Why spending time outdoors could help your child’s eyesight

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Kids seem to spend endless hours on smartphones, games consoles, computers and tablets these days.

Playing on electronic devices certainly doesn’t help their waistlines, but do you ever wonder what regular device use is doing to their eyesight?

While there isn’t much research out there yet about the impact of screens on eyesight – after all the iPhone was first unveiled by Apple in only 2007 – experts are concerned about growing levels of short-sightedness in children.

And they suggest the best thing parents can do to prevent it is to encourage youngsters to spend more time outdoors in the sunlight.

How short-sightedness is on the rise

There has been a massive rise around the globe in short-sightedness – or myopia as it’s officially known – over recent decades.

“We know that myopia or short-sightedness is becoming more common,” says Chris Hammond, professor of ophthalmology at King’s College London and consultant ophthalmic surgeon at St Thomas’ Hospital.

“It has reached epidemic levels in East Asia, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, where approaching 90% of 18-year-olds are now short-sighted.

“In Europe, it’s potentially getting up to 40% to 50% of young adults in their mid-20s who are short-sighted now in Western Europe. It’s been gradually rising over the decades of the 20th Century from around 20-30%.”

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