A recent study, published in Scientific Reports, has found that spending more time outdoors
in childhood can prevent near-sightedness. Interestingly, outside time can also “offset” the effects of myopia inherited from one’s parents.
The research shows that near-sightedness can be delayed or even prevented in children with at least two hours a day spent outdoors. Scientists believe the brightness of sunlight—which is significantly brighter than the lighting in almost any indoor setting—offers these beneficial effects.
When sunlight comes in contact with the retina, it causes the release of the chemical dopamine into the eye, preventing the eye from growing too long and becoming myopic. Additionally, Vitamin D—which is triggered by UVB light—helps smooth muscle tissue around the eye’s lens, allowing it to help focus light on the retina.
Many of us who care deeply about nature spent much of our childhood as “free-range kids,” and still find ourselves dependent on corrective lenses. But we’ll support any encouragement to get tomorrow’s conservationists outside more!