AAO: More Time Outdoors May Cut Risk of Myopia in Children

Average 3.7 fewer hours/week outdoors for myopic versus normal- or farsighted children

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Spending more time outdoors is associated with reduced odds of myopia in children and adolescents, according to a study being presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, held from Oct. 22 to 25 in Orlando, Fla.

Justin Sherwin, M.B.B.S., from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and colleagues reviewed recent eye health studies to investigate the association between outdoor time and the risk of myopia in children. Eight studies on outdoor time and childhood myopia, including a total of 10,400 children and adolescents, were included. In two of the studies, the amount of time spent performing near work, including playing computer games and studying, was investigated.

The investigators found that each additional hour of outdoor time per week was associated with a 2 percent decrease in the chances of myopia. Compared with farsighted children and those with normal vision, nearsighted children spent an average of 3.7 fewer hours outdoors per week. There was no association between spending more time outdoors and the amount of time performing near work.

"Increasing children's outdoor time could be a simple and cost-effective measure with important benefits for their vision and general health," the authors write.

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