Do you want some quick-fix solution to keep your kids from needing glasses for nearsightedness? Is it a new procedure? Surgery? Pill?
No. None of these will prevent your kids from needing glasses. But studies are suggesting there IS something you could do to minimize that risk: Get them outside!
There is a growing body of research that is linking time spent outside (in childhood) with the likelihood of nearsightedness, as shown by examples like Singapore.
Getting outside, these scientists are finding, could ward off nearsightedness and protect the eye health of kids.
“It’s definitely a hot area of research right now,” says Lisa Jones-Jordan, PhD, a research associate professor at The Ohio State University College of Optometry. Jones-Jordan authored a study in 2012 analyzing the relationships between outdoor time and nearsightedness, one of three studies published in the past few years analyzing the relationship. Her work was recently highlighted in a cover story for the National Institute of Health’s journal Environmental Health Perspectives.“They’ve all found similar results, in that children who spend more time outdoors are less likely to develop nearsightedness, and nearsighted kids do seem to be outside less.”
That’s what makes this new research so intriguing, she says. Nearsightedness almost always develops when you’re young. Though there are some instances in which adult onset of the disorder can occur, “usually by the time you’re no longer a teenager, you’ll be as nearsighted as you’re going to be.”
Unfortunately, because of that fact, spending time outside as a nearsighted adult is unlikely to improve your vision, and that’s why researchers’ focus has been on encouraging children to get outside as much as possible—to prevent the problem before it starts.