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How to Prevent Nearsightedness

Nearsightedness is less common among people who spent more time playing outside as children. Should your kids go out and play?

Myopia has become increasingly common around the world. Is there a way to prevent nearsightedness? Go out and play.

Research Focuses on Nearsightedness:

Spending time outside reduces the likelihood that young people will become nearsighted and need glasses. New research published in JAMA Ophthalmology suggests that teenagers and young adults exposed to more ultraviolet B radiation from sunlight have a lower risk for myopia later in life.

Results from the European Eye Study:

This was a separate analysis of data from the European Eye Study. The participants were Europeans aged 65 and older. More than 4,000 of them showed up to have their vision measured to determine if they are myopic.

Increased exposure to ultraviolet B light between 14 and 39 years of age reduced the odds of nearsightedness substantially. Perhaps it’s time to encourage youngsters to spend more time outdoors instead of staring at computer screens, using smart phones and playing video games.

JAMA Ophthalmology, Dec. 2016

How to Protect Your Vision:

This is not the first we have heard of the benefits of time outside for children’s eyes. You may be interested in listening to our hour-long interview with ophthalmologist Peter McDonnell for more information. We discussed how to protect your vision.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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