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Vitamin D deficiency not linked to sight loss

Children with low levels of vitamin D in their blood are not at increased risk of developing short-sightedness, according to new research.

It was thought that modern life may be partly to blame for a rise in myopia by reducing the amount of time children spend outdoors.

There has been a steady increase in the number of children who become short-sighted over recent decades.

Researchers from the Children of the 90s study at the University of Bristol said that for reasons that are poorly understood, youngsters who spend more time outdoors are protected against becoming short-sighted.

In a previous Children of the 90s study, children who spent more time outdoors were only about half as likely to become short-sighted by the age of 15.

boost

Vitamin D can be obtained from the diet, but crucially it is also made naturally by the body when the skin absorbs sunlight.

Researchers have therefore considered that the protective effects of being outdoors against short-sightedness might be due to a boost of vitamin D in the blood.

But the new study found that blood levels of vitamin D could not account for the protection.

Cathy Williams, one of the report's authors, said: "These results mean that vitamin D supplements are unlikely to help prevent myopia.

"So we will search for other explanations."

hnews@herald.ie


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