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Your Kids May Be at Risk of Shortsightedness

Written by Dr. Joseph Mercola

Myopia, aka “shortsightedness,” is a condition that’s reached epidemic proportions in some parts of the world, especially among children and young adults. The condition can be addressed with glasses, but if you’re hoping to prevent it in your own children, you may want to shut down their computer and other electronics, and send them outside to play, The Guardian reports.

Based on studies that show your risk of myopia increases if you’re born in the summer, have a more educated mother and spend more time indoors, researchers say they’ve found that outdoor exposure can mediate the risk.

In the “old” days before computers and electronic games, researchers used to blame this myopic phenomenon on “always having your nose in a book.” And while the book reference may still hold true to a certain extent, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to pay attention to the dangers of always having your nose — and eyes — glued to an electronic device, if for no other reason than the blue light from these devices can damage your eyesight.

Specifically, recent data show blue light from digit devices activates retinal in your eyes to attack macular photoreceptor cells, which in turn accelerates age-related macular degeneration. This is particularly poignant, since macular degeneration affects nearly 10 million Americans, more than glaucoma and cataracts combined.

To that end, going outside and simply getting natural sunlight can help your eyes, as well as your body’s entire circadian rhythm, as your body needs the full spectrum of light that only the sun can give.

Exposure to the blue light coming from electronics also affects your ability to produce enough melatonin to achieve quality sleep, thus increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity and other health problems — all reasons enough to get up out of your seat and go outside with the kids when you send them there.

Once you’re back inside, you may want to seriously consider using blue light-blocking glasses while using digital devices, and to switch to LED lighting with a safer rating. You can also boost your eye health by eating foods high in omega-3 fats and anthocyanins.

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