Children need to spend two hours a day outdoors to combat the increasing risk of short-sightedness, new research has found.
Short-sightedness – otherwise known as myopia or nearsightedness – is caused when light received by the eye doesn’t focus directly on the retina, but in front of it. This causes the image one sees when looking at a distant object to be out of focus. Many people with this condition wear glasses or contact lenses. Experts estimate that by 2050, half the world will have myopia.
To address this, the researchers recommended that kids spend at least one hour, preferably two, a day.
“It looks like even for those with myopia already, increasing time outside is likely to reduce progression,” explained associate professor Scott Read, optometrist and the study’s lead researcher.
For schools and early learning centres, Read said, its important days are structured so children spend enough time outdoors.
“It’s important that kids are getting outdoors throughout the day,” he said “It’s important that we understand that outdoor time is also important for kids’ eyesight and normal eye development.”
Kate Gifford, Optometry Australia president, said getting children their two hours of outdoor time “is of significant importance in our endeavour to mitigate the growing rate of myopia in children”.
The research is published in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science.Do you have an idea for a story?
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