Increasing exposure to outdoor light is the key to reducing the myopia epidemic in children, according to ground-breaking research by Australian optometrists.
The study said optometrists can now advise parents that children need to spend more than one hour and preferably at least two hours a day outside to help prevent myopia from developing and progressing.
The researchers found that outdoor light appeared to be the main protective factor against myopia development and progression.
Professor Read, director of research at Queensland
University of Technology’s School of Optometry and Vision Science, said it is
“prudent for optometrists to advise that less than 60 minutes a day exposure to
light outdoors is a risk factor for faster eye growth and potentially becoming
myopic and myopia progression,’ he told Australian Optometry. ‘It
looks like even for those with myopia, increasing time outside is likely to
Those who habitually spent less than 60 minutes in bright outdoor light levels were found to show significantly faster eye growth compared with those spending more time in bright outdoor light.
‘Children exposed to the least outdoor light had faster eye growth and hence faster myopia progression,’ Professor Read said.
The findings suggest the protective effect of being outdoors seems to be related to light rather than physical activity as the study found no significant relationship with eye growth and exercise.
The study found that low light exposure of less than 60 minutes a day outside puts kids at risk of faster eye growth and hence myopia development, so less than an hour outside a day in bright light looks to be a risk factor for eye growth and myopia and for myopic progression.
If you increase outdoor time by an hour a day, this is likely to have a positive effect on slowing eye growth and hence reducing myopia development and also progression if you already have myopia.
The researchers advise that children still need sun protection including hats and sunglasses while outside, as bright light outdoors is still able to have a protective effect even if sunglasses are worn.
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07 Sep 2016