Too Much Time Indoors Linked to Bad Eyesight

Too Much Time Indoors Linked to Bad Eyesight

I was recently reading an interesting article in US publication Science News (Feb 9, 2013 p 22-25) which detailed how researchers have found overwhelming evidence that children who spend too much time indoors are developing myopia (shortsightedness) at rates that far exceed the expected rates of children just developing it for hereditary reasons.

The article suggests that being indoors limits the amount of sunlight entering the eyes, and this reduces the amount of the hormone dopamine present in the eye. As dopamine is one of the chemicals in the body that controls abnormal eye growth it is important we get enough of this to promote healthy eyes.

This is a worrying finding, and so I looked into this further and found similar articles in the news and on the internet, all which discuss the link between the increasing time we spend indoors and the increase in myopia- particularly in children. Studies show that children who spend more time outdoors doing physical activities are less likely to become myopic, whereas doing physical activity indoors doesn’t seem to have the same effect. It’s the outdoor natural light and the increasing need to focus on long distances which give outdoor play the upper hand over indoor play.

With the increasing popularity, particularly amongst young people, of sitting indoors playing video games, staring at smartphones and watching TV, it’s never been more important for schools and parents to encourage children to get outside and play. As well as helping improve eye health it also improves physical fitness and promotes a healthy lifestyle. Many schools I speak to also find taking lessons outside is beneficial, providing a new and stimulating environment for children to learn and have fun in.

You may find you come up against some resistance at first especially if the weather is dreary and cold, but provide some interesting activities and some protection against the weather whether it’s with coats and hats or a sheltered outdoor area and children are bound to enjoy the freedom and sense of wellbeing the outdoor fresh air and light brings. School canopies and shelters are particularly useful for creating shaded areas which offer protection from the sun, rain and snow- allowing outdoor play and outdoor learning to take place all year round.

Please feel free to contact me or my team on 0800 389 9072 if you require any information about creating an effective sheltered outdoor area with a canopy, awning or shade sail to help promote outdoor play and learning at your school or park.

Able Canopies Ltd. design, manufacture and install canopies and shade structures at schools, nurseries and educational settings to enable year-round Free Flow Outdoor Play and Outdoor Learning.
For more information please contact us

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