Playing outside is one of the great joys of childhood, and studies now indicate this sun exposure may also help prevent kids from developing myopia, a.k.a. nearsightedness – if they spend enough time outdoors.
Photo by Sherif Salama.
Myopia is a condition caused by excessive eye growth. According to a number of studies, sunlight may help prevent myopia by encouraging the release of retinal dopmine, which inhibits this growth. There may be a threshold, however, for both the level of light and duration of light exposure to get this preventative effect.
The studies suggest kids would need to spend 10-14 hours per week outdoors, not including any time spent outside during school.
Because myopia is a complex disorder thought to be caused by both environmental and genetic factors, sunlight exposure isn’t a magic pill for avoiding eyeglasses. It is, however, another good reason for you and your kids to spend more time playing outdoors.