Myopia, or “nearsightedness,” is the refractive error caused by the eye being slightly too long (from front to back). As a result, the focal point of light entering the eye falls short of the retina, and distant images become blurred while nearby objects appear clear. Although various theories exist about what factors may play a role in contributing to nearsightedness, including performing close-up school work, one new finding has emerged. According to data involving Danish school children, their nearsightedness progressed most during winter days with limited sunshine, and during the long days of summer, their myopia progressed more slowly. These findings lead researchers to believe that nearsighted children could benefit from spending as much time outdoors as possible. While previous generations of children spent significant time outdoors, today’s generation is more likely to be indoors reading or playing games computers or smartphones. The Danish study suggests that exposure to more sunlight may benefit children’s vision. Routine eye exams are the cornerstone to healthy eyes. Almost a third of Americans have myopia, which usually appears in childhood and worsens as the eye grows and keeps changing shape until age 20.
May 28, 2013