Sunday, January 17, 2016

Reason No. 37 to Hike with Your Children: Prevent Nearsightedness, Blindness

Hiking may save her eyesight.
Want to keep your child from going blind? Then take them on a hike.

Up to a billion people are at risk of going blind by 2050, thanks to myopia (nearsightedness), according to the Brien Holden Vision Institute. Indeed, myopia has risen from 25 to 42 percent in U.S. adults during the past 30 years.

Among the reasons for the rise is that in an urban society with lots of electronic devices, people’s eyes simply are not adjusting to different levels of brightness, as they would if outside, the institute reports. While this cause isn’t definitely proven, there is a clear correlation between higher rates of myopia and spending one’s time primarily indoors. Where light levels are lower and more even.

“Parents should encourage their children to spend time outdoors for at least two hours each day,” the institute stated in a press release.

Other eye research has recommended three hours outdoors. Regardless, two to three hours is about the right length of time for older elementary school students and teenagers to take a day hike.

Myopia is not reversible or curable. The only treatment for it are eyeglasses and contact lenses.

Learn about trail guidebooks available in the Hittin’ the Trail series.