Children should be encouraged to spend as much time as possible outside to prevent them developing nearsightedness.
This is based on research that shows the percentage of Americans aged between 12 and 54 years old suffering from nearsightedness – or myopia – has increased from 25 per cent in 1970 to 41.6 per cent in 2016, The University of Michigan Extension has reported.
The National Eye Institute, together with the American Academy of Ophthalmology, has estimated that half the world will have myopia by 2050, as people are spending less and less time in direct daylight.
While genetics were originally blamed entirely, it is thought the condition would have died out over the years during the process of natural selection if this was the case.
Instead, Dr Christopher Starr, ophthalmologist from Weill Cornell Medical College, believes a lack of sunlight could be the reason behind this dramatic increase.
He suggests children spend one to three extra hours a day outside for them to get an adequate release of dopamine to prevent elongation of the eye. This is stimulated by light, so those who are not exposed to enough daylight have eyes that are more elongated, and therefore, suffer from myopia.
In addition to this, bright outdoor lighting is good for eye health as it helps maintain the correct distance between the lens and the retina. This encourages the eyes to learn how to focus on far away objects more.
If parents do not take this advice their little ones could suffer, with bad eyesight becoming a growing problem all over the world.
According to the Clearly mission, as many as 2.5 billion people have untreated poor eye sight, without access to glasses or contact lens cases to help them see better.