Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

Findings May Prevent Nearsightedness in Children

Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

Findings May Prevent Nearsightedness in Children

Article excerpt

A new study led by Kathryn A. Rose, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Applied Vision Sciences, University of Sydney, used data from the Sydney Myopia Study of more than 4,000 Australian school children to assess whether outdoor activity might be significant in controlling myopia or nearsightedness. Although genetic inheritance plays a role in the development of the condition, the rapid rise of myopia in children suggests that environmental factors are driving the trend. In Dr. Rose's study, parents and their children, at age 6 or 12, reported on the children's daily activities, which were classified as indoor of outdoor, and as being in near, medium, or distance viewing conditions. A key finding was that the lowest myopia rates in 12-year-olds were associated with those who reported high levels of outdoor activity, independent of the level of near-work activity. In 12-year-old students, myopia was most strongly associated with high levels of near work and low levels of outdoor activity. The findings suggest that it is the time spent outdoors rather than engagement in sports that is critical; the association between increased outdoor hours and lower myopia was found even if an outdoor sport was not included, although time spent on indoor sports, such as playing basketball in a gym, had no effect. …

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