Head Outside, Get Eagle Eyes

New study suggests spending time outdoors improves kids' vision

Turns out looking at gorgeous mountain vistas in the distance does more than just stir an urge for adventure in the young’uns: If kids hang outside enough, they’ll increase their chances of seeing those mountains clearer for the rest of their life.

A report in Optometry and Vision Science by Boston researchers suggests that the more time kids spend outside, the better their vision. Since about one third of Americans see distant objects as a blur, according to study co-author Jane Gwiazda, it’s never too early to start fighting myopia (nearsightedness) by taking your young ones into the wild.

The kids who developed myopia were budding couch potatoes, spending 34% more time watching TV than playing outside, while the kids with great distant vision were outside 33% more.

Howard C. Howland, a professor of neurobiology and behavior at Cornell Univeristy, said previous studies on animals have suggested the same thing: “One can prevent animals from becoming myopic if they are provided with sufficient opportunity to see distant objects.”

Need another reason to bring the kids outside? Playing in the dirt can also help boost their immune system. If you’re ready to get your kids backpacking, get started with these suggestions from BACKPACKER parents.

–Morgan Keys

Image credit: celebdu

Kids Who Spend More Time Outdoors Have Better Vision (US News)