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Myopia is an eye condition where light focuses in front of the retina rather than directly on it. This happens because the eye is too long from front to back. It can also occur if the cornea is too curved for the eyeball or a lens inside the eye is too thick. These problems make distant objects appear blurry unless they are close to the eyes.

While it is a condition from birth, the prevalence in recent times has caused myopia to be considered an epidemic. Since it is the most common refractive error in children and young adults, studies were carried out in Asia, India and America and the results were not encouraging.

One key aspect of all the studies was the amount of time children spent outdoors and its effect on myopia prevalence. While the studies all found a decrease in myopia in children who spent time outdoors, the researchers recommended that about three hours of outdoor play was ideal for it to be effective.

Why would outdoor play reduce myopia prevalence?

  • Myopia develops in childhood and then progresses as the child grows. This progression could be slow or rapid.
  • Researchers have theorised from studies conducted with chicks that dopamine is released when bright light shines into the eye. This dopamine might keep the eyes from getting misshapen as the child grows.
  • Children indoors all day are away from natural sunlight, usually in front of screens and devices which cause eye fatigue.

Try to get your children outside the house and active for at least three hours daily. For the lockdown season, get them to wear masks and take sanitisers along. Always supervise their play and discourage them from shaking people’s hands or standing too close to them. Never let them out unsupervised.

Children with myopia need to get their eyes tested and received prescribed glasses or contact lenses if they are old enough to use them. If your child shows signs of not seeing things far off, contact us online and schedule a comprehensive eye exam for your child.