Outdoor Time Eyed as Healthy for Kids
It’s no surprise that active play outside is an important way children get healthy exercise. But there may be another health benefit: improved eyesight.
Two separate studies of young people seem to confirm that time in the sunshine may help children see better for longer. Schoolchildren in Taiwan who got 6.7 hours of outside recess weekly were less likely to develop nearsightedness, also known as myopia, after a year than kids who had the usual amount of 3.3 hours of outside recess a week. (Non-recess time was roughly the same between the two groups.) In a separate study, Danish researchers linked the longer summer hours of daylight there to reduced development of myopia in kids.
Both findings are probably due to the size and shape the eye takes in response to frequent exposure to daylight. But time spent outside may also provide young people’s eyes a break from hours of close reading that could cause myopia to develop sooner.