Playing outside for two or three hours a day can halve a child"s chances of becoming short sighted, new research has found.
Australian government researchers looked at data about children"s sight and how much time they spend outdoors, the Daily Mail reported.
They studied the information from six and seven-year-olds in Singapore and Australia and also looked at a group of children of Chinese extraction to rule out the possibility of genetics causing any differences.
As far as activities such as reading and watching television were concerned, Australian and Singaporean children had similar habits, but the Australians spend 90 minutes a day more outside than the Asian youngsters.
Ten times more Singaporean children (30 per cent) were short-sighted than Australian children.
Professor Ian Morgan of the Australian Research Council"s Vision Centre suggested that natural light prompts the body to release dopamine, which prevents the eye developing the wrong shape.
by Martin Burns