Is Sunshine the New Cure-All?

November 1, 2022

Over here at Tri-County Eyes we are big fans of the sunshine, and we are lucky to get to spend so much time in it living here in South Carolina. Sunshine has been proven to be necessary for overall health but there is some new research that points to the sun helping kids possibly prevent nearsightedness.

We wrote a blog about nearsightedness (Myopia) a few weeks ago if you want to check it out for background on this topic.

Myopia is on the rise in children. According to the American Association of Ophthalmology, 40% of children ages 6 to 19 are nearsighted. This high percentage is thought to point to the change in human habits. Since the invention of technology, more and more children are increasing screen time and decreasing their time outdoors. This is a factor that could cause children to develop nearsightedness.

Now, I know this doesn’t sound like new information, we all have heard the old saying not to sit too close to the TV. Now there is some evidence to suggest that spending more time outdoors can help ward off nearsightedness.

It is still a new theory, but considers sunlight can increase the dopamine levels in the eye which in turn helps the growth of the eye. Experts suggest to start as early as possible by monitoring screen time and encouraging more time outside in the sunshine.

We find it especially important to teach good habits involving screen time starting as young as possible. While kids’ eyes are still developing, teach them about the 20/20/20 rule:

For every 20 minutes of screen time, take a break and focus on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Use device settings to set screen time reminders and actively monitor how long they are using their device. Now with this new information, it is strongly suggested to deliberately schedule some outside time. It could just help ward off eye issues in the future.

While sunshine still can’t be considered a cure-all, this is another bonus to spending time outdoors. Of course, we always want to prioritize safety so don’t forget your sunscreen and sunglasses!

If you have any concerns about your child’s eyesight, make your appointment with TriCounty eyes so we can help!

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