Studies: Bright daylight protects children from myopia

Studies: Bright daylight protects children from myopia



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Avoid nearsightedness in children by playing outdoors

Playing outdoors can obviously save children from nearsightedness, as bright light releases dopamine in the retina and reduces the length of the eyeball, according to the German Society for Endocrinology (DGE) and the German Ophthalmological Society (DOG). Numerous study results would indicate that spending time outdoors counteracts the development of myopia, presumably due to the better lighting conditions.

According to the information from the two specialist societies, "about every third German is nearsighted - and the trend is rising." Myopia (nearsightedness) is becoming epidemic in many countries in Europe, America, and particularly in Southeast Asia. However, several studies have shown that it is relatively easy to counteract ametropia. For example, the DGE and DOG report that “the less frequently they develop myopia, the more often and longer they stay outdoors”.

Relationship between the level of education and myopia
In the case of nearsightedness, according to the expert, the eyeball is usually too long and the distance between the cornea and lens from the retina is greater than normal. Therefore, short-sighted people would only perceive objects that are further away in a blurry way, while they can easily recognize nearby things. Why some people develop myopia and others do not, has not yet been conclusively clarified. "Hereditary factors are mentioned again and again", but this cannot be the only reason, explains Professor Helmut Schatz, media spokesman for the DGE in Bochum. Here, a study from 1969 by the Inuit in northern Alaska had already shown that lifestyle obviously also plays an important role. In addition, many studies, including the recently published “Gutenberg Study” from Mainz, have shown that myopia is also closely linked to the level of training. Education includes more reading and more time in closed rooms. Most epidemiological studies found a connection between myopia and "close-up work", although it is still difficult to grasp what exactly triggers myopia when reading, explains Professor Frank Schaeffel from the Research Institute for Ophthalmology at the University Hospital in Tübingen.

Sufficient daylight protects against myopia
Daylight plays an important role in the development of myopia, according to the two specialist societies. Numerous studies have indicated that "spending time outdoors with children counteracts myopia - presumably because of the better lighting conditions," reports DOG expert Professor Schaeffel. Usually, the interior would not reach more than 500 lux, on sunny days outdoors, however, around 10,000 lux even in the shade. This obviously has a significant impact on eyesight. Short-sightedness in children can probably be prevented if they are exposed to at least 10,000 lux per day for about three hours, the DOG and the DGE write. The experts therefore recommend: "Children should play as much as possible outdoors." (Fp)

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Photo credit: Marie-A. Becher / pixelio.de

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