Time Spent Outdoors Associated With Reduced Myopia Risk

Booting your children outside to play can not only boost their physical fitness – it can cut the chances of their developing shortsightedness, researchers say.

Shortsightedness, or myopia, has become increasingly common over the last four decades, both in the US and elsewhere – indeed, in parts of Asia, more than 80 percent of the population is nearsighted.

And a new University of Cambridge analysis of recent eye health studies indicates that the reason may be that children are spending too much time indoors, possibly because of a lack of light or too little time spent looking at distant objects.

The data included in the analysis was drawn from eight carefully selected studies on outdoor time and myopia in children and adolescents, representing 10,400 participants in total.

And the team found that for each additional hour spent outdoors per week, the chance of myopia dropped by approximately two percent. Nearsighted children spent on average 3.7 fewer hours per week outdoors than those who either had normal vision or were farsighted.

Though the reasons aren’t yet clear, the protective effect appears to result from simply being outdoors rather than performing a specific activity. Two of the eight studies examined whether children who spent more time outdoors were also those who spent less time performing near work, such as playing computer games or studying, but no such relationship was found.

“Increasing children’s outdoor time could be a simple and cost-effective measure with important benefits for their vision and general health,” says Dr Anthony Khawaja.

“If we want to make clear recommendations, however, we’ll need more precise data. Future, prospective studies will help us understand which factors, such as increased use of distance vision, reduced use of near vision, natural ultra violet light exposure or physical activity, are most important.”

It also appears that boosting outdoor time may stop nearsightedness from getting worse. A separate Chinese study of 80 nearsighted children between the ages of seven and 11 found that those that were given more outdoor time each week for a two-year period were less nearsighted on average than the control group.

Consuming Raw Vegetables, Fruits May Counteract Genes Linked To Heart Disease

On its website, ABC News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/12, Carollo) reports, “Eating a healthy amount of greens could have an effect on genes linked to heart disease, according to a new study” published in the journal PLoS Medicine.

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/12, Preidt) reports that investigators “examined the link between the 9p21 gene variant and diet in more than 27,000 people of five ethnicities — Arab, European, Chinese, Latin American and South Asian.” The researchers found that “the risk of heart attack in people with the 9p21 gene variant who ate a healthy diet composed mainly of raw vegetables, fruits and berries was similar to that of people without the high-risk gene variant.”

WebMD Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/12, Doheny) reports, “The study findings suggest that lifestyle does matter, no matter what your genes have dealt you, says Eric Topol, MD, professor of translational genomics at The Scripps Research Institute and director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla, Calif.”

New Study On Texting And Driving Released

Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/6, Forsyth) reports that Texas A&M’s Texas Transportation Institute released a study yesterday finding that using a cell phone while operating vehicles doubles a driver’s reaction time. The longer reaction time means drivers have less time to focus on the road and react to changing conditions. The study tested 42 drivers between 16 and 54 who sent and received text messages while driving on an 11-mile text rack. When not texting, a driver took one to two seconds to respond to a flashing light. However, a texting driver took three to four seconds, making them 11 times more likely to drive through the flashing light. This is the first study conducted on actual vehicles, not simulators. US DOT statistics show that about 20% of fatal accidents are due to texting and driving.

Home Is the Most Dangerous Place for the Eyes

Home may be where the heart is, but it can also be a dangerous place for the eyes. More than half of the 2.5 million eye injuries that occur every year happen within or around the home.

According to results from the “Seventh Annual Eye Injury Snapshot” by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and the American Society of Ocular Trauma (ASOT), the most common place of injury was the yard or garden. In addition, one in four eye injuries that occurred in the home were due to home repair or use of power tools.

Prevent Blindness America, the nation’s oldest volunteer eye health and safety organization, has declared October as Home Eye Safety Awareness Month in an effort to urge the public to take extra care in protecting their eyes in order to avoid painful and potentially blinding eye accidents. Eye injuries include everything from painful corneal abrasions, to chemical splashes or punctures to the eye that can cause permanent vision loss.

“When doing everyday chores around the house or repair work in the garage, we can become complacent about remembering to use the proper eye protection,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness America. “But, we must remember that an eye injury that can occur in a split second can have lifelong impact on vision.”

Prevent Blindness America urges everyone to wear eyewear approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The eyewear should have the “Z-87” logo stamped on the frames.

Prevent Blindness America also recommends the following:

· Provide effective lights and handrails to improve safety on stairs and reduce the risk of falls.

· Never mix cleaning agents. Read and follow all manufacturer instructions and warning labels.

· Wear safety glasses with side protection or dust goggles to protect against flying particles, and chemical goggles to guard against exposure to fertilizers and pesticides.

If you wear prescription glasses, many safety glasses or goggles will fit over your regular glasses. Regular eyeglasses do not always provide enough protection, and may even cause further injury upon impact.

· Inspect and remove debris from lawns before mowing. Make sure others in the yard are wearing eye protection as well, as bystanders can be hit by flying debris.
· Keep paints, pesticides, fertilizers, and similar products properly stored in a secure area. Read and follow all product instructions.
· Keep tools in good condition; damaged tools should be repaired or replaced.

Welding or brazing requires special safety goggles or helmets. Consult your equipment instruction or supplier for the proper protection.