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Wednesday 26th June 2019

Time indoors linked to short-sightedness

25th October 2011

Researchers from the University of Cambridge have discovered that for every hour spent outside per week, the danger of a child being myopic dropped by 2%.


The researchers, who analysed the results of eight different studies, said children might decrease the danger of short-sightedness by being outside and looking at distant objects.

They found short-sighted children were outdoors for an average of 3.7 hours less than normal-sighted or long-sighted children. 

However two of the studies revealed that children who spent more time outdoors did not spend less hours playing computer games, reading or studying.

Around five million people in the UK are short-sighted and 200,000 are seriously myopic. The condition has increased in the last 40 years and 1-2% of five-to-seven-year-olds in the UK are short-sighted. 

The team's head Dr Justin Sherwin said: "Any increase in time spent outdoors must be weighed against exposure to UV radiation - and the increased risk of skin cancer, cataracts and other cancers."

"On the other hand, increasing outdoor physical activity could protect against diabetes and obesity, vitamin D deficiency and osteoporosis, for example."

Dr Susan Blakeney, optometric adviser at The College of Optometrists, said children were usually long-sighted when they were born.

"As they grow they become less long-sighted so that by the time children stop growing their eyesight should be perfect. If a child is not born long-sighted enough then they will overshoot and end up short-sighted. This tends to happen around puberty."

"There are numerous factors which could influence that journey - the question is what is the key bit that really makes a big difference." 

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Tuesday 25th October 2011 @ 15:15

So either being outside makes it less likely that you are going to develop short sightedness, OR children who can't see as well don't want to spend as much time in wide open spaces...

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