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Sunlight May Save Kids' Sight

December 27, 2007 | 34,113 views

Exposure to sunlight might stop children from becoming near-sighted. Researchers have found that the amount of time children spend outdoors is a critical factor in developing myopia.

A comparison of children of Chinese origin living in Singapore and Sydney, Australia, showed that the rate of myopia in Singaporean children is 10 times higher. But the children in Sydney spent significantly more time in near-work activity such as reading books, which has long been held to be the principle cause of myopia.

However, the Sydney-based children were also outside almost four times longer than their Singapore counterparts.

Exposure to sunlight may cut myopia rates by encouraging the release of dopamine, which is known to inhibit eye growth; myopia is a condition caused by excessive eye growth.

 

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Myopia (near-sightedness) is a very common vision problem, affecting more than 25 – 35 percent of European descent populations, and up to 50 percent or more of Asian descent populations.

Sufficient sunlight exposure is essential for your health, including the health of your vision. Many articles on my website explain the health benefits of the sun, which include:

But in addition to sunlight, previous studies have also found that near-sightedness is closely linked to your diet, specifically your intake of grains and sugars.

Myopia is Near Non-Existent in Hunter-Gatherer Societies

Studies carried out in hunter-gatherer societies and in recently westernized hunter-gatherer groups, indicate that myopia normally occurs in 0 to 2 percent of the population, and that moderate to high myopia is either non-existent, or occurs in about one person out of a thousand.

Sugar and diets high in refined starches such as breads and cereals increase your insulin levels. This affects the development of your eyeball, making it abnormally long, causing short-sightedness, according to evolutionary biologist, Loren Cordain, at the Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

Cordain found that when these hunter-gatherer societies change their lifestyles and introduce grains and carbohydrates, they rapidly develop (within a single generation) myopia rates that equal or exceed those in western societies.

The reason for this is because high insulin levels from excess carbohydrates can disturb the delicate choreography that normally coordinates eyeball lengthening and lens growth. And if the eyeball grows too long, the lens can no longer flatten itself enough to focus a sharp image on the retina.

Hunter-gatherer diets are typically characterized by high levels of protein, moderate levels of fat and low levels of carbohydrates, compared to modern western diets. Additionally, the carbohydrates present in hunter-gatherer diets are of a low glycemic index, meaning they are absorbed slowly, producing a gradual and minimal rise in blood sugar and insulin levels when compared to the sugars and refined starches in western diets.

This theory is also consistent with observations that you’re more likely to develop myopia if you are overweight or have adult-onset diabetes, both of which involve elevated insulin levels. Following my nutrition plan and eating according to your nutritional type will automatically reduce, or eliminate, excess sugar and grain intake.

The progression of myopia has also been shown to be slower in children whose protein consumption is increased.

Why You Don’t Want to Treat Near-Sightedness With LASIK

Most people need glasses or contacts for near-sightedness, and many opt for LASIK surgery. However, you should be aware that LASIK is not a risk-free fix.

Some of the problems with this type of surgery include:

Additionally, they’ve found that climate can have a big impact on the outcome of your eye surgery. The hotter and more humid it is when you get laser surgery to correct poor vision, the more likely it is that you’ll need fine-tuning through additional surgeries.

According to researchers, September was the worst month to get the laser surgery, with 50 percent of eyes needing a follow-up procedure compared to none in drier winter months. It’s believed that the extra moisture in the air may reduce the laser energy absorbed by your cornea.

You’re better off changing your diet, and eliminating dangerous sugars and grains than submitting yourself to the risks of laser surgery. For more tips on how to maintain your eyesight as you age, see my previous article, Four Tips to Protect Your Eyesight as You Age.


[+] Sources and References

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