Can more time outside keep our kids’ eyes healthy?

2015-10-13 06:00

CHILDREN who spend more time playing outside have a lower risk of developing nearsightedness and, as a result, are less likely to need glasses.

More time outdoors may reduce the odds your young child will need eyeglasses, new research from China suggests.

In a three-year study, adding 40 minutes of outdoor activities daily was associated with lower rates of nearsightedness among school-aged Chinese children. People with nearsightedness, also called myopia, have trouble seeing things at a distance.

“Although prescribing this approach with the intent of helping to prevent myopia would appear to have no risk, parents should understand that the magnitude of the effect is likely to be small and the durability is uncertain,” said Dr. Michael Repka, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study, published in the Sept. 15 issue of JAMA. Repka is professor of ophthalmology and paediatrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Nearsightedness among children has increased dramatically in recent years in some urban areas of East and Southeast Asia.

It is also on the rise in other parts of the world, including Europe and the Middle East, the researchers said.

- HEALTH24

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