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Sunlight and Your Kid's Eyes: Research Shows Sunlight Exposure Guards Against Myopia

Did your mother would tell you not to sit so close to the television because it would make you nearsighted? Such close-up activities have long been believed to cause myopia, but new research indicates that the true culprit is not the TV, playing computer games, or reading in low light. Myopia could be the results of a sunlight deficiency.

Katherine Rose, leading researcher of visual disorders at the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Health Sciences states that no association has been found between the time spent playing handheld digital games, texting, computer games or games on mobile phones and the development of myopia.  But too much time indoors and not enough time outdoors does have an effect.

Boost your child’s eye health with outdoor time.

Previous studies indicated that outdoor life was good for vision. Other studies from the U.S., Singapore and China seem to confirm that fact. There is a consistent link between how much time is spent outdoors and the prevention of nearsightedness.  Sunlight encourages the release of dopamine, which keeps the eyeball from growing longer and resulting in myopia.

As much as 10 to 14 hours outside per week plus any hours spent outside during school time is necessary for the preventive effect. Wearing hats or sunglasses doesn’t seem to hinder the protective effect of sunlight because the level of illumination outside is so high.

Differences in myopia among children in different countries.

Not only have differences in the prevalence of myopia been found between countries, but there are also differences between the same ethnic groups in different countries, as well as between the same ethnic groups in the same country (but differentiated by city or rural living). There are also differences found among levels of academic achievement and family generations. Highly urbanized areas place a strong focus on academic success at a young age so it could be that the little time spent outside has contributed to this myopia increase.

Protecting your child’s eyesight is just another reason to encourage playing outside.  In addition to the exercise benefits, vitamin D benefits, and emotional benefits of soaking up the sunshine, never needing to wear glasses or contact lenses could be one of the biggest benefits of all!

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