The following was written by Bill Evans and published in the Coolum and North Shore News, Ask the Professionals page on Friday, 29th January 2016.
Q: What is the latest in myopia research?
A: Myopia is the inability of the eye to see distant objects clearly, and is also known as short-sightedness. People with myopia see things up close sharply, but further away their visual world is blurred.
There is a lot of research ongoing around the world into the prevalence of myopia and ways to slow down or eliminate its progression. Several recent studies of children have shown a correlation between reduced time spent outdoors and increased myopia. Time spent outdoors protects the eyes from myopia by increasing light levels reaching the retina, constricting the pupils to give the child greater depth of focus and retinal image clarity, as well as increased Vitamin D synthesis. Current studies recommend children should spend two hours a day outdoors to maximise this protective effect.
Increased time spent on close work, being reading, on a computer or on a tablet, appears to be associated with an increase in myopia in Australian children. Based on the studies, reducing screen time may have a significant decrease in the progression of myopia.