It has never been truly known why some people develop the need to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses and others do not, although researchers have felt that genes may play a role. If you have a young child, then you may want to take note of two new studies involving children's habits and how they affect whether they become nearsighted in the future or not. Just changing your child's habits a bit may help them keep their great vision or keep their unclear vision from becoming worse.
1. Children Who Play Outdoors More Were Less Likely to Become Nearsighted
One recent study took a group of just under 2,000 children with good eyesight and followed them for several years. The researchers instructed the parents of one-half of the children to make sure their children got at least 40 minutes of outdoor play time every day and even more if possible. They did not instruct the other half to follow the outdoor-play guideline. The researchers then compared the vision of both groups after 3 years. The children instructed to play outdoors more had a 10-percent lower chance of being nearsighted.
While a 10 percent difference may not sound huge, your child receives so many benefits from playing outside that you can consider the fact that it may protect their good vision the icing on the cake on top of the increased fitness and general happiness of children who play outdoors often.
2. Children with a Specific Gene Who Read a Lot Are More Prone to Nearsightedness
While you should never discourage your child from reading, and you of course should encourage it, researchers studied how the vision of children who read a lot may be affected by it. They took a group of children with a specific gene linked to nearsightedness and compared the vision of those who read indoors for over an hour a day and those who did not. They found that the children who read indoors more than an hour a day were more likely to be nearsighted.
You may wonder how you can use this study to your advantage, as you never want to stop your child from reading. The good news is the researchers suspect that when spending so much time indoors reading, the children likely did not balance it with outdoor play. So, let your child read as much as he or she wants to, but just make sure they spend an equal amount of time outside being active.
While the reasons why outdoor play is beneficial to children's eyesight and too much indoor reading can be detrimental are unclear, it may be because the developing eyes of children need to balance the time they spend looking at objects up close with the time they spend looking at faraway objects. When mainly viewing objects up-close during these formative years, the muscles that control distance vision may be affected negatively.
For more information, contact Victoria Assn of Optometrists or a similar organization.Share