Being outdoors reduces the risk of nearsightedness in children
A study conducted in Taiwan finds that when children are required to spend recess time outdoors, their risk of nearsightedness is reduced.
Nearsightedness in childhood is correctable, but is also linked to development of severe forms of this eye disorder in adulthood, which increases risks for potentially blinding diseases such as glaucoma and retinal detachment. Though myopia is often inherited, researchers are now assessing environmental factors to help explain why myopia rates are rising so rapidly in some populations.
An elementary school in Taiwan required its 333 students to spend recess outdoors for a year so that researchers could learn whether this would reduce myopia rates. A similar school nearby served as the control group and did not require outdoor recess. The children in the intervention school, many of whom had formerly spent recess indoors, now spent a total of 80 minutes per day outdoors. The results showed that significantly fewer children became nearsighted or shifted toward nearsightedness in the school that required outdoor recess, compared with the control school.
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