A complementary medicine research study has shown that the more that children spend time outdoors results can reduce the risk of myopia i.e. nearsightedness.

The study involved 952 children of an average age of 6.6 years. These children were given an additional 40-minute class of outdoor activities each school day; furthermore their parents were encouraged to continue outdoor activities at weekends and school holidays. The primary outcome measure was the 3-year (2010 – 2013) cumulative incidence rate of myopia.

The researchers from University in Guangzhou, China found that the addition of 40-minutes of outdoor activities daily was associated with lower rates of myopia in these children.

Whilst the Chinese researchers also said that more long-term studies are needed to support their findings, the benefits of outdoor play for children is a ‘no brainer’ lifestyle advice on many fronts that includes slowing down the progression of myopia. This was reflected by the researcher’s comment of, “Thus, a delay in the onset of myopia in young children, who tend to have a higher rate of progression, could provide disproportionate long-term eye health benefits.”