Thanks to our Canadian colleague, Dr. Charles Boulet, for sharing this PDF of a new article from Environmental Health Perspectives on environmental factors and myopia. Myopia is increasing to near epidemic proportions in many countries where indoor computer and other personal electronic device usage has mushroomed. This is particularly true in Asian countries, perhaps nowhere greater than in Singapore – which has undertaken a public health campaign of sending messages to children about the need to play outdoors. I love the comment in the article that the irony of flashing messages on a computer monitor to get children outside is not lost on the researchers who have been charting the rise of chronic nearsightedness in the region’s populations.
The need to expose children to more outdoor activities, and in particular in sunlight conditions, is mindful of the author Richard Louv’s coining of the phrase Nature Deficit Disorder in his wonderful set of books on the subject. Count this side effect of myopia containment as yet another benefit of healthy sunlight exposure for children of all ages.