Playing Outdoors Promote Good Eyesight

Playing Outdoors Promote Good Eyesight

Let’s face it. We’re all guilty of being consistently on our phones. We give our children these gadgets as we try to do chores or just to keep them busy. However, did you know that this can affect their eye health?

Children don’t spend as much time outdoors as most of us did before the era of high-tech electronic gadgets. A study conducted at the University of Waterloo found that myopia increased from 6% at 6-8 years old to 28.9% at 11-13 years old (1). Another study showed that increasing the time spent outdoors can help impede the onset of myopia, but it does not slow down the progression of myopia in children who are already nearsighted (2).

If possible, limit your children’s exposure to electronic screens. A balance should be made between near work and outdoor activities that don’t require close-up vision. Our doctors suggest participating in hiking, cycling, swimming, outdoor sports and other outdoor activities to preserve good overall physical and eye health. Sunlight has some benefits, but still make sure that your kids are protected from the harmful ultraviolet rays. So when outdoors, we recommend a good pair of sunglasses and sunscreen!

The Canadian Association of Optometrists also recommend the following:

  • Encourage playing outdoors
  • Annual eye exam
  • No exposure to screens for children 0-2 years old
  • Limit screen use to an hour until 9 years old
  • Breaks every after 30 minutes of use

References:

  • Yang, Mike et al. “Myopia prevalence in Canadian school children: a pilot study.” Eye (London, England) vol. 32,6 (2018): 1042-1047. doi:10.1038/s41433-018-0015-5
  • Xiong, Shuyu et al. “Time spent in outdoor activities in relation to myopia prevention and control: a meta-analysis and systematic review.” Acta ophthalmologica vol. 95,6 (2017): 551-566. doi:10.1111/aos.13403
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