Spending more time outdoors reduces nearsightedness: study

Spending more time outdoors reduces nearsightedness: study

Those who spend more time outdoors early in their lives receive some additional protection against nearsightedness, a new study published suggested.

While too much exposure to the sun can lead to serious issues like skin cancer due to harsh ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation, yet sunlight helps reduce the odds of developing the world's most widespread eye disorder.

A team of researchers gathered and analyzed medical histories from around 3,000 Europeans ages 65 and older, of which nearly 10 per cent were nearsighted.

Those who had the most exposure to sunlight as teenagers and young adults were found to be 30 per cent less likely to develop nearsightedness later in life as compared with those who has the least exposure. However, researchers couldn't provide a clear explanation for their finding.

Dr. Kimberly Yen, from Texas Children's Hospital, said, ""I think this is an interesting and timely study regarding a very important topic .I would recommend that parents still encourage their children to spend more time outdoors, but of course protect them in the usual manner with hats, sunglasses and sunscreen."

Nearsightedness has grown dramatically around the globe in the past few decades. In 2009, a study by the National Institutes of Health found the number of nearsighted people in the United States jumping from 25 per cent in the early 1970s to 41.6 per cent in the early 2000s.

The researchers reported their findings in the peer-reviewed Journal of the American Medical Association, called Opthalmology.

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