Wednesday 28 September 2016

Combat eye problems outside

Published 10/11/2015 | 02:30

Spending time outdoors reduces the risk of developing myopia
Spending time outdoors reduces the risk of developing myopia

Children need to be outdoors more, spending less time on video games and the computer, in order to combat the alarming rise in short-sightedness, specialists have warned.

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The Association of Optometrists Ireland (AOI) said families should get out into the fresh air as recent international studies show an alarming rise in short-sightedness, particularly in urban areas.

AOI optometric advisor Lynda McGivney-Nolan said: "Short-sightedness (myopia) is increasing by up to 80pc in some parts of the world - and there are clear signs of a significant rise in Ireland too.

"All of the major studies conclude that spending time outdoors on a daily basis, significantly reduces the risk of developing myopia. The message is clear, children need to get outdoors more to reduce this risk."

Children's eyesight problems are critically important as vision difficulties can lead to learning difficulties and underperformance in school and in sporting activities, she pointed out.

"Some parents may be reluctant to let their child wear glasses for fear that this will make their eyesight worse. However, the opposite is true. Failing to wear glasses when they have been prescribed, or failure to catch vision problems in the early stages can lead to faster deterioration." Dublin Institute of Technology professor of optometry James Loughman said that having even a mild level of myopia doubles the risk of getting glaucoma and cataracts as we get older.

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