Outdoor activity decreases myopia risk

March 1, 2009

Spending two to three hours a day outdoors can significantly lower a child's risk of developing myopia, according to study results published online ahead of print by the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

Spending two to three hours a day outdoors can significantly lower a child’s risk of developing myopia, according to study results published online ahead of print by the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

Terri Young, PhD of Duke University Medical Center, North Carolina, US and colleagues analyzed data on teenaged participants (n=1249) in the Singapore Cohort study Of Risk Factors for Myopia (SCORM) who had completed questionnaires quantifying outdoor activity.

A child’s chances of becoming nearsighted, if he or she has two nearsighted parents, are about six in 10 for children who spend 0 to 5 hours outside a week, but the risk drops to two in 10 when outdoor time exceeds 14 hours a week, the analysis found.

The researchers also noted that the critical factor for reducing development of myopia in children seems to be total time spent outdoors; both active and passive outdoor activities protected a child’s vision equally.