While, we motivate our children to spend time outdoors to let them appreciate nature and help in physical growth, we do not realize how helpful it could be to their overall wellbeing. Over time, studies have repeatedly found that spending time outdoors may reduce the risk of nearsightedness in children as far as they are well protected from overexposure to sunlight.
Children Who Spend More Time Outdoor Have Reduced Risk of Nearsightedness
A recently conducted study stated that for every hour spent outdoors, the risk of nearsightedness in kids got reduced by two percent. When findings were studied closely, it was revealed that children suffering from near sightedness spent 3.7 hours lesser in comparison to kids who had a normal vision. The study also extended to determine if there was any effect on the nature of work of students spending higher time outdoors, like spending too much time on games computer etc., but no such association was found.
Another study worked on school children assessing the time they spent outdoors. It was found that only some children spending their recess outside suffered from nearsightedness while the ones who stayed in classrooms, suffered from nearsightedness in larger numbers.
Danish studies have also brought out the fact that our vision is directly related to daylight exposure. When the eyes tend to grow longer when measured from back and forth, it will cause myopia or near-sightedness. The eyes in children grew longer during winter months in Denmark as compared to summers giving an affirmation to these study findings. These studies made researchers believe that more time outdoors may reduce the risk of nearsightedness in children.
More Time Outdoors – Beware of the Harmful Ultra Violet Radiation
While the exact time that children should spend outdoors to reduce risk of nearsightedness is not clear, researchers do talk about the safety and precautions needed to prevent them from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiations of the sun. The best way to prevent children from UV damage would be to wear sunglasses. Sunglasses can provide the necessary protection and children can spend more time outdoors to reduce the risk of nearsightedness.
Most of the present studies have been carried out of a ground fact that UV light does not aid in eye development. So, if children stay out with their hats and shades on, they are open to health benefits while reducing the risk of near-sightedness. However, this fact applies not only to children but also to adults as UV exposure is extremely harmful and is known to cause skin and eye cancer in adults and young alike.
However, some studies believe that although more outdoors may reduce the risk of near sightedness in children, it may not have much effect on children who are already suffering from near-sightedness. Nevertheless, it is a great tip to follow but with all the necessary precautions to avoid over exposure to the sun.
How More Time Outdoors Can Reduce the Risk of Nearsightedness in Children?
Well, in absence of proven facts we can rely on finding and studies that help us to determine the benefits. Some of the possible arguments that support the fact that more time outdoors can reduce the risk of nearsightedness in children, include,
- Vitamin-D which is essential for growth of bones in human body is produced with the help of sunlight. Therefore outdoor spending means adequate vitamin D, which is needed for overall health including the eyes.
- When subjected to bright light, retina in eyes produces dopamine that helps in controlling myopic shift.
- It can also help in creating visual opportunities for distant vision.
Further, increased outdoor activity tends to enhance the production of serotonin that has a lot to do with myopia control. It controls the functioning of retina thereby directly affecting eye growth. These facts and various studies suggest that more time outdoors may reduce the risk of near sightedness in children not because of less reading, but due to more physical activity. This means that by being physically active and keeping up the body metabolism we can promote better well-being including reducing the risk of near sightedness in children.
The Road to Future
While, future studies have been planned to determine more on this subject, yet the fact that spending time outdoors could foster healthy eye vision stands intact. The questions that need answers and analysis are how much time on an average could be considered ideal to spend in broad daylight, or are there any factors that need to be avoided. However, till then we can focus on the available fact that more time outdoors may reduce the risk of near sightedness in children and encourage them to play outdoors with appropriate precautions.