Every hour spent outside reduces the chance of your child needing glasses by 2%. Studies show that short-sighted children spend almost 4 hours a week less outdoors than children with normal or long-sighted vision.
It might be the greater exposure to UV light and spending more time looking at distant objects. It’s thought that natural light, which is brighter than artificial light , can trigger the release of Dopamine which stops the eyeball growing out of shape. Insufficient sunlight could also lead to a shortage of vitamin D which could also be a risk factor.
Short-sightedness effects about a quarter of the UK population but it’s probably not spending too much time reading or on your computer which causes it directly but the fact that you are spending less time outdoors.
Changing children’s behaviour can have quite dramatic results. In China limiting indoor study to 30 hours a week and spending more than 14 hours a week outdoors produced children who were less short-sighted and in Australia children who spent 3 hours a day in natural light could halve the risk of being short-sighted.
There have also been attempts to utilise artificial light to help children stay more alert and as light therapy despite the potential risk of damage to eyes.
And if you are worried about the damaging effects of sunlight experts in America now think that morning is the best time to expose yourself to it as that’s when the body’s natural protection against UV light is at its strongest. The XPA protein produced by the human body to repair its DNA is believed to be at its strongest at 7 in the morning.