Could playing indoors harm your children's vision? - WNEM TV 5

Could playing indoors harm your children's vision?

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TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

A new study says children who spend more time outdoors are at a lower risk for developing certain problems with their vision. The study was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and pertains to nearsightedness.

8-year-old Aiden says he knows that playing outside is good for you, and if he keeps it up, it could also prove to be good for his eyesight.

Dr. Neshia Rudd, an optometrist in Tyler, says it's hard to explain why.

"Some of the studies are showing that kids that are spending time outdoors tend to be less nearsighted. What we don't know is ... is it because of the vitamin D? Is it because they're inside? Is it because of endorphins, or is it  because they're outside having fun? Is it because they're looking at things far away? We don't really know," Dr. Rudd says,

And it's not just about being active. Rudd says it doesn't even matter what you're doing, from playing tennis to playing on a playground.

"It's something about being outside; it's what slows it down. Myopia, which is also known as nearsightedness, is a condition where the eye is slightly too long. The result doesn't have much effect on how things look up close, but objects far away, like me all the way back here, appear blurry. It's a condition that can lead to more serious eye problems," she says.

"You're at more risk for having cataracts, glaucoma, holes and tears on the retina, retinal detachments, etc., so that's why we're really concerned about the myopic epidemic," she says.

Rudd says in the U.S. myopia has increased by 66% in the last 30 years. Currently about 42% of people between the ages of 12 and 54 are myopic.

A lot of kids end up playing video games, watching too much t.v., things like that, so I think being outside is definitely helpful for their eyes and body, as well.

Aiden's mom says she believes the study and knows Aiden will be playing outside for years to come.

Dr. Rudd says there are many ways to slow down the on-set of nearsightedness in children. To read more about the prevention of myopia and nearsightedness, click here.

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