Spending Time Outdoors

For some time, close vision work, reading for example, has long been associated with the development of short-sightedness. When children spend a good deal of time indoors reading or doing other close-vision work, they can develop myopia, for example, whereas children who spend a generous amount of time outdoors are more likely to enjoy optimal vision. Many clinical studies – and common sense – have confirmed this. 

This is why it’s important to encourage children to get outside and play, a potential benefit for their health in general but especially for their eyesight, as it can prevent short-sightedness from developing. 

If your children develop short-sightedness early, however, the research suggests that outdoor activity is less likely to prevent short-sightedness from developing, once it has begun to take effect. Atropine therapy and orthokeratology have proved two effective treatments for retarding myopia. Regardless, there are suggestions anecdotally that playing outside can slow the development of myopia. Chinese children of school age who spend their lunch breaks indoors apparently suffer more rapid deterioration of their eyesight, over a two-year period, compared to children who were made to play outside during their lunch breaks.

Cutting-edge research suggests that atropine or ortho-K can slow down myopia development once it has begun, so this may be an alternative option for parents seeking effective treatment.