Vision

Your Child’s Risk of Nearsightedness

Portrait of three happy kids, boy and girls sitting in the grass in park with lifted hands and holding sport balls

School’s out for summer! Spending too much time outdoors without protection from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light can damage eyes and skin. New studies show that natural light is essential for a child’s normal eye development.

What You Can Do

First, encourage the kids to spend more time outdoors may be a way to improve their vision. There’s growing evidence that spending time outdoors may lower the risk of nearsightedness in children and adolescents.

Researchers don’t yet know exactly why outdoor time is beneficial, they think it’s probably related to exposure to daylight rather than to playing sports or other specific activities.

A UV light’s not needed for normal eye development. Make sure your kids wear UV-blocking sunglasses and hats when out in the sun.

Be Mindful

Be aware that more research needs to explain how much of the outdoor time benefit comes from daylight exposure and how much from exercising distance vision, since both may be key factors in preventing nearsightedness.

Symptoms

  • Blurry vision when looking at distant objects
  • The need to squint
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty seeing when driving (if you have teens)

A child with nearsightedness may…

  • Persistently squint
  • Sit closer to the television
  • Seem to be unaware of distant objects
  • Blink a lot
  • Rub their eye frequently

When To See A Doctor

If your child is having difficulty seeing or you notice them squinting, contact the optometrist. They determine the degree of your nearsightedness and advise you of the child’s options to correct their vision.

If you have any additional questions, consult your optometrist.