Why you should focus on outdoor play for your kids

Post on 29th September 2015

We all know that outdoor play is good for our kids’ wellbeing, but Chinese researchers have proved that it’s also good for their eyesight.

Getting children to play outside for 40 minutes a day could be a way of curbing the growing rate of short-sightedness.

Twelve primary schools in China took part in the research over a three year period and the findings supported the theory that children need to balance “close up” work and activities, like reading or video games, with past-times that use distance vision.

Short-sightedness, also called myopia, affects up to one in three people in the UK and is becoming more common. Myopia means the eye is unable to focus on distant objects, making them appear blurred.

Although it runs in families, environmental factors have also been linked to the condition, leading researchers to question whether changing a person’s early environment might cut their risk of myopia.

Of the 12 schools taking part, six were asked to timetable a compulsory 40-minute session of outdoor play each day, while the other six stuck to their usual classes.  The same rule was applied for weekends at home.

Over the course of the study, 259 children out of 853 (30%) in the intervention group and 287 out of 726 (40%) in the control group were judged to have myopia.

Scrivens Opticians & Hearing Care Optometrist Paul Sidhu says: “This research is very interesting and more will need to be done to understand the true extent of why outdoor play benefits children’s vision. Is it due to environmental factors such as sunlight or simply that they are spending less time doing close-up activities such as playing computer games?”

If you are concerned about your child’s vision, book them for a free eye test or free contact lens trial at your nearest Scrivens branch.