Why kids need time outdoors to improve their eyesight

Kids today spend many hours indoors, working on digital devices, watching TV, reading, or doing close-up work. While these activities can help boost kids’ brainpower, medical professionals are concerned about the increase in the number of kids diagnosed with myopia, also known as nearsightedness. A primary reason is that kids spend too many hours inside. Here’s why kids need time outdoors every day to improve their eyesight.

What is the main cause of myopia?
By 2050, researchers believe nearly 50 percent of people worldwide will have myopia. Those with the condition have an elongated eyeball because the back of the eye grows too long. This stretches and thins the inside of the eye, including the retina. Vision is blurry because light cannot reach the back of the eye. People with myopia can see objects in the distance but need vision correction to read or see items closeup. Researchers believe that adults with myopia have a greater risk for eye diseases or retinal detachment as they age.

Can myopia be cured in kids?
Eye doctors can help kids with myopia see clearly by testing their eyes and prescribing eyeglasses or contacts to correct the problem. However, the problem cannot be completely cured once myopia develops.

Children whose parents are both nearsighted are 60 percent more likely to have the same condition and require prescriptive eyewear to help them see. However, doctors believe the risk can be reduced to 20 percent if kids spend at least 14 hours a week outdoors.

Why being outdoors can improve vision
Scientists report that when kids play outside, their bodies work differently than when they are doing sedentary activities indoors Outside, they also are exposed to UV-B sun rays, which prompts the release of dopamine in the retina, circulate vitamin D in the body to protect the eyes, and slow the development of myopia. However, when outdoors, kids should protect their eyes from harmful sun rays by wearing sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection.

Doctors also encourage kids to eat foods that boost vision health, such as those containing vitamins A, C, and E, and omega-3 essential fatty acids. Learn more tips for healthy eyes by reading this blog.

And, if you’re looking for outdoor game ideas, check out these suggestions.


Washington Post
ABC News