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March 25, 2019

Outdoor Activity Protects Against Childhood Myopia—Let the Sun Shine In

Author Affiliations
  • 1The Ohio State University College of Optometry, Columbus
JAMA Pediatr. 2019;173(5):415-416. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.0278

Today’s popular press is filled with reports of children’s digital device use and of parents’ concomitant concerns about learning, social development, obesity, and orthopedic problems, among others. The American Academy of Pediatrics issued excellent reviews and recommendations1 in 2016 regarding these concerns. Worries about eye strain and ocular development have not made their way to the general conversation but may well be in the back of parents’ minds when they consult with pediatricians about creating a healthy media environment for their family. In the particular case of risk for the development and progression of myopia (nearsightedness) in childhood, research indicates that it may not be the use of digital devices that is the problem. Instead, the societal shift to indoor activities while using these devices may be adversely affecting children’s eyes and leading to a worldwide, projected increase in the prevalence of myopia.

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