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Study: 40 Minutes a Day Outside May Reduce Risk of Nearsightedness in Kids

Nearsightedness in KidsNow that the weather is getting warmer and the days are getting longer, children and adults alike are spending more time outdoors. This increased time under the sun can have positive effects on children’s eyes, according to one recent study. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that rates of nearsightedness (myopia) in children have skyrocketed in the U.S. However, the study also found that as little as 40 minutes a day outside may reduce the risk of nearsightedness in children. In this blog post, the trusted eye experts at Laser Eye Center take a look at the study’s findings in detail.

About the Study’s Findings

The study looked at a group of 6-year-old children and found that nearly 40 percent of those children who did not spend extra time outside developed nearsightedness. On the other hand, only 30 percent of children from another group who spent 40 additional minutes outdoors each day developed nearsightedness. Children who spent more time outside also had less severe prescriptions.

The reason why outdoor time is beneficial to children’s vision is not completely understood. However, past research has found that UV light can play a significant role in the healthy development of children’s eyes.

“Given the popular appeal of increased outdoor activities to improve the health of school-aged children in general, the potential benefit of slowing myopia development and progression by those same activities is difficult to ignore,” said Michael X. Repka, M.D., clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Practice Proper Sun Protection

Before heading outdoors for some fun in the sun, make sure you and your child are wearing the proper sun protection. Unprotected exposure to UV light can cause eye damage. Remember to do the following:

  • Wear wraparound glasses that offer 100 percent protection from UVA and UVB light
  • Apply sunblock on all exposed areas of skin, including the area around the eyes
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat
  • Seek shade during peak hours (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

Contact Laser Eye Center

Stay on top of your and your children’s eye health by scheduling regular routine eye exams. For a FREE consultation, please contact Laser Eye Center by calling 800-80-LASER (52737) today.