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Play Outdoors and Lower Your Risk of Nearsightedness

Outdoor Activity For Nearsighted Children The number of myopic children is increasing worldwide, and while genetics certainly play a role, the rapid rise in sufferers suggests that environmental factors may also be to blame.

Study shows correlation between outdoor activity and nearsightedness
Data from the Sydney Myopia Study, which included reports from the parents of over 4,000 Australian school children, was analyzed in a new study led by Kathryn A. Rose M.D.

In the Sydney Myopia Study, parents reported on the daily activities of their children (age 6 or 12). These activities were classified as either indoor or outdoor, and parents noted whether the activity required the use of near, medium, or distance vision. The refractive error of each child and their parents was also recorded, as well as their ethnicity.

Dr. Rose's study found a correlation between frequent outdoor activity and better vision in the 12 year old children, which was unrelated to the amount of near work. There was also a strong association in the same age group between myopia, less outdoor activity, and high levels of near work. The type of activity was not found to be an important factor.

How outdoor light may protect your eyesight
Myopia is often caused by the eyeball being too long. Due to this increased length, light entering the eye does not focus sharply on the retina, resulting in blurry vision. When stimulated by intense light, the retina of the human eye releases dopamine, which inhibits eye growth, and may help prevent myopia.

In addition, bright light causes the pupil to constrict, allowing sharp vision for a greater range of distance.

Beware of UV rays - too much of a good thing
While exposure to bright outdoor light may help your child maintain good vision, it is important to remember that UV rays can be very damaging to the eyes. If you plan to encourage your child to spend more time outdoors, invest in a pair of UV protective glasses for him or her. UV protection is unrelated to tint, so even very light colored sunglasses, which allow bright light to reach the eyes, can offer 100% UV protection.

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