Childhood sunlight exposure may influence the development of myopia and need for eyeglasses.
Myopia or nearsightedness is a common vision disorder affecting nearly 25% of the US population. It is created when light focuses in front of the retina which is the light gathering layer that lines the back surface of the eye.
Australian researches looked at children of Chinese origin living in Singapore and Sydney and matched them for age and parental myopia and found the Singaporean children had rates of myopia ten times higher than children in Sydney. Sydney children actually spent more time in near activities, reading twice as many books per week as the children in Singapore. The key difference between the two cities appeared to be the amount of time spent outside, with Sydney children out about four times as much as the children in Singapore.
Speculation as to how sunlight exposure may affect myopia development centers around two theories:
Increased lighting decreases pupil size and lessens retinal blur by increasing depth of field.
Sunlight exposure increases dopamine which is known to inhibit eye growth.
Wonder how your children are seeing? Schedule an examination with Gray Family Vision today.
By Dr. Cook, O.D.