Get Outside For
Healthy Eyes

A new study links increased time spent outdoors with a lower risk for certain eye conditions in children and adolescents. Look for ways to incorporate more outdoor play into your routine to encourage better eyesight for your kids.

Baby girl outdoors

Outdoor play and eyesight

A recent study shows that children and adolescents who spend more time outdoors have a lower risk of developing myopia (nearsightedness). Researchers from the University of Cambridge found that there's a two percent drop in myopia risk for every additional hour a child spends outdoors each week. The study further shows that, "The average nearsighted child spends 3.7 fewer hours outdoors each week compared to children with no vision problem or those who are farsighted."

Farsightedness is simply the ability to see distant objects more clearly than you see close objects. The scientists also figured out various outcomes to see if any other factors affected eyesight and couldn't find any variables that worked. This means that the researchers think that all the protective eyesight factors come directly from the simple act of being outdoors.

Outdoor sensory experiences

The benefits of outdoor play abound and it's easily one of the best ways to improve kids' overall health. Being outside creates new and developmentally appropriate sensory experiences for your little ones. Early outdoor play encourages a healthy lifestyle and kids who fail to spend time outside when they're little are less likely to spend time outside being active when they're older. Outdoor play, particularly in green spaces with trees, is even linked to raising smarter kids, especially girls. And now we know that spending a day at the park, jumping on a trampoline, riding bikes and playing on a swing set are all ways to help prevent nearsightedness. Exercise, exposure to natural light and looking at far away objects are all vision-boosters in developing eyes!

The key to encouraging better vision through outdoor play is to find outdoor activities that your kids really enjoy. Offer a healthy mix of planned activities, like scavenger hunts and miniature golf games, with free play, which provides kids with an opportunity to be creative, explore and problem solve. Outdoor activities that boost eyesight and improve hand-eye coordination include digging, scooping, sifting and stirring up sand or dirt. Try rolling, throwing and catching balls or playing with water toys on a warm afternoon.

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Tags: baby outside baby outside bag eye health

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