The prescription for preventing myopia in children is easier than you might imagine: sunlight. This unbelievably simple tactic is the response to a growing public health crisis of nearsightedness. 

Over the past 30 years, nearsightedness in children has increased at an alarming rate. Estimates show that about 40 percent of kids ages six to 19 years old are nearsighted, and the rate is double in Asia. By 2050, half of the world’s population could be nearsighted if nothing is done to delay the rise. When the eye grows too long from front to back, nearsightedness arises, which gives people good vision close up, but terrible distance vision. Research has shown that severe myopia in children increases their risk of eye issues later in life. These blinding eye problems include retinal detachment, glaucoma, early cataracts, and myopic maculopathy. Genetics also plays a role in developing myopia, but the swift surge suggests that environmental factors might also be to blame. With an epidemic of children spending more time on their screens and less time outdoors, experts suggest this can put them at a higher risk of developing nearsightedness. Though it is unclear why sunlight helps protect against nearsightedness. One theory suggests that sunlight boosts dopamine levels in the eye, influencing its growth rate. Another theory suggests that prolonged close-up tasks, like reading or computer work without breaks, can promote abnormal eye growth. Some options for slowing myopia in children include atropine eye drops and multifocal contact lenses. Both have been effectively studied and proven to slow the progression of nearsightedness. The most obvious option, of course, is to limit screen time and instead encourage at least one to two hours of outdoor time every day. ______________Zen Eye Institute, formally Rohr Eye & Laser Center, has served the greater Grand Blanc area for over twenty years. Now operating under Dr. Charles Zenzen, we offer comprehensive medical and surgical eye care treating various conditions and diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, dry eyes, and more. For exceptional eye care at our state-of-the-art practice, call (810) 579-0202 to make an appointment today! Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: