Kids need two hours of outdoor play daily

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Kids these days are glued to their technology as a result of which their eyesight might deteriorate because of endless hours spent on smartphones, gaming consoles, computers and tablets. However, experts suggest that spending just two hours a day outdoors, playing any sport in the sunlight, might help.

Myopia, also known as nearsightedness and shortsightedness, is a condition of the eye where the light that enters the eye does not directly focus on the retina, but in front of it. This causes the image that one sees when looking at a distant object to be out of focus. It does not affect focus when looking at a close object. According to experts, lack of natural light is the key behind the condition.

“The main factor seems to be a lack of exposure to direct sunlight, because children who study a lot and who use computers or smartphones or tablet computers a lot have less opportunity to run around outside and are less exposed to sunshine,” consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London Annegret Dahlmann-Noor, was quoted as saying. While stopping or limiting screen time use may be a big task for parents, the best thing to do, say the experts, is to get children playing outside as much as possible.

“We know that myopia or short-sightedness is becoming more common,” professor at King’s College London Chris Hammond said.

“Protective of myopia development is time outdoors; sport and leisure outdoors are protective of eyesight,” Hammond said. “Probably on average across the week and the weekend, two hours a day outdoors is protective of becoming short-sighted in children,” he noted.

Further, a diet rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, and vitamins A, C and E and nutrients are good for the back of the eye. Regular annual eye checks can also help, he concluded.