Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

Send Kids Outside to Prevent Myopia, Researchers Suggest Send Kids Outside to Prevent Myopia, Researchers Suggest

This ad will end in seconds
 
Close X

Not a member? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation
 

 

Health Care / HEALTH

Send Kids Outside to Prevent Myopia, Researchers Suggest

photo of Sophie Quinton
October 24, 2011

There may be a simple way to protect children’s eyesight, British doctors report: send kids outside to play more often.

An analysis of eight studies looking at what may prevent myopia points to time spent outdoors, Anthony Khawaja of the University of Cambridge reported on Monday to a meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

“For each additional hour spent outdoors per week, the chance of myopia dropped by approximately two percent,” the academy said in a statement. “Nearsighted children spent on average 3.7 fewer hours per week outdoors than those who either had normal vision or were farsighted.”

 

The results seem to be produced simply from being outdoors, the AAO said. It’s not clear whether simple exposure to natural sunlight is the cause, or perhaps time spent focusing on distant objects.

Scientists have long been interested in why myopia rates are rising in the United States and elsewhere. A quarter of American children and adolescents currently suffer from refractive errors such as myopia, farsightedness, and astigmatism, according to Centers for Disease Control data.

Some scientists have speculated that an increase in ‘near work’—like staring at a computer screen or reading a book-- might be responsible for the rise in nearsightedness. Two studies examined by the British team, however, failed to find a correlation between more time spent outdoors and less time performing near work.

“Increasing children’s outdoor time could be a simple and cost-effective measure with important benefits for their vision and general health,” Khawaja said in a statement. “If we want to make clear recommendations, however, we’ll need more precise data.”

Researchers next need to consider “what aspect of outdoor activity is protective for myopia,” Khawaja said in an interview. “Is it less close work? Is it UV light exposure? Is it more physical activity?” The AAO statement noted that another question to answer is “whether boosting outdoor time might stop nearsightedness from getting worse.”

LIKE THIS STORY? Sign up for Health Care Edge

Get your daily dose of National Journal's health care coverage.

Sign up form for Health Care Edge
Job Board
Search Jobs
Digital and Content Manager, E4C
American Society of Civil Engineers | New York, NY
PRODUCT REVIEW ENGINEER
American Society of Civil Engineers | CA
Neighborhood Traffic Safety Services Intern
American Society of Civil Engineers | Bellevue, WA
United Technologies Research Fellow
American Society of Civil Engineers | New York, NY
Process Engineering Co-op
American Society of Civil Engineers | Conshohocken, PA
Electrical Engineer Co-op
American Society of Civil Engineers | Findlay, OH
Application Engineer/Developer INTERN - Complex Fluids
American Society of Civil Engineers | Brisbane, CA
Application Engineer - Internships CAE/CFD Metro Detroit
American Society of Civil Engineers | Livonia, MI
Chief Geoscientist
American Society of Civil Engineers
Application Engineer - Internships CAE/CFD Metro Boston
American Society of Civil Engineers | Burlington, MA
Professional Development Program Engineer
American Society of Civil Engineers | Farmington Hills, MI
Civil Enginering Intern - Water/Wastewater/Site-Development
American Society of Civil Engineers | Sacramento, CA
Staff Accountant
American Society of Civil Engineers | Englewood, CO
Biomedical Service Internship Position
American Society of Civil Engineers | Flint, MI
 
Comments
comments powered by Disqus