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Sunlight Prevents Shortsightedness in Kids

sunlightshortsightednesskids.jpgExposure to sunlight may reduce kid?s chances of becoming short-sighted. Australian researchers found that exposure to sunlight may reduce incidence of myopia, a condition caused by excessive eye growth. It seems that sunlight exposure encourages the release of dopamine which inhibits eye growth and reduces the chances of shortsightedness.

According to Dr Ian Morgan of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Vision Science, there has been a dramatic increase in myopia incidence in East Asia during the past 30 years. Ninety percent of young males in Singapore are now myopic compared to 20 to 30% in 1960s and 70s. Incidence of myopia is not directly related to ethnicity since Indians growing up in Singapore are as myopic as the Chinese and Malay populations.

Research findings showed that myopia incidence is 10 times higher among Chinese children living in Singapore compared to those living in Sydney. The Sydney-based children spend more time in near-work activity, reading twice as many books per week. However, the key difference was that Sydney-based children stay outside almost four times longer than their Singapore counterparts. This suggests that children who spend more time outdoors are less prone to myopia, thus, outdoor activities should be used as a public health strategy for preventing the disease.


ABC News 5 Dec 2007.

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