Myopia In Children May Decrease With Outdoor Time

Gary Smith has led research showing that more than 5,000 kids and teens in the U.S. fall out of windows each year, ending up in the emergency department.

Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, could be reduced in children who spend more time outside, new research reports.

Researchers looked at data from 10,400 children and teenagers with myopia in eight different studies, and found that for each hour per week spent outside, odds that a child would become nearsighted lowered by approximately two percent. The nearsighted children spent four hours less time outside on average than children with normal vision or farsightedness.

According to the study’s authors, this could be because children who spend more time outside have more exposure to natural light, as well as more time spent looking at faraway objects.

"Increasing children's outdoor time could be a simple and cost-effective measure, with important benefits for their vision and general health," said lead author Dr. Anthony Khawaja of the University of Cambridge, according to Health Day. "If we want to make clear recommendations, however, we'll need more precise data. Future, prospective studies will help us understand which factors, such as increased use of distance vision, reduced use of near vision, natural ultraviolet light exposure or physical activity, are most important."

The research was presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in Orlando, Florida.

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