There are several risks associated with too much exposure to sunlight, the most common being sunburn and premature aging of the skin. However, there are also some positive benefits that come with a “sensible” amount of sun exposure, including an improvement in sleep, a happier outlook, and protection from certain autoimmune diseases (U.S. News Health). And now, the results of two recent studies have revealed that spending time in the sun can be helpful in minimizing or preventing nearsightedness in children.
As Medical News Today shared in a recent article, one of the studies observed children in two elementary schools in Taiwan over the 2009-2010 school year. The children had previously spent their recess time indoors. But for the study, one school had its children spend a total of 80 minutes playing outdoors each day. The results of the eye exams that were conducted at the beginning and end of the study showed that significantly fewer children encountered nearsightedness in the school that required outdoor recess.
The leader of the study, Pei-Chang Wu, M.D., PhD., shared that since children spend so much time in school, “a school-based intervention is a direct and practical way to tackle the increasing prevalence of myopia [nearsightedness].”
Danish school children with nearsightedness were the focus of another similar study. In the clinical trial, the children were split into seven groups representing different seasonal intervals of daylight. The children in the group who were exposed to the least amount of daylight had increased nearsightedness at the end of the study.
Dongmei Cui, M.D., PhD. from Sun Yat-sen University in China, shared that the results of the study should encourage parents and others that are responsible for children’s playtime to encourage that children spend time outside daily.
Just because children seem young and healthy doesn’t mean that they aren’t developing a vision problem or eye condition like nearsightedness. In addition to encouraging outdoor playtime as a part of a healthy lifestyle, practitioners should remind parents of the importance of regular eye exams, which can detect conditions that aren’t always obvious in the earliest stages. This way, it can be treated before it starts negatively affecting their life and school performance.
An optomap gives practitioners a wide view of the retina, allowing for easier detection of issues a traditional eye exam might miss. Plus, practitioners always appreciate the speed and efficiency of the exam so children don’t have to sit still for an extended period of time. Contact our representatives today for more information.