You already know that spending time outdoors is great for your kids’ health and well being, but there is another benefit — several studies have found sunlight linked to reducing nearsightedness in kids, reports Eye Smart. With an increase in the number of children suffering from nearsightedness since the 1970s, these studies have important implications.
One study found that for every extra hour spent outdoors, the risk of nearsightedness in children dropped by around 2 percent. Children who were already nearsighted typically spent around 3.7 hours less outdoors than children who had normal vision or were farsighted.
Another study compared children in two different schools. Fewer kids developed nearsightedness at the school where 80 minutes of outdoor recess was required everyday than at the school where kids did not need to be outdoors.
Finally, a study in Denmark found correlation between exposure to daylight and eye growth. During the winter months, when days are shorter, children’s eyes grew faster. If eyes become too long, from front to back, a child will become nearsighted.
Avoiding Too Much Sunlight
It is, however, important to avoid exposing the eyes to too much sun, as UV rays can be damaging to the eyes in a number of ways:
- Pinguecula. The membrane covering the white of the eye thickens, becoming red and painful.
- Pterygium. The conjunctiva grows over the cornea, blocking vision.
- Sunburn of the eye. Beginning as a gritty feeling, sunburn of the eye can cause excruciating pain and even temporary blindness.
- Macular degeneration. Deterioration in the retina leads to blurred vision or a blind spot.
- Cataracts. The lens becomes cloudy and it is difficult to see.
- Skin damage. Sensitive skin around the eyes and eyelids can be affected by wrinkles, age spots, and even skin cancer.
The best way to avoid all types of UV-related eye damage is to wear sunglasses. Pick up a pair of shades for your kids this holiday season, and take advantage of our special promotions. Save $10 on polarized sunglasses for all ages (down from $29.95 to $19.95) and receive free shipping on any purchases until January 2.