actual clinical science and peer reviewed studies.  Trust nothing you find online that sounds like some grand conspiracy theory reveal and alt health crazy cult.

But then also be highly weary of sudden unexplained child myopia.  Especially when said child enjoys playing games on iPads and watching cartoons on smartphones.

Caveat emptor, darlings.




Jake Steiner

Reformed stock trader. Kite surfer, pilot, vagabond. Father. And of course - the last of the living, imaginarily bearded eye gurus.

Topic:  20/20