Vision Benefits of Playing Outside!

An afternoon walk with the family, the kids running and playing and that wonderful, fresh air. These are just a few of the benefits to being outside this time of year. But in today’s fast-paced, technology-driven society, it seems many of us have forgotten this as we are glued to a computer, television, video game or smart phone.

Need one more reason to enjoy more fresh air? According to a recent study, there may be eye health benefits for our children playing outside.

In this recent study (published in the Journal of the American Medical Association), spending an additional 40 minutes per day outside can reduce the risk of myopia (or nearsightedness) in children. The study was conducted in China over three years. Researchers followed 1,900 children who attended a dozen schools. The schools were split into two groups: The first group of schools gave the students one extra recess period during the day, the second group had no extra recess.

Kids on BikeAnd the results? Forty percent of the children in the second group had developed myopia, whereas only thirty percent developed myopia in the group with an extra recess.

“Our study achieved an absolute difference of 9.1 percent in the incidence rate of myopia, representing a 23 percent relative reduction in incident myopia after 3 years, which was less than the anticipated reduction,” the authors of the study write.

Close to a third of all Americans are nearsighted, scientists have found that it can be attributed to not only genetic factors, but also environmental factors. Of course more research into these findings will be expected in the future.

Stay Healthy and enjoy the Autumn Breeze!

Bart Wiggenhorn Technician with Milwaukee Eye Care