As parents we know instinctively that spending time outside is important to our child’s health. Fresh air and exercise make for a happy, healthy child. What might surprise you is that time outside may actually reduce your child’s risk of having myopia (near sightedness). So you have one more reason for sending your kids outside to play!
Heredity is the strongest indicator of myopia, however there is increasing evidence that other factors are influencing the rate of myopia. According to WebMD researchers analyzed 23 studies on myopia and have found that increasing a child’s time outside can help reduce the chances of developing myopia. One study found that “each increase in hours per week of time spent outdoors was associated with a 2% reduced odds of myopia.”
More research needs to be completed before a clear theory for the decrease in myopia is provided. One explanation is that when children spend more time outside they are decreasing time watching television or reading which requires near vision. Another theory is time outside increases dopamine in the eye which might be beneficial to eye health.
Of course, spending time outside does not mean you need to let your guard down when it comes to harmful UV rays. Make sure that your child wears quality sunglasses and sunblock.