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Does Sunlight Reduce the Risk of Myopia?

Group of children in a huddle give a thumbs up.

Research suggests that sunlight exposure may have a beneficial effect on reducing the risk of myopia (nearsightedness) in children. Several studies have explored this relationship, and while more research is needed to establish a definitive causal link, the findings are encouraging. Dr. Rachael Sweeney, Dr. Jonathan Chen, and Dr. Lay Nim from Vision Source Insight Eyecare are happy to outline Myopia Management Strategies and prescribe the best treatment.

Myopia Research – Sunlight Exposure

A study published in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology in 2017 examined the association between outdoor activities and myopia among 2,000 children in China. The researchers found that increased time spent outdoors was associated with a reduced risk of myopia development. Children who spent more time outside had a lower prevalence of myopia compared to those with less outdoor activity.
Another study conducted in Denmark and published in the journal Ophthalmology in 2019 examined the impact of sunlight exposure on the incidence of myopia among schoolchildren. The researchers found that increased exposure to outdoor light, particularly in early morning and midday, was associated with a lower risk of myopia development.

Why Does Sunlight Reduce the Risk of Myopia?

While the exact mechanisms behind this relationship are not fully understood, it is believed that sunlight exposure may play a role in regulating eye growth and preventing the elongation of the eyeball, which is associated with myopia. Sunlight stimulates the release of dopamine in the retina, which in turn inhibits excessive eye growth.

Group of children laying shoulder to shoulder in the grass.Myopia – Some Key Recommendations for Parents:

  • Encourage outdoor activities: Encourage your child to spend more time outdoors engaging in activities that do not involve close-up work. Outdoor play, sports, and other recreational activities can help increase sunlight exposure and reduce the risk of myopia.
  • Balance indoor and outdoor time: Find a healthy balance between screen time and outdoor activities. Excessive near work, such as prolonged reading or using digital devices, is associated with an increased risk of myopia. Encourage regular breaks and outdoor time to counterbalance the close-up work.
  • Consider natural light in the classroom: If possible, advocate for classrooms with ample natural light. Exposure to natural light during school hours can contribute to increased sunlight exposure and potentially reduce the risk of myopia.
  • Regular eye check-ups: Ensure your child receives regular eye examinations to detect any changes in vision. Early detection of myopia can lead to appropriate interventions and management strategies.
  • Consult with an eye care professional: If you have concerns about your child’s vision or the risk of myopia, consult with an eye care professional. They can provide personalized advice and recommendations based on your child’s specific needs.

Myopia and Sunlight Summary

It’s important to note that while sunlight exposure may have a potential protective effect against myopia, it is not a guaranteed prevention or treatment method. Other factors, such as genetics and environmental factors, also contribute to the development of myopia. Therefore, a comprehensive approach that combines outdoor activities, balanced screen time, and regular eye care is crucial for the overall eye health of children.

Myopia – Atlanta, Atlanta, GA

Vision Source Insight Eyecare has been treating patients using Myopia Control since 2004 and has helped hundreds of patients achieve amazing results. All Myopia Control treatments begin with a Consultation. Please call to schedule an Appointment today at Atlanta/Atlanta 404 250 1680 or send us an Online Consultation Request for Myopia Management.