Worldwide, and especially in Asia, myopia is a major vision-threatening disorder. From AD 1600 on, to prevent myopia, authors warned against near work without sufficient pauses. There was an abundance of theories about the causes of myopia, the most common one being the necessity of extra convergence on nearby work with thickened extraocular muscles and elevated intraocular pressure. Ocular tenotomies against myopia were in vogue for a while. Axial lengthening of the eye in myopia was mentioned around 1700, but it took 150 years to become accepted as the most prevalent sign of high myopia. In 1864, a lucid concept of myopia and other ametropias arose through a clear separation between accommodation and refraction. Posterior staphyloma was known around 1800 and its association with myopia became evident some 30 years later. There still seems to be no generally accepted classification of myopia and particularly not of degenerative or pathologic myopia. This review focuses on myopia from 350 BC until the 21st century and on the earliest writings on the histology of eyes with posterior staphyloma. A proposal for myopia classification is given.
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