Image featuring icons related to myopic choroidal neovascularisation

Understanding myopic choroidal neovascularisation

Published 28 August 2019 

Myopic choroidal neovascularisation (mCNV) is a common, vision-threatening complication of pathological myopia, or severe short-sightedness.1

When a person is severely short-sighted, their eyes grow too long from back to front, which leads to areas of the retina that are prone to breaking. The retina is a part of the eye that sends information to the brain enabling sight.

As a result, new abnormal blood vessels can grow underneath the retina, leaking blood and fluid, causing damage and vision loss.2

Global burden

Image depicting global burden of short-sightedness

Pathological myopia is estimated at a prevalence of 2.8% of the population.3 mCNV occurs in one-in-ten people with pathological myopia.

More than 30% of people with mCNV in one eye are likely to develop it in their other eye within eight years.1

Risk factors1


most common in 45-64 year olds


more common in people of East Asian descent


women have double the risk

Image of glasses

Pathological myopia

Signs and symptoms2


Blurred vision


Distorted view of objects and lines


Difficulty distinguishing between colours

Central vision loss depicted over image of an eye

A rapid progression of central vision loss (within a day or a few weeks)

Impact of myopic choroidal neovascularisation


Impaired vision can impact:5

  • The ability to carry out everyday tasks
  • The ability to work
  • The ability to lead an active social life
  • Quality of life, with increased social isolation, depression and anxiety disorders

When untreated, 89% of people with mCNV have a visual acuity of 20/200 – the threshold for legal blindness – or worse after five years.4 Healthy vision is 20/20.

Annual eye test


Getting an annual eye test is the best way to detect any changes in vision. A dilated retinal examination will help to diagnose any retinal diseases. If you’d like more information on mCNV or other retinal diseases, talk to your optician or visit


  1. LUCENTIS. What is mCNV (Myopic Chorodial Neovascularization). [Internet; cited May 2019]. Available from:
  2. Fort Lauderdale Eye Institute. Choroidal Neovascularization. [Internet; cited May 2019]. Available from:
  3. World Health Organisation. The impact of myopia and high myopia. [Internet; cited May 2019]. Available from:
  4. Retina Today. GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES: Advances in Diagnosis and Treatment of Pathologic Myopia. [Internet; cited May 2019]. Available from:
  5. Park SJ, Ahn S, Woo SJ, et al. Extent of Exacerbation of Chronic Health Conditions by Visual Impairment in Terms of Health-Related Quality of Life. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2015; 133:1267-1275.

Tags: Science, Ophthalmology