Parents should limit their children to no more than a couple of hours of television each day to reduce the chance of them developing myopia (short-sightedness), the East Oregonian urges.
A lack of outdoor activity not only makes a child more susceptible to becoming overweight, it can also make them more likely to become short-sighted as exercise promotes blood flow, and thus oxygen flow, to the eye.
But playing computer games and watching television also has a more direct effect on developing eyes as studies have shown that focussing on close-up objects too much can cause myopia.
A study cited by the newspaper, and conducted in Singapore revealed that children who spend time watching screens and reading are more likely to develop the condition than children who focus more on far-away objects. This comes from a country where more than 80 per cent of 18-year-olds have myopia.
In Australia a similar study, carried out on 12-year-olds, found that those who were short-sighted spent less time outdoors and more time indoors, focussing on close-up objects.
The National Eye Institute"s Susan Vitale recently corroborated this research, saying that the reason short-sightedness in the US has ballooned by 66 per cent is because there are more activities requiring close-up viewing.
by Emily Tait