Over the years, parents and doctors have begun to notice that more and more children are developing myopia, aka nearsightedness. The cause is still being researched, but many blame a higher use of electronics amongst children for the increase in myopia. No matter the reason, myopia is not yet curable, and thus parents will utilize sunlight exposure to help their children strengthen their eyesight. However, there are plenty of additional benefits other than simply providing them with fresh air and physical exercise. The following includes three additional reasons why children with myopia need to spend more time outdoors.
1. Sunlight Decreases Retina Elongation
Children with myopia tend to be unable to see properly because their retina has become too elongated. This is due to the fact that most rooms (no matter how bright) are never as bright as pure sunlight. This makes the retina work harder, and to accomplish that, it will elongate itself. This, of course, causes nearsightedness over the long term. However, when children have extra time outdoors, their eyes don’t have to work as hard to see, and thus the eye releases what is called dopamine. In many cases, this is enough to decrease the eye from further elongating itself and causing worse vision for a child.
2. Strengthens Long-Distance Vision
Because children tend to conduct much of their homework through electrical devices and then turn to those same devices for entertainment, it can cause their eyes to weaken when it comes to long-distance vision. However, when children are allowed to spend time outdoors (without devices), they begin to strengthen their long-distance vision as they navigate themselves around their backyard or city park. Playing sports is also a great way to strengthen their long-distance vision as they must focus on far-away objects such as a ball or another player.
3. Increase Intake of Vitamin D
There’s no doubt about it; vitamin D can do wonders for those lacking enough sun exposure. In fact, researchers and military service members will often take vitamin D supplements when they travel to low-light areas of the world. However, the best way to absorb this amazing eye-improving vitamin is through natural sun exposure. Experts recommend that children (6-up) obtain at least two hours of sunlight.
Although myopia is currently uncurbable within children (other than with glasses), that does not mean parents should give up on improving their children’s eyesight. That may be possible through the act of exposing them to direct sunlight consistently throughout the week.