Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is a refractive error that commonly develops during childhood. It causes blurry vision when looking at distant figures while nearby objects appear sharp. This problem may prevent your kids from seeing playmates from afar or notes written on their classroom boards, compromising their education and social skills.
Studies suggest that letting your children spend time outdoors may prevent them from developing myopia or at least slow down its progression. Myopia Institute discusses this potential myopia control option.
How Spending Time Outside Affects Myopia Progression
Scientific literature has noted the steady increase in myopia over the years. In fact, a 2016 study published in the journal Ophthalmology revealed that around half of the world’s population may be nearsighted by 2050. This is one of the reasons researchers are trying to look for new ways to control myopia progression. One possibility they saw was encouraging children to spend more time outdoors.
A study conducted in China revealed that almost 40% of the participants aged six-years-old and younger who did not spend time outdoors became nearsighted. On the contrary, only 30% of the kids who spent 40 minutes outside every day were afflicted. Your expert optometrist explains that the experiment suggested that staying indoors and using digital devices for an extended time may be risk factors for myopia development.
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 results encouraging. Continued research, however, is needed to learn more about how spending outdoors can support myopia control.
In the meantime, your eye doctor may recommend any of these four widely used and accepted ways to prevent your nearsightedness from worsening. This includes wearing corrective eyeglasses or contact lenses and applying atropine eye drops. Using distance-center multifocal soft contact lenses is also a good idea. Another option that’s gaining popularity right now is orthokeratology, which involves wearing corneal reshaping lenses overnight.
For more information about myopia and ways to manage it, contact a local myopia control specialist near you. We look forward to helping you.