Myopia, commonly referred to as nearsightedness, is a refractive error that develops when your eyeballs are too long, causing light to incorrectly fall in front of the retina. Your optometrist explains that this may cause difficulties when looking at distant objects while your close-range vision remains sharp.
While its cause remains unknown, some researchers believe that spending too much time indoors can contribute to myopia. Myopia Institute discusses this in detail.
How Spending Time Indoors Affects Your Myopia Risk
In this digital age, kids’ hobbies often revolve around watching TV or playing computer games, which is why most of them prefer staying in their homes. A study conducted in China found that roughly 40% of its participants aged six years old and below who spend most of their time indoors have developed myopia. On the contrary, only 30% of the children who spent 40 minutes outside daily were afflicted with this refractive error.
A theory is that sunlight triggers dopamine release in your body. This neurotransmitter helps prevent your eyes from stretching too much during your younger years, lowering your myopia risk. Your eye doctor also explains that digital devices emit a high-energy visible light in the form of blue rays. They may enter your eyes and cause visual changes, making you more likely to become nearsighted.
Ways to Control Myopia Progression
Michael X. Repka, M.D., a John Hopkins University professor of ophthalmology and pediatrics and the American Academy™ of Ophthalmology’s clinical spokesperson, found the study’s findings encouraging. However, continued research is still needed to better understand how spending time outside can be a potential myopia control option. This may also open doors for other possible advantages of engaging in outdoor activities.
In the meantime, we suggest limiting the amount of time you and your kids spend on digital devices. For nearsighted individuals, we may recommend any of the accepted and widely used myopia control options. This includes multifocal eyeglasses and distance-center multifocal soft contact lenses. Atropine eye drops is another reliable alternative. Lastly, orthokeratology is also available, which involves overnight corneal surface reshaping.
For more information about myopia or other vision concerns, get in touch with a myopia control specialist near you.