Kids Who Spend More Time Outdoors May Have Less Risk for Nearsightedness

Kids Who Spend More Time Outdoors May Have Less Risk for Nearsightedness

Children running outdoors.

November 2011 — Telling your kids to go out and play may actually help their vision, according to a recent analysis of studies involving 10,400 children.

Led by Dr. Justin Sherwin of the University of Cambridge, the analysis found that for each additional hour spent outdoors per week, the chance of myopia fell by about 2 percent. Also, the nearsighted children in the studies spent an average of 3.7 fewer hours per week outside than those who were farsighted or had normal vision.

No particular outdoor activity was linked to the reduced chance of myopia — it was just the state of being outdoors rather than indoors. Also no correlation was found between myopia occurrence and a tendency to do more near work such as studying.

The researchers said more study is needed to determine which outdoor-related factors are most important, such as more distance vision use, less near vision use, physical activity and exposure to natural ultraviolet light.

A summary of the research was presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in October.

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