researchers have pointed out a connection between outdoor activities and the promotion of healthier eyesight. This is an added incentive for parents to encourage their kids to incorporate more outdoor activities into their daily schedule. Statistics indicate that there is a lack of time spent in the outdoors among the youth. For instance, the majority of hours are spent indoors watching television, using technological devices such as cell phones, iPads, tablets and computers. According to Nielsen sources, Americans spend an average of 34 hours a week watching television. They own at least 4 digital devices on which they spend about 60 hours a week accessing information from these sources. These visual habits are leading to a significant increase in vision problems in the United States. Comparatively, children spend less than 30 minutes a week playing outdoors- a sedentary lifestyle that has contributed to high obesity rates in many cities across America. These dire statistics undoubtedly highlight the urgent need for more outdoor activities among the nation’s youth.
While the benefits of such physical activities will yield results in improved physical fitness that can lead to weight loss, did you know that outdoor activities can also protect the eyes from vision conditions?
A Chinese study was conducted to examine the effects of increased outdoor activities on kids’ eye health. In this particular study, 12 schools were chosen whereby 1,900 first graders were examined in this study. In half of the schools an extra 40 hours of outdoor activities were added for the duration of a nine month academic period of time.
The results of the study showed a 23 percent decline in the rate of Myopia among school kids after a period of 3 years. This research study demonstrated the critical importance of preventive care for protecting kids’ eyesight.
Researchers in this study surmised that a combination of factors possibly led to positive changes in children’s eyesight. Such factors may have been related to exposure to sunlight, a break from close up activities on technological devices, and physical exercise outdoors.
Insufficient outdoor activities are creating an epidemic of vision related problems. This is the case in Asian countries whereby indoor activities are significantly higher. In this particular part of the world, the rate of school children with Myopia is the highest in the world.
According to eye care experts, daylight helps the eyes as the brain releases a chemical called Dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is also produced by the Retina in daylight conditions. This inhibits the abnormal elongated growth of the eye- ball that would cause the development of Myopia.
In light of concerns about the harmful UV rays of the sun, ensure that your kids wear protective gear when they are spending time outdoors. Additionally, make sure that they eat foods rich in Lutein and Zeaxanthin such as dark green leafy vegetables. These do provide the eyes with nutritional protection from the harmful UV rays of the sun.
Due to the lack of outdoor activities, and eye habits that are more geared towards an increased focus on close up activities on technological devices indoors, there has been a significant increase in vision problems related to Myopia. A solution to this problem is to encourage an increase in outdoor activities among the youth. The eyes respond positively to daylight activities. Such activities produce a brain chemical called Dopamine that is transmitted to the eyes and released by the Retina, thereby inhibiting the abnormal growth of the eye- ball; a factor that triggers Myopia. Ultimately, as research shows, increased time spent in outdoor activities has a positive and beneficial effect, thereby protecting the eyes and sustaining the health of the visual system.
My name is Joel King and I am a City College Broadcasting graduate