Want to Promote Long-Term Vision? Go Outside!

At the end of the winter months, most people are anxious to get out and smell the fresh air. Blooming flowers and rising temperatures are welcoming to most adults, and to many children too. The fact is, though, we just don’t entertain ourselves the way we used to. Many of our parents and grandparents can tell stories of gathering around the campfire or of that time they got chased by angry birds as they hiked along a wooded trail. Today? We don’t have nearly as many of these experiences as we could.
According to research, time in nature (even if that’s the backyard) is good for the mind and body. Here, we discuss how outdoor playtime can provide valuable support to our eyes.
In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), we see very clearly that outdoor time is better for eye health than indoor play. This body of research indicated that approximately 40 percent of 6-year-olds who played indoors rather than outdoors developed nearsightedness at some point. That percentage decreased to 30 among children who played outdoors each day. Of the children in the outdoor play group who did develop nearsightedness, research states that their prescriptions were not as strong.
There’s Magic in Sunlight
The JAMA study is just one piece of the larger puzzle that correlates the natural environment to long-term eye health. Additional research has identified natural UV light as a beneficial factor in the development of the eyes during childhood. When outdoor time was increased for school-aged children in Taiwan, the country experienced its first decrease in cases of myopia in forty years.
Here’s the Kicker
Researchers in the United Kingdom conducted a survey to measure how much outdoor time occurred among young people (children and teens). They discovered that the average young person spend less time outdoors than a prison inmate. This may sound shocking on one hand, but it represents a significant shift in the societal norm around the globe.
An important note about outdoor time and nearsightedness: the benefits of visible light can protect the eyes before vision change occurs. Once eyeglasses are needed to correct nearsightedness, the value of outdoor time diminishes.
Regardless of age, outdoor time is favorable to health and wellness. If you’re a parent of growing children, you’ve got even more reason to encourage them to get out into the open air. Additionally, you’ve to good reason to schedule eye exams for the whole family. To do so, call our Winchester, VA office at 540-722-6200.
Posted in: Eye Health, Routine Eye Exams


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