Fall has arrived, and so has the time to sign your kids up for after school activities and team sports. Pursuing interests outside of the school environment strengthens the mind and refines creative skills. Let’s take a look at which activities provide healthy exercise for your eyes, and which activities should be pursued in moderation.
In general, the best hobbies or activities to improve vision include general outdoor activities that involve continual distance focus. Just a few hours a day away from focusing on objects up close can reduce the progression of myopia or nearsightedness. Some examples of hobbies that require continual viewing into the distance include:
Make sure you consider any limitations such as physical ability, time restrictions, costs, and availability, as some activities require more investment and commitment than others.
Activities that your eyes will need a break from
Any activity that requires close focus for extended periods can cause eye strain and fatigue. The symptoms of eye strain or eye fatigue include tired, itching, and burning eyes. Tired eyes can be caused by activities such as:
These hobbies that require focus at close range should be performed with frequent breaks. By following the 20-20-20 rule (every 20 minutes spend 20 seconds looking at something at least 20 feet away), you can reduce the onset of eye fatigue and strain.
Research in natural prevention
There is anecdotal evidence that shows a connection between eye strain (often a result of intense or prolonged periods of close-focus activity) and the progression of myopia. In Canada, the prevalence of myopia affects about 30% of the population, according to the Canadian Association of Optometrists and provincial optometry associations.
In the last decade, there has been increasing interest in research on slowing myopia progression—especially in children—given that the age group is when the greatest amount of myopia progression takes place. Evidence has shown a reduction in progression using different treatments, including antimuscarinic therapy (drugs) and orthokeratology (the use of specially designed contact lenses to temporarily reshape the contour of the cornea to reduce myopia). More about this can be discovered on our blog.
The link between vision and health
Vision impairment may be doing more than just preventing you from seeing and being able to concentrate. According to a 2005 study, visual impairment in the elderly may increase their risk of medical, functional, and social decline.
Other ways to keep your eyes sharp include eating a healthy diet, wearing sunglasses year-round, and giving your eyes a break – no matter what you are doing.
To ensure you and your family stay on top of any changes in vision, make an appointment for an eye exam at your local FYidoctors.