Here comes the sun: Myopia

The development of short-sightedness in children can be slowed down by encouraging them to spend at least three hours outdoors each day

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What is Myopia?

Myopia is a condition, that makes objects far away appear blurry and things close by  easier to see.

The condition can develop in very young children and the signs to look out for are:

  • Needing to sit at the front of the class to see the whiteboard better
  • Sitting very close to the TV
  •  Complaining about headaches or tired eyes
  •  Rubbing eyes regularly

It is difficult for scientists to agree on the root cause of myopia.   However constant use of electronic devices such as tablets, phones and computers for example can lead to development of myopia.   It is beneficial to regulate children’s usage of this type of equipment.   Research on Myopia was conducted with children who spent at least three hours per day under light levels of at minimum 10,000 lux.  Results from the research demonstrated that children receiving a good healthy dose of natural light were able to have the progress of childhood Myopia reduced.

How does sunlight regress the development of myopia?  There are many possibilities however ways in which sunlight affects us positively through outdoor activity include:

1. Greater opportunities outdoor to view objects from afar

2. Beneficial contact with important micro-organisms

3. In addition to the above a safe level of exposure to bright light can lead to supporting the release of chemicals such as dopamine within the retina.  This is important for children as Dopamine is a chemical that stimulates growth within the human body.

Many re-emerging insights into the benefits of the sun are contemplative of mythological and cultural histories.  A healthy body needs a good amount of sunlight to remain that way. The pattern of light and day are built into the way of life for many cultures.  The Chinese Tai-Chi symbol, the ying-yang, reflects day time and night-time. A modern lifestyle is often spent within enclosed spaces, which place the body’s natural tempo out of sync. Our health depends on our bodies receiving the right levels of natural light which is important for wellbeing.

Reference

1. http://www.nature.com/news/the-myopia-boom-1.17120

2. http://www.wired.com/2016/02/silent-epidemic-myopia/

3. http://www.myopiaprevention.org/outdoor_time.html

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