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Kids who Play Outside Have Less Chances of Developing Short-sightedness

By Vishakha Sonawane / May 04, 2013 09:09 AM EDT
  • Children
  • (Photo : REUTERS/Michaela Rehle) Children who spend most of their time playing out have less chances of getting myopia.

Children who spend most of their time playing outdoors have less chances of getting myopia.

Maximum exposure to daylight prevents the condition from developing in children, according to two new studies . Experts believe that daylight releases the brain chemical dopamine in the eyeballs, which helps in preventing short-sightedness.

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Person with myopia cannot see things far away.

Scientists in Taiwan studied 333 students who hit the playground during their school break. They now spent 80 minutes outdoors each day, some of them previously used to sit indoors during recess. Students from a nearby school were taken as a control group and were not forced to spend their recess outdoors.

A year later, the students of both the schools again received an eye checkup. The study found that a large number of children, who played outside, did not get myopia.

The researchers advise primary schools to give regular breaks and indulge in outdoor activities to avoid children getting short-sightedness. "Because children spend a lot of time in school, a school-based intervention (such as an outdoors break) is a direct and practical way to tackle the increasing prevalence of myopia," said the leader of the study, Pei-Chang Wu, of Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

Although the disorder can be corrected in childhood, the condition can also result in severe eye problems in adulthood. There is risk of developing glaucoma and retinal detachment.

The number of people suffering from shortsightedness has shot up in developing countries with the disorder nearing epidemic status in Asia and other regions. The U.S. has witnessed a 65 percent increase in people suffering from myopia since 1970.

Researchers are now studying environmental factors to know the reason behind such drastic increase in the condition in some countries.

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