How, and why, spending time outside could be the secret to managing myopia for your little ones? We have all heard that reducing screen time is extremely important in decreasing the rate of myopia progression. However, if you are a parent, you know that sometimes it simply isn’t possible without a massive meltdown or argument. Especially now, with home-based learning and school work being done on digital devices, it might not be feasible to completely cut out device use. Did you know that there is something else you can do that is free, helpful and doesn’t involve any tantrums?
Outdoor time is the best solution for preventing the worsening of myopia in children!
In fact, a recent study that explored the preferred methods for controlling myopia progression among paediatric ophthalmologists worldwide supports the critical role of outdoor time. Of all the strategies for controlling myopia progression, spending time outdoors was the most frequently prescribed by ophthalmologists in the study, with 86% recommending it as a myopic control tool.
Other results from the study show the following:
60% advised reducing the amount of time viewing screens
64% advised to cut back the use of smartphones
Now you may be wondering, how on earth does spending time outside help?
While scientists do not know exactly how spending time outdoors helps reduce myopia risk and progression (though they know it does!), there are some theories.
We know that exposure to sunlight increases Vitamin D production in our bodies. Also, the brighter light outdoors is known to stimulate the release of an important hormone called dopamine. Dopamine is released from the retina in the eyes, which inhibits eye growth (a good thing!). Being outdoors also increases the amount of time we spend looking at objects in the distance, which trains the eye to be able to see far, and also helps to relax some of our eye muscles at the same time.
Just be sure to avoid any excess exposure to sunlight! Wearing sunglasses or hats are great ways to ensure you get to spend time outdoors safely while protecting your eyes.
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